Folkwear Empire Dress Sewing Pattern 215


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This high-waisted dress known today as “empire” was worn in the period following the French Revolution in the late 1700s. Often called a “chemise gown” to satirize its scandalous brevity and lack of undergarments, it reflected a desire to return to simpler, classical Grecian dress after the excesses of the European nobility and patriot alike.  It’s 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.

Folkwear presents this classic in three lengths, with two sleeve options.  A narrow bodice is gathered into a slim A-line skirt front and side panels, and full gathered skirt back that falls to just bellow knee length, full length, or full length with train for weddings or formal wear.

On the traditional version, drawstrings fit the bodice firmly to the bust and tie at center back. For contemporary wear, we suggest a closed back and elastic in place of the drawstrings. Short puffed sleeves may be cut very high of slightly longer – both are authentic. The longer sleeves features button and cord detailing.

Suggested fabrics: Soft, lightweight or medium-weight fabrics such as cotton gauze, batiste, dotted Swiss, rayon challis, silk, very lightweight silk velvet with drape.

Sizes Small-3XL (see sizing chart in last image)

Please note that we are unable to take returns of patterns.

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