Swiss Gown HowTo

This is a list of the steps I follow when creating a Swiss Gown. I’m putting it here so I don’t lose it.. and so I don’t forget the important things I’ve learned.

5+ yards of material (outer fabric)(usually wool)
2 yards of linen (to line the bodice)
2+ yards of guard fabric (or ribbons)

TODO list:

Pattern the bodice.
Cut the bodice out in the outer fabric and linen.

Sew the bottom of all of the outer bodice pieces and the center front seams and neck openings of all the bodice pices. Flip the bodice pieces around so there’s a finished seam around what will be the bottom of the bodice and the front opening. Iron this flat.
Ideally the seams for the hook and eye for the center front opening will end up under guarding on the bodice. If so, sew through both the lining and the outer fabric to attach the hook/eye. If not.. I suppose you could attach it to only the lining.. I’m not sure how that’d work.
Line up the sleeve caps with the outer fabric on the inside. Flip one piece of linen around to the other side. Sew the sleeve cap (1/2″ seam)(when you pull it straight the sleeve cap seam should be enclosed between the layers of linen and outer fabric).

Sew 1/4″ around the outside of all of the currently unfinished edges of the bodice pieces (side seam and armseye) (flatlining) (makes the linen and the outer fabric act as one piece of fabric).
Seam the bodice pieces together at the sides(1/2″ seams).

Cut out the bodice guards.
(if guards will enclose the edge of the bodice)Line up the raw edges of the guards with the raw edges on inside of the bodice and attach the guards (generous 1/4″ seam allowance). Flip guards around the outside of the edge and pin in place.
Miter the corners and pin generously.
Finish the guards by attaching with a hidden (appliqué) stitch.

Pattern sleeve.
Piece sleeve.
Attach sleeve to bodice.
Bind seam between bodice and sleeve.

Cut out the skirt fabric (170″ x 50″ for me).
Do a simple 1/2″ rolled hem at the top of the skirt fabric.
Attach the cheater strip of gingham so it’s aligned just below the top of the 1/2″ rolled hem.
Pleat the skirt by running two parallel buttonhole threads over/under 4 boxes on the cheater strip per stitch.
Draw tight.
Cut out a piece of wool linen 2″ wide by slightly longer than waist measurement (50″ long for me). Fold this to enclose all raw edges and sewed it down.
Add marks to waist band 7/8 inches apart.

Tack the top of each skirt pleat at each mark.
After all pleats are tacked to the strip remove the cheater strip and pleating strings.
Then work my way around the skirt band and attached the tops of each pleat to the skirt band.

(depending on guard placement this may occur after the skirt is attached to the bodice)
Figure out guard width and placement.
Cut out skirt guards.
Attach the top of the guards to the skirt.
Tack down the bottom of the guards.
Appliqué to finish the guards.
Remove the tack stitch from the bottom of the guards.

Attach the waist band to the bottom of the bodice. The band is completely hidden inside the bodice.. but this way if I ever need to pull the skirt off the bodice I can do that without having to completely re-pleat the whole thing.

Close the dress opening with a french seam.
(if needed) Hand finish the front opening with a rolled hem
Add a hook/eye to the front opening.
Hem the bottom of the dress.

Bind the side seams of the bodice.

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