Sunday, September 25, 2016

Laughing Moon #118 1840s-1860s Victorian Wrapper

I am gradually learning the best sizes for me in regards to Victorian Laughing Moon patterns (18 or 20). For Regency, because of my stays I use size 22. This is the wrapper I made for Costume College 2016 but was unable to wear it because I was unwell for the intended breakfast event. I was bummed I couldn't wear it, but these things happen.

Happily this pattern came in the new LM format, booklet directions and heavier pattern paper with colored cutting lines. I knew this was meant to be a loose fit. Of course I fell in love with the two fabric version. This view is not included with the pattern per se, but there are instructions on altering the front piece so it can be made in two different fabrics. It was very easy to do, just a bit more time consuming.

Details of my dress:
Half lined, no darts, matching belt, bishop sleeve. I used a floral cotton fabric from a reproduction line named Rebecca. I also used a contrast band along the hem because I had a bit more quantity of the purple fabric.

My details:
43-36-43 in a corset. 5ft 4 inches barefoot.

Please bear in mind if you are unfamiliar with pattern sizing is not like ready to wear sizing, at all.
I started out with size 22 and made a muslin. It was too big in the shoulders and across the back. So i decided on the size 18 since I knew this was meant to be a loose fit anyway. The back on the 18 is a very good fit in width. The front is quite fitted across the top (upper chest).

Dropped shoulder, removed 2 inches and it is still nicely dropped. I carved out a bit in the front armhole. I do the same with Truly Victorian patterns.
Bodice back, took of a whopping 2 3/8 inches in length. My back of neck to waist is 15 3/4 inches. I am short waisted.
Skirt, shortened 3 inches. Their skirts are quite long so for you tall ladies, bonus!
Bishop sleeve, shortened 2 inches.

Other stuff
You will be piping the neckline and armholes. Do not be afraid of this (I was). It is quite easy and makes a very nice finish. The whole pattern went together very easily. Directions were easy to follow and I had no issues. This is a great pattern and I highly recommend it.

Haha! I could not resist!

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Tailor's Guide 1750-1785 Gown or Short Gown pattern

I have been wanting to make an 18th century gown with a stomacher for awhile. One that is not a sacque back, enfourreau back or a Big 4 pattern. I decided to go with the The Tailor's Guide 18th century gown pattern. I like the end product very much and will definitely use this to make a simpler dress of linen or heavy cotton. Tailor's Guide says this pattern is meant for reenactors with modern proportions. I don't know if that means "not wearing stays".

The pattern comes in sizes XS-XL. The instructions are printed on one big sheet of paper. Similar to Big 4 patterns. I made a muslin of the XL and it was too big everywhere. I measure approx 43-37-43 in stays. I went down to the size L and also made a muslin. The fit was much better. Plus with a stomacher I have room to play with the size.


I removed the small dart on the back neckline. It is kind of a strange little dart and it didn't really do anything for the fit.

I made the angled front bodice dart 1/2 inch bigger (added 1/4 on each side). This dart is very close to the front opening and is hidden by the trim.  I was being cautious about waist size, even with the stomacher.

I used my stomacher pattern piece from my JP Ryan Caraco pattern. It was handy and I like the size of it.

The sleeves run VERY tight. I have average middle aged lady arms and they were too tight on me. Make a muslin first to check. Glad I did. I enlarged the sleeve about 1 inch in width.

I did not make this a front lacing gown. The stomacher is sewn to one side of the bodice and pinned to the other.


Not too difficult. Their pleating of the skirt is very involved (math). However, what I didn't have to do is re-pleat any parts of the skirt while attaching it. The skirt is VERY full and takes almost twice the fabric as the JP Ryan English Nightgown. It is beautiful though! The directions tell you how much length to add to the skirt so it drapes properly over hip pads (included in pattern). I am wearing mine over panniers so I measured the pannier drop on my dress form and added the 6 inches as instructed. Do not skimp on this part or your dress will be too short. The sleeves set in perfectly with a bit of pleating. There are no real directions for adding trim. Just look at examples and have fun!

Final say:

I love this dress and will use the pattern again. I think this is an intermediate level pattern. For a confident beginner I suggest JP Ryan's English Nightgown. The yardage they ask for is very spot on. I had nothing but scraps left.

Martha and George!