Thursday, June 9, 2016

Larkin & Smith 18th century English Gown

Larkin & Smith English Gown 1770s 1780s. This was out of my comfort zone but I am very pleased with the result. Larkin & Smith offer historical patterns to be made up in the period manner (H/A). This dress was to be made entirely by hand. I am not a huge fan of handwork so mine is about 65% hand done. I highly recommend this pattern for Intermediate level. It helps to have an idea of 18th century fashion and construction techniques. L&S patterns are very well drafted and the instructions come in book format with COLOR photos. You also get a set of garment pins for your finished dress. Yes, this dress is pinned closed, as they would have been in historical times. 
Muslin: Not too many adjustments. I shortened the shoulder straps 1/2 inch. I shortened the bodice 1.5 inches (I am short waisted). I also made a muslin of the sleeves just on case. I made no other adjustments. 
Construction: Directions are clear and concise. As you are going along if you feel something is left out just keep going. It gets covered along the way. This is a very methodical process. I was second guessing a couple things and FB messaged L&S. They were very helpful. However, had I just kept going my questions would have been answered. The back pleats are super easy! Don't be scared. There is a template you trace off and it is so easy. I did hand stitch my back pleats and it took little time. The sleeves are very easy to put it. It is done as a two step process and I had zero issues. 
Advice and end notes:
The back pleats take up a bit of length. I decided to add some extra to my back and skirt sections. You measure and figure out (easy math) how long you need your dress. I did not have a sewing friend to help with the measurement so I used my dress form set at my shoe wearing height. My length was 55 inches. Everyones will be different. I recommend extra fabric if you are tall. I am 5ft 4in. This dress requires stays. When you pin it closed the pins go into your stays. Mine are only half boned and it is more of a challenge for me, so I just do my best. This dress has no boning at all. Neither does the stomacher. Dress is very low cut, but I luv it!
Last but not least:
What I sewed by machine: Sleeves, skirt seams, robings, back of under bodice seam, petticoat. Everything else was done by hand. Dress and petticoat are made of linen. I am wearing the ugly puffer and two underskirts. Shoes by American Duchess.

I really love this gown. It is so feminine. I have a couple events I can wear this to over the summer. I think this would be fantastic in silk taffeta. However I want to make L&S Fashionable Gown for my next 18th century project. But that won't be until years end since I am still trying to decide what color I want it to be. Plus I don't need an extensive 18th century wardrobe. There is not a whole lot of 18th century activities where I am at. And as far as hats go I find I prefer the market style bonnet to the flat hat. I like this hat, it is pretty but I think the market bonnets appeal to my more practical nature. I have a L&S market bonnet kit in lavender that I haven't made up yet. It would go very nicely with this dress. And SOMEDAY I am going to re-make that #@%%*%# sacque back gown. Grrrrr...







Calling for my sheep, says Bo Peep!

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