This is a fashion plate from the December 1871 issue of the Demorest's Illustrated Monthly. This plate shows dinner or reception dresses.
Mme Demorest was one of the first companies to offer cut paper patterns for sale. She speciallized in easy-wear stylish gaments, and later would be a major advocate for the reform dress movement and the liberation of women in society in general.
What makes these 1870's gowns?
The first thing to notice is the overall shape of the dress. It is very large in the front, and fairly roundish. This is the shape of 1869-1873ish. The next thing I noticed is the separate train of the one dress. This type of train (a short skirt under the often detachable train) was very polular in 1870-1871. The trimmings are fairly simple, and net yet overyly ubundant as seen in 1872 and later years.
Both of the dresses have the belled sleeves, full at the wrist, popular durring 1870-1872. Both bodices rise to the waist at the sides, with legthening at the front and back, again very characteristis of 1870-1873ish dresses. And the most telltale feature of all is the bows on the back of the waist. Virtually every dress from 1870-1871 has the bow. In 1872 the bow disappears.
The dresses are dinner or reception dresses because of the length of the skirts, the high neckline, and longer sleeves.
Well, that is kinda hard to get these exact dresses. The skirt of figure 1 should be 208. The overskirt could be made of the same pattern, a few inches shorter and less full at the back, and then picked up and tacked to the underskirt to hold it at the correct height. The skirt of Figure 2 should be 201. you would then need to add the train section to the waistband at the back.
Both bodices could be adapted from 400. Make the sleeves slightly wider at the wrist. Add a center back pannel for figure 1. Cut the necklines to the desired shape. Lenghten the Fronts to get the shape of figure 2.
Wear it all over bustle 108 and a couple of extra petticoats.
Fig. I - Dinner or reception dress of light ashes-of-roses poult de soie, the demi-train skirt bordered with a straight flounces, about twelve inches deep, attached in very broad box-plaits, alternating with sections of gathers. This is finished with a broad hem on the bottom, above which are three rows of very narrow black velvet, and headed by a broad band of the silk, trimmed with a row of guipure insertion set between rows of velvet. The same style of trimming, is repeated on the other parts of the dress with the addition of deep tassel fringe, of black and the color of the dress intermingled. The basque and overskirt are so combined as to form a single garment. The middle of the front of the basque is cut to form a short pointed vest, and the remainder of the fronts is continued in deep, square tabs, like the sash in the back, and forms the front of the overskirt. The back has two short, square basques, and the sash, which extends from the neck to below the overskirt, is confined with a belt and supports the looping in the skirt.
Bows of ribbon and lace on the front of the waist, flowing sleeves, rather high neck, and lingerie of point lace.
Fig. 2 - Reception dress of light violet silk, trimmed with bias bands of the material, and silk a shade darker, and black Chantilly lace. It is arranged with a, postillion basque, having deep, square tabs in the front, a
round manteau de cour, and a short skirt trimmed with a narrow box-plaited flounce, headed by broad bands of the two shades of siIk, trimmed with lace. The train, looped in three places on each side by lace barbes, similar bows ornamenting the sleeves, the front of the waist, and the postillion in the back.