Sunday, February 3, 2019

Simplicity 8411 Claire's Outlander Red (not red) Dress

So there is an Outlander ball next month that several of us are planning on attending. Of course I wanted to make a new gown!

If you are interested in the ball go here Outlander Fanatics of Washington State You will need to join the group and then you can get all the ball info and how to get tickets. :-)

Pattern:
Based on the 18th century Robe de Cour. Dress laces up the back, 3/4 sleeves and separate skirt which is cartridge pleated to a waistband and hooked to the bodice. The bodice is fully boned and acts like a a pair of stays. The pattern also comes with panniers that are the perfect size for the skirt.

Fabric/supplies:
Vespers silk taffeta from Silk Baron (yummy!!!) Embroidered net lace. Pink tulle strips and silver gimp braid for bodice trim. Misc lace for sleeves and lace tucker inside neckline. I underlined the bodice with down proof ticking and it is lined with cotton sateen. Boning is all plastic.

Size and alterations:
I checked the finished bodice measurements before I decided on size. I was a bit apprehensive because when I costume I normally have stays or corset so my measurements are static. With this pattern there is no need for stays so I used my standard measurements which can fluctuate a bit from day to day. :-/

Looking at the finished size measurements I knew I would want to size down at least one size range. Simplicity notes that ease above body measurement is 1/2 an inch for this gown. Hmmmmmmm..... However if I am treating it like stays then I want a bit of negative ease so I have some support. The big 4 patterns seem to think we need ease in corsets and stays. That would be a giant NO. My aim was for a 1 inch back lacing gap.

Going by bust size I fall between 20 and 22. I decided on size 20 based on the finished garment measurements. Because I'm short between my apex and shoulder I cut size 16 for the neckline, shoulders and arm openings. Size 20 was for all the other seams. If I had cut size 20 for everything the neckline, shoulders and arm openings would have been way too large. I also used size 16 for sleeves.

The only alteration I made was taking the V cut out of the bodice neckline.

Panniers:
Easy to make. I did use plastic coated hoop boning for mine instead of the featherweight boning requested on the pattern envelope. I wanted them to be able to support the weight of the skirt plus two under petticoats. The skirt really looks better with a couple of petticoats underneath so the hoop bones don't show.

Skirt:
I used size 22 for the skirt/petticoat. You are using hooks and bars so you will want some tension in your waistband (NO ease!!) I notice the big 4 patterns also like to put ease in waistbands too.

The outer petticoat (AKA skirt) is made similarly to an 18th century skirt/petticoat. It has a front and back waistband that close together (overlap) on each side with hooks and bars. It is open from the waistband down about 9 inches on each side so you can wear a pocket in the 18th century style. The skirt front and back are cartridge pleated to the waistband. It is not difficult to do but it's very time consuming because it is done by hand. If you need a good tutorial on this go here-- Historical Sewing

The instructions are good for the making of the pleats but lack on the attaching them to the waistbands. The instructions don't show sewing it to the waistband RST and then hingeing it up like I have done in the past. Use the Historical Sewing tutorial instead for that step. It will look much better.

The downside of multi sized patterns is apparent in the skirt. The skirt pattern pieces are the same measurement for every size. The larger you are the less pleat density you will have. Using a thin fabric makes them even more sparse for us plumper ladies. I did use some interfacing to thicken up my fabric up to the fold line on the top of the skirt. I'm glad I did but I still feel that my pleats are thin. It's not a deal breaker but if you are in the larger size range you could probably skip the cartridge pleats and just do traditional knife pleats, skip the fold over and attach it to a waistband in the traditional manner. This would in turn give you more skirt length since you aren't using the fold over at the top.

The skirt runs short if you are taller than 5ft 4ish. I am wearing a 1.5 inch heel and the skirt doesn't touch the ground. I'm not quite 5ft 4 inches tall without shoes on. You will want more yardage if you are taller.

Bodice construction:
I made one muslin. I stitched up the back and left the center front seam open to check fit.

