The Great Pattern Review
Fashions of the Gilded Age Vol.1 & 2
by Francis Grimble
1878 Damask Polonaise
Annette E. Laprade - Recommended
This book is a series of two excellent books for the advanced sewer who islooking for original patterns for the period of 1877-1882 (natural form). These two books are choke full of all sorts of patterns for daywear, evening wear, sportswear, underwear, you name it. However, these patterns are presented as small diagrams, either scaled down (1/8 or 1/4 of the original pattern size) or to be enlarged by a set of scales also included in the book. The books do include a helpful introduction section on enlarging and using the patterns, but I would still recommend them only to advanced sewers, preferably with experience in pattern adjustment and/or drafting. For less experienced sewers these books are still a great resource of inspiration and reference though as they also include visual references and information on anything from hairstyles to jewelry and dress trims of the period (in Volume 2).
So far I have used one pattern from Volume 1, page 236, a Damask Polonaise from the May 1878 Harper's Bazar. This particular pattern was presented as a scale version of the original pattern pieces, so they needed to be first enlarged to full size and then adjusted to my measurements. This took a little time and patience, but if carefully enlarged the pattern pieces fitted together very well. The instructions were terse as was common but they were enough to guide me through the assembly. Many corners of the pattern pieces show numbers or symbols to guide in the assembly.