Is it a week ago? Two weeks? I can’t remember, exactly. I took a drive on a sunny Sunday toward “the valley” with a friend. We moseyed our way along until we reached Wolfville. We browsed in some shops, Marie bought some summer tops in one. I came across a Talbot’s embroidered white shirt (size M) in a second hand shop that shouted “heritage nightgown” so I bought it (hoping size M would actually fit across my chest – holding it against my body it looked as if it would).
Without trying the shirt on first, (how silly was that) I cut off the ruffled neck and replaced it with a binding, cut the sleeves shorter and hemmed them, then trimmed away the bottom of the shirt intending to add a long “skirt” to complete the nightgown.
I finished the nightgown yesterday. My reconstruction was focused on salvaging the entire embroidery. A mistake. The shirt had bust darts which pointed toward the flower in the middle of the embroidery. In my attempt to keep the embroidery intact I cut below the darts. I should have bitten the bullet, cut above the darts and across the embroidery – the finished garment would have fit better.
As it is, I wore the nightgown last night and it’s reasonably comfortable even though the embroidered “yoke” comes too low and hits the fullness of my bosom rather than sitting at underarm depth. Given the density of the embroidery I’m not sure how I would actually have cut it – no easy way to fussy cut across it and have it make any sense.
The gown is not a write-off. I’ve added it to my collection and will wear it in rotation with the others in the drawer. And it cost me $28 rather than the $120 at one of the clothing stores we visited which had some April Cornell nightgowns for sale.
What?? $120 for a night shirt??
Heirloom gowns are expensive – the cotton used, the detailed sewing. Even to make they’re not cheap – 4m of fabric at $20/m. I didn’t count in that cost – I used ~2m which I had in the house for years.
I love wearing these beautiful gowns because they’re warm in the winter but cool in the summer! They last from 8-10 years before they become thin and one day rip! I generally have three in rotation.