Such a simple project, but it's taken me a long time. The hand-sewing is slow with my finger problem (lack of finger) but I'm happy with the embroidery. The flannel-lined yoke is a nice, cozy touch, good for those cold winter nights. I've had this hanging in the dining room and my 90-year-old dad, with whom I live, calls it my Mother Hubbard. For those who don't know, that's the old-time name for a loose long gown of nightgown construction, worn as a nightgown or by pregnant women in the past. I tell him it's a fancy nightie for a farm lady, a garment that would make the old farmer think, "Hubba, hubba! The wife's wearing the embroidered nightgown tonight!". With the cap, it'll be a hot time on the old farm tonight!
I read long ago that the traditional Hawaiian muu-muu gown is based on the nightgowns the early missionary women wore. Before that, Hawaiian women wore much less, and since they were large Polynesian people, the nightgown pattern was just the thing to cover up a sizeable woman.
|Bird's Eye embroidery|
|Flannel hand-stitched into yoke|
The Challenge: Nightgown and Nightcap for late 19th c. woman
I took a ready-made nightgown of traditional design and fabric and altered it to be more typical of the period. I lined the yoke with unbleached cotton flannel and hand-stitched it to cover all seams in the yoke. I embroidered in matching thread along the outer edge of the front yoke.
I made a nightcap in similar fabric with a front trim of ruffled eyelet.
Fabric: Unbleached muslin.
Pattern: Nightgown bought ready-made from Vermont Country Store, a business that specializes in old-time products. Embroidery pattern from Peterson's Magazine, 1859.
Nightcap: Pattern from Peterson's Magazine, 1859. Made of unbleached cotton muslin fabric. Machine and hand-sewn.
Year: 1860s - 20th century
Notions: four buttons, beige embroidery thread, cotton eyelet ruffled lace, beige sewing thread.
How historically accurate is it? The nightgown design and fabric are typical of a working class/farm woman's wardrobe. The new buttons are accurate in appearance. The hand embroidery is authentic.
The machine overcast stitching on the seams is not accurate.
Hours to complete: 5 hours, mainly because of hand-sewing.
First worn: By me? It no longer fits, so it goes in the costume trunk.