19th Century Empire Dress in Printed or Striped Cotton


Clothing styles took a dramatic twist at the turn of the 19th century. The Empire dress was a prime example of this French fashion invasion, based on that society’s fascination with the ancient cultures of Greece. As the Empire style made its first foray into British societies, fabrics were very wispy and somewhat transparent, revealing the female form that had previously been revered with utmost modesty. Prudish reactions were strong. As a result, this very short-lived fashion period went through even shorter phases delineated by fabric choices and undergarments (or most often, the lack thereof).

This dress is based on examples from around 1810. Its squared, slightly gathered neckline and short gathered sleeves are true to the period. The high under-the-bust waist is classic Empire. Both the neckline and waist are tied in back. The bodice is closed in back with bone buttons.

Because undergarment styles were extremely diverse during the Empire period, we have settled the issue for this dress by fully lining the bodice. The skirt is lined to about 36" from the underbust, which emulates the knee-length chemises occasionally worn during the period. The subtle back train gives the skirt a graceful, sweeping hemline.

Please visit our fabric swatch page to choose a pattern, then enter your choice in the field above. Prints for this style of dress were typically small and light. When ordering, give measurements for bust, beneath-bust, bicep, and length from under-bust to floor hem - please put these measurements in the comment field of your online order.

This Item made to order.
Please allow 4-8 weeks for garment to be made. Made in USA

Item # FD-189


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