The freedom and liberty fought for in the American and French Revolutions fanned the embers of the Industrial Revolution where innovations in textile production, steam power, and iron making led the way to changes in industry that would influence almost every aspect of daily life throughout the 19th century. After the fall of the elite class during the French Revolution, the average income and population experienced unprecedented growth which lead to the formation of middle class society which would rise up as the new leading force. As the economy grew and the cost of goods decreased, this new middle class was able to enjoy many of the finer things in life once out of their reach. The plain flowing dress styles that had marked the early Regency period gave way to more and more elaborate fashions that would come into full bloom by the 1930s. As the end of the Regency Era drew near, dresses of the middle class mirrored the extravagance of the 18th century aristocrat. The prevalent trend of Romanticism from the 1820s through the 1840s inspired a new demure and picturesque dress silhouette with natural waistlines, sloped shoulders, large puffed sleeves, and full skirts. At least a dozen different sleeve patterns with romantic names such as Cavalier, Donna Maria, Sultan, Medici, and Gigot emerged. As the fashion trend progressed, sleeves grew so large that they often used almost as much fabric as the skirt, and required some sort of structured support to maintain their shape. Critics of the exaggerated proportions often compared women to ants and bottle spiders. When Queen Victoria took the throne in 1837, however, the enormous sleeves began to deflate as the young queen brought with her an air of propriety and morality that would be reflected in the dress of the Victorian Era. As the Industrial Revolution continued through the rest of the century, extravagance continued, but in a much more restrained manner.
This 1830s era dress pattern features full Gigot sleeves that snaps at the wrist for a fitted forearm that sets off the fullness of the upper sleeve. The sleeve itself can made with a full pouf at the shoulder or bound to push the fullness toward the elbow. The lined bodice has a pleated overlay and and closes in the back with buttons or snaps. Below the trimmed waistband falls a full gathered skirted finished with two rows of ruffles.
Special Note - This pattern is designed to fit A Girl For All Time Dolls specifically and will not fit the standard 18 inch doll such as American Girl Doll. An AGAT doll is 16 inches tall and has a slimmer hard plastic body. You can see more info on our Doll Measurements page. The 18" Doll Gigot Sleeve Dress Pattern is also available.
Recommended Fabrics: Dress, Lining, and Bias Trim in lightweight to medium weight woven fabric such as cotton, cotton blends, linen, or silk. Not suitable for knits.
-Dress with Straight Grain Ruffles ~ 1 yard (1 m)
-Dress with Bias Cut Ruffles ~ 1- 1/6 yard (1 m)
-Lining ~ 6-inch by 18-inch (15 cm by 46 cm) piece
Note: Fabric amounts are generous; most items can be cut from leftover pieces of fabric.
-Thread. 1/2 yard (1/2 m) 1/2-inch (12 mm) ric rac or lace trim. For dress with snap closures ~ five small snaps, one large snap, and eight 1/4-inch buttons; For dress with button closures, two small snaps, one large snap, two 1/4-inch (6 mm) buttons for the sleeves, and three 3/8-inch buttons for the back.
Skill Level: Intermediate
What You Get: One 25 page sewing pattern that you digitally download as a PDF file so you can start your project immediately! The PDF sewing pattern provides digitally drawn step-by-step illustrated instructions and full size pattern pieces. A PDF reader is required to view and print the files (example: Adobe Reader or Preview for MAC). The download link is received immediately after the transaction is complete. Print copies are NOT available.
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I was a little scared to tackle this dress because it is very fancy looking, but the instructions and illustrations are wonderful, as always. It went together beautifully and I even tried the placket on the sleeve. I can see why this era was called the Romantic Era, this dress is the epitome of romantic. Give this dress a try, you and your doll will love it.