Time consuming. Lots of boning channels to sew and boning to cut. I used mostly plastic except for the back lacing bones where I used flat steel instead. It gives more support to the lacing grommets. If you are putting tension on your lacing you don't want flimsy bones that will buckle. Slimmer ladies may not have that issue.

Inserting sage advice here:
Set in the grommets asap once you have the bodice put together and the back boning channels done. That way you can try it on and make sure you want to keep going.

If I make this again I will not insert the boning until I have the sleeves put in. The instructions have you put in all the boning, bind the bottom and then put in the sleeves. That was a HUGE pain in the ass. All that boning flopping around while maneuvering sleeve sewing thru my machine.

More sage:
I used the rabbit ears method for my lacing while making the gown. I was able to easily loosen and tighten my laces so I could just pull it on over my head and tighten away. No lacing help needed.

Bodice construction continued:
The bodice went together fine until I got to the sleeves. The sleeves are very generous in size. Even the size 16 I used are roomy. If you have very full upper arms you may not need to adjust them.

The only way I was able to get the sleeves set in so the dot matched up to the shoulder seam was pleating them towards the front, not the back. Even the line art in the instructions show the pleats folded to the front in the first drawing and then to the back in the second drawing.

On outside of sleeve pleats are going to the front.

Next step the pleats are folded in the opposite direction. You can only see the inside of the pleats here but if the inside folds are pointing to the front then the outside folds will be pointed to the back. When I had them pleated to the back as shown that dot was nowhere near the set back shoulder seam. 

I first basted my sleeves in with my pleats to the back. I really didn't like how they looked. I have the same feelings when I look at the Simplicity website pictures.  I went back and refolded the pleats to the front (hey that dot finally matched up to the shoulder seam!!!!) and set them in. I don't know that they look any better but that damn dot was matching up so now I can at least sleep at night.  I decided to just leave them like that and let it go. Pleats to the front or pleats to the back....well it's only a costume anyway and I tend to do my own thing so...

A bit more sage:
If I ever made this again I would grab a different 18th century sleeve pattern and go that route. I don't like the sleeves on this.

More on the bodice:
The bodice is quite short. I'm short waisted and this fits me perfectly. If you have a longer waist you will definitely want to make adjustments. I visited the American Duchess blog here American Duchess Simplicity 8411
to get some guidance on this style of gown and decorating the bodice. It was very helpful!

Final notes:
I do recommend this pattern. I would say not for a beginner. Intermediate and up. The sleeves are meh. On the other hand, slap enough lace and bows on them to draw the eye away from the sleeve cap. ;-)

The costumes from Outlander have gotten a bit of hate but the red dress was a particular target. I don't watch the show and haven't read the books in years. I have seen enough still shots to understand the controversy. Whatever..... I didn't choose this dress for historical accuracy. I wanted a big 18th century-ish gown with a really full skirt. I'm happy with the end result in spite of the sleeves. It's a labor intensive project overall and even more so if you are decorating the bodice. Yay pictures!!




Saturday, February 2, 2019

Laughing Moon Pattern 138 Regency Gown and time for a ball!

Oh it was that time of year again!!! The Washington Regency Society's 12th night ball. It was fantastic and so thoughtfully put together. Of course I needed a new dress for it! I wanted to dig into Laughing Moon 138 for awhile so now I had an excuse.

Pattern:
Mid to later Regency with loads of different trim/neckline/sleeve options. The waistline is a bit lower and there are bust darts. The dress buttons up the back.

Size:
I am pretty much a size 22 in LM patterns so that is what I used. I made no alterations.

Fabric:
Silk shantung for the dress and cotton for lining.

View:
I used the mid neckline and the slash and puff sleeve. The trim on the skirt and bodice was my own design.

Directions:
Great! I have no complaints. The slash and puff sleeves are time consuming but worth it. They do require some hand sewing.

The darts, oh the darts:
Soooooooo......The darts are very high and very pointy. I don't care for them. Next time I will use gathers. One of my friends made her bodice with gathers and it looks really nice. I was unhappy enough with the darts so I covered them with some gathered trim.

Final thoughts:
This makes up into a lovely gown. I will use this pattern again for sure!




