June Challenge – Complete

So yay, I got my mid-century pioneer dress done! (This post is a bit delayed, but I just got a new job and it’s been quite time-consuming)

Overall, I’m quite pleased with how this turned out.

It’s far from perfect though. I seem to have a problem with bodice closures… It never lines up on the finished bodice the way it does on the mock-up. Of course, this was a gathered front bodice and that changed the shape a little. Also, I added a bit too much ease to the lining. Note to self, it can still fit well without being restrictive.  At least the dog leg closure was super easy to figure out, and went in quite easily.  I used the tutorial on Historicalsewing.com (found here) to work this part of the dress.

The cartridge pleating is another problem. Mostly, how it ends. I cannot find anything on how you terminate these closures properly to keep the overall skirt looking smooth and seamless. Here though, I think the issue was the ease in the bodice; I tied the gathering strings about 1/2″ too short.

I wasn’t sure about the overall circumference of the dress.  This is shown over my 95″ hoop, and it’s three and a half panels of 45″ fabric.  So, about 155″ around.  Three panels just didn’t give enough drape.  I figured that was reasonable, because even with this width,  the skirt closure ended up only a few inches from the front of the skirt.

It came together very easily, which was nice.  Honestly, the worst part was trying to keep the cats off the skirt as I was working!

Anyway, I’m looking forward to wearing this to an event this fall!  And I’m very glad I made all these little mistakes on a pioneer dress, and not that nice sheer cotton voile I’ve got in the to-do pile.

(I did make an apron too, but sadly, the photos I’ve got won’t upload to the iPad…)

The Challenge: “Travelling”

Material: Cotton calico dress fabric, Kona cotton lining

Year: 1840s-1860s

Pattern: Yoke section from Laughing Moon #120, the rest draped or done with math

Notions: Twill tape, hook and eye closures

How Historically Accurate is it?: 85-90%. Having not seen the inside of a 1840s-1860s work dress personally, I can’t say that my construction techniques on the bodice are completely accurate. I got as close as I could, the materials are accurate, I used hem facings, all exterior seams hand-sewn…

Hours to complete: Bodice and sleeves, probably around 15-20, skirt 10.

Total cost: 8 yards of calico at $4/yard, 2 yards of Kona cotton for lining and hem facing at $6/yard, various notions around $10. So about $54. All of this stuff was in my stash already though.


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