Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Ladies Wrappers

Here is my finished 1860's wrapper, made from the Kay Fig Ladies Wrapper pattern.  Wrappers were quite a utilitarian garment in the 19th century, more so than our bathrobes today.  Some were really only meant to be worn in the bedroom, some as a robe itself over a nightdress,  but many more were designed as more of a housedress.  They could be worn in the mornings, where the name morning dress comes from, to breakfast and around the house prior to making or receiving calls later in the afternoon.  The back and bodice lining are fitted just like a dress of the period with only the front panel being lose and full, many times tied in with a sash, belt, or cord.  They were worn over full underpinnings and could be left open to show off a prettily embroidered petticoat.  Because of their design they were also beneficial for invalids or as maternity wear.  As maternity wear, the full front panel becomes much more useful as it would expand with the growing baby, only the lining would have to be altered or left partially unfastened.
     Many different fabrics were used for wrappers in the 19th century.  Godeys and Petersons magazines show fashion plates with wrappers made of silks and satins and trimmed in lace.  However, the most common were those made of a calico or soft wool, usually with wildly contrasting front panels, facings, and hem treatments.  Several wrappers shown in the pattern were even lined with multiple cotton prints.  When used for maternity wear, many looked very similar to the fashion dresses of the time.  I certainly love my wrapper and it has already seen quite a bit of use around the house.
     I loved working with the Kay Fig pattern as the instructions were very clear and easy to follow.  The extra bits of history and photos of original garments were a plus as well.  I will definitely use her patterns again as needed.

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