The ball was great fun! I didn't really take any pictures since I was too busy having a good time. ;-)






Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Burda 2471 Men's Regency era pattern AKA Napoleon pattern

It was time for the Washington Regency Society (WRS) 12th night ball! I asked my youngest if he would be interested in attending with me. He had joined me for the WRS picnic last summer and had a great time. I knew if he was going to go he would need something to wear. My dilemma, he is 14 and still growing. I started out looking at the Laughing Moon patterns but I didn't want to go that in depth for a costume that won't fit him in 6 months. I landed on Burda 2471. I had used the vest pattern last year for the WRS picnic. The cut and fit were really good. After getting his measurements I realized I needed to go up to the next size on the vest because he had grown again since summer!! The only part of Burda 2471 I wasn't interested in were the breeches. They are a very modern tight cut and require fabric with some stretch. Lol. My son took one look at the picture of Napoleon's tight white disco hot pants on the pattern envelope and said yeah, no.

So what pattern did I use for his breeches? Simplicity 4923 to the rescue! The whole pattern is fantastic. I made the entire suit for my husband a couple years ago and it turned out great. If you are looking for a basic no frills pair of drop front breeches Simplicity 4923 is perfect.

Let's go!

Size and fabric:

I decided on the size 38 chest. His chest measures 37 so I checked the finished measurements and knew the 38 would work. Do yourself a favor and make the breeches and vest first. My son uses a tux shirt for costuming. Once I got done with the vest and breeches he tried all components on and I measured him again before jumping the gun on his jacket.

I wanted the costume to be washable if needed. I used red canvas for the jacket and navy brushed twill for his vest, breeches and all the contrast on the jacket.

Alterations:
None.

Construction:
This went together really easily. Just follow the directions and you should have no issues. Be aware that Burda patterns are a bit different from the Big 4.

End result:
I'm very pleased! My son looked quite dashing and he enjoyed both wearing his costume and attending the ball.

Side note:
The sleeve cap has too much ease. I had to pleat mine because the fabric was too thick to ease/gather. I also heard this from another costumer so I know it's not just me.

 Looking quite the young gent!



He spent the evening learning to play cards.

Thursday, January 10, 2019

2018 bits and pieces of costuming fun and upcoming events!!

So I have been fairly neglectful of my little blog. Life happens and things get busy. I have been enjoying some outings but also spending time at home with my guys. Since I am very lazy I will just post some pictures from activities since summer. I do have some finished projects I will be writing about soon.


Costume College 2018!!!

Yes I did attend with the fabulous Countess! It was a really fun time. The first time I went I was on my own and I felt kind of awkward. Going with a friend is a blast and I highly recommend it! We also made a special trip to the fabric district. IT WAS EPIC!

Thursday pool party. I made a quick open robe out of a lovely fabric that I only had a small amount of.

Friday night social with the Countess! We had an open robe mini theme.

Val at Time Traveling in Costume was also part of the open robe mini theme.

 For the gala I decided on my metallic gold 1950s evening dress.

 Keeping things klassy. ;-)

Mirror selfie at the gala!

I wore my peacock 1912 gown to the Time Traveller Tea on Sunday.

Costume College was a lot of fun but it's not something I can do every year. Traveling is expensive and I had to curtail some of my local activities to afford it. Maybe I will go again in 2020 or 2021. :-)

October outing in Port Gamble:

A few of us decided to get together for a anything goes dress up day in scenic Port Gamble. We had a really fun time and enjoyed some champagne in the graveyard. It brought back the cemetery drinking  memories of my misspent youth in Seattle. I wore my red twill 1890s outfit and I was feeling pretty spiffy!




The local tea shop was having a Harry Potter day so The Countess brought her magic wand!

 Me and Petite Death, one of my favorite goth sisters.



Christmas at Fort Nisqually

The Countess and I seem to have made a tradition of going to the Yule Log ceremony at Fort Nisqually. It was a chilly day but mostly dry. I broke out my 1850s plaid dress and red "hussy" bonnet. I made a cute little cape of blue velveteen and trimmed it with marabou. Sewing that stuff on was not fun but the overall look is pretty fancy. I lined the cape with flannel for extra warmth.


