I really enjoy this 'Natural Form' gown from the metropolitan museum of art.
This gown is sewn with three fabrics: a solid colored faille, a matching figured silk,( the Met calls the color aubergine; an eggplant color), and a contrasting cream colored figured silk. The over-skirt is edged with two toned fringe and the sleeve is edged in cream lace. I particularly love the contrast of textures and the highlighting of the cream as edge binding and piping.
The bodice is designed with straight seams from hip to shoulder both front and back. This style was very popular from 1875-to the early 1880's. You can use the two-tone bodice pattern TV423. Extend the back pieces to form two individual tails. The second set of tails can be made separate then sewn in under the bodice. All four tails are edged in fringe. This dress only has the figured silk down the sides of the front, most likely to save on the cost of this more expensive fabric. I have seen similar gowns where the expensive fabric is on the side back panels, and on the outer half of the sleeve as well. The armscyes and the Mandarin collar are piped in cream. As are the little tabs of silk which are placed in the long front seam for decoration. Love the abalone buttons. Also notice that the buttons end below the neck leaving a place for a broach.
The base skirt is three gores with a long back panel extending into a train. You could use TV225. Or simply make the gown from TV221 and omit the train. I think the gown would look just as delightful even without that train. A long box pleated ruffle is at the hem. The ruched top of the boxed ruffle is turned down for texture. Between the box pleats, the ruffle is slit, lined in cream, and turned back as a vandyke. An added piece of figured silk is seen though the opening, with tabs covering the top.
One thing you notice about natural form era gowns is that all the elements are sewn together into a princess style. In this dress the side over-skirt drapes might be an extension from the side of the bodice. But I believe I see a piped edge at the bottom of the front bodice and the over-skirt is simply folded up over the bodice edge and hand tacked in place.
Now Heather has said for years she wanted to make an over-skirt very similar to this one. The front piece is a cream swag with triangular colored tabs knotted in the center over the swag. All this is sewn into the front seams of the base skirt. The side drapes are figured silk lightly pleated at the front edge and heavily pleated at the back side edge. This edged has fringe. The very back panel of the over-skirt is of the plain faille and is lightly pleated on the left hand side and heavily pleated on the right hand side to give an asymmetrical appearance.
This dress likely has a small tournure to hold out the back away from the body. The tournure could be a boned half cage or just many starched ruffles.
I hope you enjoy reviewing this gown as much as I have.