So that's the bit of the Dress' story. The couple that owns the farm that Bek and I work at was actually a big inspiration and help also. The wife makes all of their own clothing, using a treadle sewing machine, unique techniques, and fabulous prints, many of them being reprints from originals. She's made many period customs from many differing eras and had a pattern she'd only used once that she thought would fit my bill on the time crunch and the practicality factor, seeing as how I'd be busy both days serving/hauling/setting up our food area. She also sent me to a fabric site called Thousands of Bolts...Only One Nut, where she'd found many inexpensive period fabrics before, that also shipped in a timely manner, meaning I'd have time to get started...and finish
With all the other work in prep for the big weekend, I didn't do any sort of mock-up/muslin beforehand with this garment. So with shakey hands, and reading through the directions about a zillion times, I commenced cutting pieces out and then pinning them together. The sewing instructions that came with the pattern (pictured below) pieces were very cut-dry and had alot of guess work that had to be done. Just the whole pattern seemed to have a first draft air about it. Which played alot with my nerves! Especially without a mock-up to compare/make changes to, looking back, I have no clue what I was thinking! Besides not having any time...
Anyway- the dress features the period off the shoulder bodice/sleeve hem, which if I use this pattern again in the future, I will definitely make that a little bit more pronounced, adding an inch or two for the full effect. The below photo shows a little bit of of the bodice close-up, as you can see, the front of it has the V-shaped format that was so popular in that time period. The work of gathering the bottom of each of the sides was really neat to do for the first time! It was nice to do something that I'd not done in the past that was easy and rewarding. :) It also has a bit of piping up the middle and around the collar, which I hand-sewed into place. I wish I would have opened it up to show the inside structure, but obviously I was not thinking clearly when I took these. :P But under the covered piping are steel hooks (same with the wrist cuffs) that close up the front of the bodice. The sleeves turned out better than I had expected, between the sketchy instructions and the look of the pattern pieces, I was certain they would end up being too snug, which it not what you are looking for in this kind of gown! Slipping it on for the first time, I was so relieved that all was well and that my wider shoulders and stout arms did not factor in too much. Oh! And the cuffs (pictured above, left) were quite fun too. Though those too will be need a change if I use the pattern again, as they were about an inch too tight for my liking! Which I can't quite figure as my wrists are small/average. Also, had I had more time to dress things up a bit, I would have loved to do the pleating instead of gathers for attaching the skirt to bodice. Next time I hope. Along with some hem binding (for the skirt's bottom hem) too are on the plans for next year's dress.
Have you ever made anything Civil War period or inspired?
Have you ever not made a mock-up for a project that was tense?
Have you ever missed out on an on-line fabric sale before you could make up your mind?
the elder sister & writer
P.S. For those wondering what all I'm wearing: Hoop skirt (it actually looks larger in real life :))- From an estate sale we did // Petticoat- Vintage, had forever // Pantaloons- Me made // Corset Cover/Cami- Me made // Snood- Bought off line a long time ago // Belt- Leather, thrifted, $1 // Boots, Ariat Brand, borrowed from Bek, gifted