I bought an up cycled fur muff for the fundraiser. It was made from an old fur coat. So soft and warm!

I hope you have enjoyed my posts from 2018! I do have a couple patterns to review and will hopefully get to it in the next couple weeks. 2019 looks to be a busy year of costuming! 

We are gearing up for VicFest in Port Townsend, WA! It's March 22-24. The planners are doing it a bit different this year. It will be more interactive with the guests. They want YOU to come dressed in your Victorian costumes. There will be a evening reception Friday night followed by pub hopping. Saturday looks to have a garden reception (possibly indoors due to weather), organized teas, fashion show and ball. Sunday will have more opportunities for tea and some shopping. Tickets are not for sale yet. Stay tuned to this page on Face Book for details! VicFest FB Page

Another event taking place is The Outlander Ball on March 9th. If you are interested in finding out more about this event you must join The Outlander Fanatics of Washington State Face Book page. There is a link to all the details there. Outlander Fanatics of WA

JASNA is having a full day and evening (BALL!!!!!!!) of Jane Austen! An Evening at Pemberly in Seattle Washington on April 6th. Here is a link for more info Puget Sound JASNA

Happy 2019!

Saturday, October 6, 2018

My experience with Truly Victorian TVE01 1903 Edwardian S Bend Corset

One thing I have been wanting to make for quite a while is an S bend corset.  I am not the most prolific corset maker because it's not my favorite activity. However, I really want to delve into this era and one must start with the proper foundations. I had already made some Edwardian combinations quite awhile ago. Probably my most favorite style of under garments. Alright! Let's go!

Pattern and sizing:

Multi sized with different cup sizes up to DD. The corset had 3 bust heights and 3 hips lengths. Really, I mean REALLY read thru her size selection several times. It will make things so much easier. By following her directions I only needed one mock up. First off don't over fit this corset. Use padding where needed. I have a hip/rump pad that I use under my 1890s costumes because my hip/waist ratio is very small. A little extra padding gives me a more hourglass shape.

What can be tricky about the sizing is waist/bust size. If there is 2 or more size differences between your waist and bust measure you need to reduce your cup size. I wear a D cup bra. Do to my waist/bust size I went down to a B cup. Trust me, it works. I started obsessing about hip size but stopped once I made my mock up and realized I had made them too small. I knew I was over thinking and went up one size in my hip area. I decided on the mid bust and longest hip length. If you have a tummy a longer hip length will be your friend.

Materials:

This is a single layer corset. I used beige coutil for mine. I decided on synthetic whalebone for most of my boning except for the back lacing bones, they are flat steel. She does not recommend spiral steels for this corset, only flat steel. I did cheat and used coutil lacing tape. The real good quality lacing tape isn't cheap. This is the only corset I have ever used it for and it was awesome! The tape has a boning channel on each side of the grommets. I bought mine from Farthingales and they have a tutorial on how to use it.

Directions:

Her directions are very clear. I didn't have any issues at all. There are no clearly marked boning channels on the front pieces. Look at the diagram and you will see where to place them.

Things I did differently and final notes:

I did add a couple extra boning channels on the back/side backs. This is just a personal preference. I also put in a double busk. A double busk is a wide piece of flat steel that you encase in fabric and sew on to the corset near the main busk. It makes it so much easier to do up a busk when dressing and add additional support. I don't do this when wearing a spoon busk. I have found that a lot of regular busks are flimsy and the extra bone behind them helps with that. Here is a link on the double busk process.


https://corsetmakers.livejournal.com/1692950.html

Also here is the type of under busk/double busk boning I bought.

https://corsetmaking.com/extra-wide-under-busk.html

TVE01 is a great pattern. I am totally pleased with the results and I am looking forward to costuming a whole new era!

Trying to be tasteful here....

 Here is my double busk. The bone does not need to be as long as your busk.

 Wrong side of double busk.

 Close up front.

