Have you just binge-watched Outlander or Poldark? Are you desperate to try your hand at sewing an 18th century costume or looking to expand your current collection? Fortunately there are a wealth of historically-accurate 1700s costume sewing patterns for you to craft your dream outfit.
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The American Duchess Guide to 18th Century Dressmaking
The leading historical footwear suppliers and 18th century costuming authority American Duchess released their eagerly-anticipated book on 18th Century Dressmaking in late 2017. Lauren Stowell and Abby Cox of American Duchess have endeavored to make the impossible possible by bringing historically accurate dressmaking techniques into your sewing room. Learn how to make four of the most iconic 18th century silhouettes—the English Gown, Sacque Gown, Italian Gown and Round Gown—using the same hand sewing techniques done by historic dressmakers. From large hoops to full bums, wool petticoats to grand silk gowns, ruffled aprons to big feathered hats, this manual has project patterns and instructions for every level of 1700s sewing enthusiast.
J. P. Ryan is an expert on late-18th century and 19th century costume. Her research has been drawn from original garments at The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, the V&A and the Museum of London in order to establish the most authentic designs, fabrics, construction and finishing for period clothing. Her authority within the field means she now consults on historical costume for similarly renowned institutions.
This big pattern brand is responsible for the official line of Outlander patterns released in early 2018. Each sewing pattern offers step-by-step instructions for creating wardrobe pieces from the popular series as seen on the screen. “Costumes and historical pieces have always been a central part of the McCall Pattern brand,” says McCall’s SVP/Creative Director Carolyne Cafaro. “We have long admired the Outlander program, and especially the beautiful Outlander garments that have become iconic since the series launched.”
Simplicity Pattern Co Inc was founded in New York City in 1927. American Duchess did a fantastic collaboration with this iconic brand featuring 18th Century sewing patterns which includes this spectacular Outlander inspired dress as well as some great 18th century undergarments.
You can also sew your own 18th-century sacque back gown or robe à la française with pattern 8578 R5 Misses’ 18th Century Costume Gown.
Patterns of Fashion 1 by Janet Arnold
Janet Arnold’s publications are some of the most popular guides in the costume world and this volume covers 1660-1860. Her drawings are taken from original garments in collections throughout Britain and are supplemented with details of their construction and laid out on grid paper with construction comments and fabric details. From wrapping gowns, riding habits, pelisses, and chemises to sack dresses, morning dresses, and wedding dresses Janet Arnold lays out incredible patterns for creating accurate costumes.
Larkin & Smith
We foolishly didn’t mention Larkin & Smith patterns when we first published this article and many readers got in touch to highlight their excellent products (thank you!)
Their instructions are like a detailed workshop in an envelope. The professionally graded and printed patterns are based on years of research from original garments. The Larkin& Smith English gown pattern includes the variations necessary for simple working and middling class gowns as well as a card with details of the original piece.
Don’t forget that big and long-established brands like Simplicity, McCalls and Butterick often have extensive back catalogues of out-of-print 18th Century sewing patterns you can still find on Etsy.