The George Washington Inn, Port Angeles, WA
I need more 18th century practical clothing. I thought about making another English Nightgown but I didn't want to deal with the pleating on the skirt part. I went through my stash and dug out JP Ryan's Caraco pattern.
Size and alterations:
What sucked is I ordered the wrong size and never noticed it until I finally got ready to use the pattern. It was one size smaller than I needed. I bought the 14-16 when I really needed an 18. But I knew I was going to muslin it so if it wouldn't work then I would find another pattern. I whipped up a quick muslin and decided to add an inch to each front edge of the stomacher. I also carved out a bit on the front of the arm opening since they were pretty tight. I removed about an inch of the back length from neck to waist. It feels a bit short so I will not be so aggressive with my next one. For reference my back of neck to waist is 15.5 inches.
The other thing that runs tight is the sleeves. I have average middle aged lady arms and they were snug. I did decide to try a different sleeve altering method just for fun. If you don't have Joi Mahon's Create the Perfect Fit book I highly recommend you buy it. She goes above and beyond the most common fitting methods. After creating my sleeve muslin I noted that the only room I needed was in the upper part of the sleeve and cap.
So I did this:
This gave me the extra room needed in both the sleeve cap and it added a bit of extra room along the length of the sleeve. I'm pretty damn happy with it! I didn't have any issues easing the sleeve into the arm opening either. Joi's book is pretty involved but it really breaks down all the fitting and makes it easier to understand. Instead of just throwing a full bust adjustment or full arm adjustment etc etc at everything as a fix all. Just like one size doesn't fit all, one alteration doesn't fit all either.
Fabric and construction:
I bought this decor weight cotton from Fashionable Frolic on Etsy. It was nice to work with and make for a sturdy but comfortable jacket.
The pattern instructions didn't give me any issues. My only warning is be careful when pressing the center back seam open. It's cut on the bias and gets stretched easily. I wasn't careful so I have a bit of a pucker along my CB seam. Once I had the gown put together I finalized my fitting of the stomacher and sewed on my hooks and bars. The pattern wants you to sew hooks and eyes and have the two front edges butting together. I no no like that. So I decided to use hooks and bars and have a 1/4 inch overlap on the front edge. Because of the overlap I only used a single length of boning on the hook side of my stomacher.
I highly recommend this pattern! I most certainly will make another in the future.
I didn't take a lot of pictures but The Countess is always happy to indulge my need for blogging my sewing experiences.
Eve reaching for the apple.....Actually not an apple but that was my first thought.
The polonaise effect with ribbon and buttons.
Looking like a proper 18th century matron.
The British are coming!!! Naw...it must have been time for tea and pastries.
Lovely ladies, The Countess and Lady J.
The Countess wearing her smashing ensemble! I was quite covetous of her very dramatic winged cuffs and quilted petticoat, that HUSSY! ;-)
Up close! And yes, it is a quilted coverlet made into an 18th century petticoat.
Our dainty tea! We visited with our old friend Dr. Franklin; as well as Martha and George Washington. It was a very enjoyable day
Oops! I almost forgot! Here is my bum pad that I am wearing under my gown. It is from the Simplicity/American Duchess cosplay patterns. The fabric is completely historically accurate and by historically accurate I mean Daisy Kingdom cotton circa 1994. Daisy Kingdom in the 1980s-90s via Simplicity had a coordinating fabrics/patterns thing going on. There were two color ways for this particular fabric. YES! Yes, I have both color ways. It's freaking crazy quilt pre printed fabric! I love a good crazy quilt, even a faux one.