Ursula's Alcove

Catalog : Patterns : Folkwear

Empire Dress

Empire Dress

Pattern No. 215
Misses 6-16

The high-waisted dress known as "empire" dates back to the Directoire Period of France-the era directly following the French Revolution. Often called a "chemise gown" to satirize its scandalous brevity and lack of under garments, it reflected a desire to return to simpler, classical Grecian dress after the excesses of nobility and patriot alike. Its peak of popularity was during the "First Empire" period (1799-1815); hence its name. It was worn floor length or as high as knee-length in front; trains were also worn for day or evening until 1806. The Empire Dress has remained a favorite fashion silhouette until today.

Folkwera presents this simple-sew classic in three lengths with two sleeve options. On the traditional version, drawstrings fit the bodice firmly to the bust and tie at the center back. For contemporary wear, we suggest a closed back and elastic in place of drawstrings. Short puffed sleeves may be cut high or slightly longer. Both are authentic to the period. The longer sleeve features button and cord detailing.

Originals are made of fine white muslin, tulle, organdy, or batiste, either plain or textured much like dotted Swiss.

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