I made some garters using 1 inch overall clasps, satin ribbon, no roll elastic and 5/8 inch sew on metal buttons. The overall clasps come with nail on buttons and they weren't cooperating with me.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

My La Mode Bagatelle Artistic Reform Tea Gown adventure!

Well I decided I needed a challenge gauntlet thrown down in my sewing room! I have been in a bit of a funk, kinda bored and unmotivated. I rely on sewing to keep the creative side of my brain happy. It lifts my mood and eases stress. So I went wandering through my patterns and nestled in my 1890s stash was La Mode Bagatelle's Artistic Reform Tea Gowns pattern. I already had the fabric needed for the under gown and over gown. The only things purchased were ribbon and some lace. Yay for stash busting!

Here we go!

Under gown:

I decided on view C. This is the most advanced view and it took a lot of patience. The under gown's bodice has a fitted waist length under bodice and the outer bodice has a raised waist line, except for the very front pieces. View C has a stand up collar and very involved ruched pin tucked sleeves with cuffs. The skirt is a simple A line shape lightly gathered.

Fabric:

Cream silk sari fabric. This is a light weight version of silk taffeta. It is very nice to work with. The pattern's fabric requirements are accurate. I do try to have a bit more on hand than I need just in case.

Size:

I decided on size 18 or 44 bust. Yes I did make a muslin and just needed to add a bit more in the waist area. I am wearing this with a loosely laced corset. If you decide to wear this with modern undergarments you may have to make more alterations. The bust points are very perky and if you are dealing with the ravages of gravity then you might have to lengthen the bodice to get full coverage. They do also have a DD cup option in this pattern.

Alterations:

The under gown's fitted inside bodice is waist length. As a short waisted gal I had to shorten it about 1.5 inches. I always pay attention to the back of neck to waist measurement on pattern envelopes. I also needed to add about 1 inch to the waist measurement. I was surprised that those were the only two alterations I needed to make. I didn't bother to shorten the outer bodice because it was already short enough.

Directions and making it work:

The direction aren't terrible. However they are assuming sewing knowledge. The bodice goes together fine. The stand up collar is not fun at all. Oddly at some point in my life I made a similar collar and understood what they wanted me to do. It is very fussy and I still had to rip out stitches and do over. Attaching the skirt is fine until you reach the front panels. It is again very fussy and I did improvise and attach the last inch on both sides by hand. It still is a bit of a coarse join and the pattern recommends using some trim on the waist seam, I think to cover it up. I'm not putting trim on an under dress. You will be sewing on lots of hooks or snaps. I wound up changing the hooks I used to snaps because there wasn't quite enough tension on my under bodice to hold the hooks closed.

Sleeves:

If you are going with view C you need to make all the pin tucks and gathers by hand. Truly. You start out by pulling single threads from the fabric weave up to the point that each the pin tuck ends. You then use those lines to create your tucks by matching them together 2 at a time. This makes sure your tucks are totally on grain. Otherwise your sleeves will twist weirdly while you are wearing the gown. Then you stitch your tucks by hand with a long running stitch and use that same thread to pull up the gathers. It all works out nicely and the end product is pretty. The cuffs aren't difficult but it took a few  long looks at the drawings to figure out what I was supposed to do. I would say they are fussy but not as bad as the collar.

 Beginning stages of the bodice.

 Sleeve progress. This is what they look like as you are pulling threads from the weave to mark the pin tucks. Try to pull gently so you don't go past the end of the tuck markings. 


 Sewing the pin tucks by hand with a long gathering stitch.

Finished sleeve!


 Under gown when fastened.

 Under gown with skirt undone.

 Under gown with all the fastenings undone. 


Over gown view C:

Again the most challenging view. It slips on over your head and has a shoulder closure. I used snaps. Skirt is A line shaped and gathered at the waist with a modest train. Sleeves are pure butterfly fairy Wicca drama. They are pleated to the bodice.

