Pattern inspiration from a vintage 1830s teenager dress


This beautiful dress I came across while browsing Pinterest, and fell in love with it's simple yet intricate pattern of flowers and leaves. It's a part of the Met's collection in New York, but not on exhibition for the moment.

It's actually a childrens summer dress from the 1830s, of cotton and the pattern isn't printed, but painted.

The Met doesn't state the origins of the dress, except that it was American and a gift from a Miss Mildred Natwick who donated the garment in 1941.

Just look at those delicate motifs! I'm in awe and so inspired!


Looking at the cut and model I'd guess that this dress was made for a young woman, not a child. Perhaps someone between 10-14 years old. It's hard to say since people in general were shorter and petite than today. Don't you just love those sleeves?


Here's a closeup of the bodice with beautiful pleats and details.


Another closeup, showing the beautifully painted flowers, leaves and stems. I wonder what the original colors looked like? The blue leaves are probably not that changed, perhaps faded a bit. The brown leaves could have been brown, but also dark red or green. My guess about the flowers is that they had light red/pink or peach colors.

Want to learn how to create an Indian floral inspired pattern yourself? Then you can check out one of my Skillshare courses where I teach this.

Learn more about my course Classic Pattern Designs - Make Indian Floral pattern >>

You can find the dress in the Costumes Department at the Mets online archive. Images are courtesy to the Met.

Want to check out other vintage prints I've found? 

Then you can follow my boards on Pinterest >>