I have, in my collection of dresses, a lovely sheer based on this dress:
The dress is an 1840’s style fan front. The only thing I did differently was to make it a stright waist instead of a point, and to make it a V-neck:
This now places it in the 50’s. But, the problem is, I reenact the War years. So I need to bring the dress into the 60’s. We start with this:
Then, we take the piping off the lower front edge, detach the sleeves, and unpick the shoulder seam. The bodice front needs to be re-cut and a different sleeve style needs to be attached. Here’s what it looks like after ripping:
Next step is to re-fit the bodice. This time, I only want a couple pleats instead of a fan front. So I resew the shoulder seam so the bodice front comes into it flat instead of gathered, and then fit the pleats over my corseted figure. Next, I reattach the piping on the lower edge of the bodice, and, until I can find a sleeve style I like better, I attach the lower sleeve of the original incarnation (a bishop) right into the armseye. This is the finished result once the bodice is re-attached to the skirt:
Much more 60’s style! These are the pieces I didn’t use that will be saved for future alterations (I’d like to find an open sleeve style with maybe some ruffles at the edge later)
So you see, if made correctly, a period dress can be easily altered for another decade, or a larger or smaller size, just as our foremothers did!