Fabric:

They give a lot of fabric options. Anything from something with lots of drape to stiffer home decor or mid weight silks. I had this lovely green silk faille in my stash. It is a mid weight fabric with lots of body. I used my cream sari silk as the sleeve lining. The trim is 2 1/8 inch wide jacquard ribbon. Gold on black. They don't give yardage info for the amount you will need. I bought 4 yards and used it all. The hem is faced with bias cut brown velveteen. I also added some cheap ruffled lace to protect the hem. I just peeks out and is sewn to the underside of the skirt. Buy the cheap stuff, baste it on by hand. When it gets worn out just replace it.

Size:

Once again the size 18, 44 bust.

Alterations:

I made a muslin and in doing so I realized that the length from shoulder to apex was too long and would need to be shortened. I have this issue with modern RTW fashions as well. My shoulder to apex measurement is short. Things like tank tops are always too long in the strap area. Knowing I had to shorten both bodice front and back in the arm hole area it would throw off the pleats on the sleeves. I didn't worry too much about it and once I got to the sleeves I just followed the pleating markings and made small adjustments to the pleats. The skirt was a bit long in front for me so I shortened it about 1.5 inches.  I'm 5ft 4in for reference. I normally decide on what shoes I will be wearing before I start on any project. I then set my dress form to that height. Once I have the bodice done I will drape the skirt front pattern piece and see how much I need to remove from the length.

Bodice alteration. Both front and back pieces had to be shortened in the upper torso area. The back bodice was gaping even worse than the front.

Directions:

They are still assuming sewing knowledge. I didn't have any issues putting this together but there were some parts of the instructions that just weren't covered. Like sewing the side seams. That is pretty much all the directions say. However, you have a lining and fashion fabric to sew. If you have ever made a lined vest before then you shouldn't have an issue. See below.

Sewing the side seams. Your lining is already attached at the neckline. Sew each side seam RST and then flip it so that the wrong sides rest against each other.

The other part was the shoulder closure. They suggest a piece of a short piece 3 inch wide petersham ribbon that you fold in half. You attach this to one shoulder and it serves as a foundation for the eyes or in my case snaps that the other shoulder will attach to. You don't want this ribbon in your arm hole space. It will interfere when you attach the sleeve. See pic below.

Shoulder seam closure. I had to trim my 3 inch ribbon because it was too wide so I serged the cut edge. I measured and made sure it wasn't going to interfere with my sleeve. The upper raw edge will be enclosed by the lining. The ribbon flips up and the other shoulder will lay on top of the ribbon and attach to it with hooks or snaps.

**Side note, the sleeves are open at the top. That is how you are able to have a shoulder closure. A normal sleeve is sewn together like a tube or circle. Think of this sleeve as the letter C laying on it's curved back.

Make sure you stay stitch the necklines. For two reasons. One is to stabilize and the other is to help with the ribbon placement. You lay the ribbon on top of the bodice pieces ant attach it that way. It helps to have a guide. No right sides together stuff. Do not cut the ribbon until you have made the gathers in the bodice front to your liking. Measure what you need then cut. The ribbon will need darts on both the front and back points. This will be done freestyle as you are attaching it. 

Bodice completed. Where the waist trim meets at the center point is where you will put the dart, same at the center back. 

Attaching the skirt was not difficult. I did have to combine gathers and pleats because my fabric was thick. All gathers looked like crap. So I gathered the front and back and pleated the sides. Again you are laying your trim/ribbon on top and top stitching it to attach. It helps to have your seam allowances  clearly marked.

Final notes:

A really nice pattern but not for beginners. Even an intermediate may struggle with this one. I had some head scratching moments for sure but worked my way through them. You fabric choices will determine how this gown drapes. Mine is more origami like because my fabric has so much body. If you go with silk velvet, chiffon or charmeuse the gown will look totally different. What is nice about having the underdress in a neutral color is I can make a different overdress view and change up the look. This delightful ensemble is traveling to Costume College next month! And......... I will now commence with the pictures!

 Sleeve detail. A lot of work but so worth it.

 Going all Artistic Reform in the garden!

 Back view. A modest manageable train. 





 I decided to let my hair down to fully celebrate dress reform!

Contemplating poppies!


Sunday, April 15, 2018

My plaid Mantua Maker Regency Gown 1810-1 Review

FINALLY I am writing this one up. I made this dress last year at the beginning of fall and didn't have the opportunity to wear it until yesterday. Washington Regency Society had their museum outing and spring tea. So out came the silk bonnet and thin cotton dress for a pouring down rainy Pac NW day.
;-)

Pattern, size, fabric:

Mantua Maker No. 1810-1 Regency drawstring dress. Multi sized. Fabric was a plaid cotton voile.
Size chosen : Large. My measurements in chemise, long stays, bodice petticoat-- 43-39(under bust)-43 hips.
 I felt that the XL would be too big in the bust. Plus this was going to be a wearable muslin I figured I can make changes when I make the next one.
Here is the thing about this specific pattern. In order to see if it's going to fit you all those drawstring channels need to be sewn. It's a bit of work. So I thought if I just make the dress up as is I can check fit and have a not perfect dress to wear. Yay!

Instructions:

Very clear. Actually pretty darn bossy. This is not a complaint, just an observation. I do my own thing so I sewed it all by machine including the hems. The dress went together fine. PLEASE read all the instructions first though. In order to make the uber multi puff sleeve you have to do the maths and lengthen the given pattern piece. She gives you the formula to use. I always keep a calculator handy so it was no issue. You will also need to lengthen the skirt piece as well. But most of us are already lengthening, shortening or lifting our skirts anyways. ;-)

My thoughts and changes I made:

This is a good but labor intensive pattern. It is size adjustable so 1 dress could be made to fit several people. She recommends ribbon or rattail cord for the drawstrings. I struggle with super shiny ribbon and rattail. This is a me issue, not a you issue. If you want to run through a field of flowers in a satin dress trimmed with 900 yards of shiny satin ribbon well you do you baby! Have fun, that is what this is all about!
So I used 1/8 wide white twill tape I buy by the roll at Burnley & Trowbridge Co. The waist tie is white satin ribbon.

I used elastic in the sleeves. She wanted all drawstrings and I wasn't having it. Elastic can fit many sized arms without the constant adjustments of drawstrings. However washing and ironing this will be a bitch. My next one will be silk taffeta dry clean only thanks.

The neckline has 4 total sets of drawstrings. Then you have the waist ribbon drawstring. I had to have husband draw everything up and tie them off before I could really tell how this would fit. It took us about 5 minutes to accomplish this event. I realized if I would always need help getting in this dress and Mimi doesn't like that. I am a strong independent woman. So once we had them adjusted exactly where I wanted them I untied only the waist and easily slipped the dress off over my head. I knotted all the ties (except for waist) and top stitched the drawstrings in place at the shoulders. So this dress is not as adjustable but I can sure as hell put it on by myself. Just slip it over your head and tie the waist ribbon.

Alterations I will need:

The under bust/waist just barely meets at the back. I will make it a couple inches bigger. If you are larger than a B cup (D here) you will want to add a bit of length to the bodice. Otherwise the waist seam line will be at your mid bust. Mine is landing a little high. Tying the waist ribbon around the front helps. So that is another thing I need to change. Otherwise it really is a pretty dress. I want it made out  of black silk taffeta. With those ridiculous sleeves. Regency Gothic, Northanger Abbey.

Other final thoughts:

I know a lot of people avoid her patterns because the cover art and few pictures are not that great. Maybe she has been doing this so long there is no interest in repackaging her product. I think that is a shame but... not my circus etc etc etc....

So after all my blah blah blah......I recommend this pattern. Not for a beginner, but anyone beyond that could have a go. Enter into this journey with inexpensive fabric you like but don't love. Plan on just making a wearable muslin. Have fun!

Photo Roundup!

At the museum photo op.

Back view. Ooooooo that back waist is barely keeping it together!

Who wore it better?

Dress front. The drawstrings on the bodice panel are NOT adjustable, just for pretty.


Dress back, many drawstrings.

Shoulder where I topstitched the drawstrings in place.

The Lovely Countess selling her tomatoes....

Lady Rebecca and I trying to open the safe.

The Washington Regency Society