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Posted in: Saxony 1530 Gown

I am again reminded that I need to try harder when I'm using a pattern. When you're making something that's closely fitted to your skin you really really need to make sure you don't (say) accidentally add 1/2 inch to each side of all of the pattern pieces so that the sewn together first draft in linen is about 3 inches too big. *sigh*

So I cut out the dress twice this weekend and sewed it together twice. Take two was much better than take one.

Learnings so far:


  • A pattern piece is a carefully fitted shape that exactly recreates the shape needed to get the desired fit of the garment. Sloppy duplicates of the pattern piece lead to sloppy garments.
  • If you're a big busty woman you can't expect really thin linen to support you properly (see Yellow Cote dress diary for the first time I learned this). You'd think that having tried this now twice, I'd learn. But no. When I started cutting out "take one" I thought to myself "gee, this linen is thin" but kept on cutting anyway. Thin linen + sloppy pattern cutting = unsupportive and unflattering garment.
  • Lacing tape is crap. It doesn't seem like something that would be crap. But believe me, it's crap. The twill tape is very loosely woven. I've tried the garment on twice and already the grommets are popping out of the tape. I'm going to stop by Lacis tonight on the way home and get a couple of 24" Lacing Stays. These are the things I described as "the bomb" earlier. If I had time I would do hand-bound eyelets.. but only 3 weeks left.. and I still have to make his pants and waffenrock.
  • The original pattern I made up had the center (white) stomach thingy fitting exactly between the left-hand and right-hand sides of the brown part of the bodice. In tweaking this I've discovered that I like it better if the white is behind the brown.

    The white is permanently affixed to the brown on the left-hand side.. and then is laced in on the right-hand side. I'll need to make the white about 1 1/2 inches bigger than the pattern piece so that it will 1) still fit me, 2) get the proper overlap and 3) be able to sew it in such a way that the stitches don't run over the bones. The lace will need to be set back about 1/2 to 3/4" on the brown. I think that'll work much better.

  • Turns out Fearghus is very handy when it comes to making steel bones shorter. That armor making stuff had to come in handy at some point.
  • It's -very- flattering when you finally get "take two" sewn together.. and you're modeling it in front of the mirror to decide what to do next.. and your boy practically wolf-whistles at you. :)

    (Especially when I think back to his look of horror when he saw the sloppy and unsupportive "take one".)

bodice_pattern.gif Pattern pieces (not entirely to scale). From left-to-right, Back, side-back (make 2), front stomach thingy. Bones marked in pale blue.
Here's a basic picture of the pattern pieces I've ended up using. Because the top of the back has such a square between the sleeves and the top of the neck in the back, it made more sense to cut the sleeve-caps as separate pieces and attach them to the back piece (the left piece). In the sewn versions of this, this makes a lovely crisp square at the back neck line. I'm not sure what I'm going to do when I go to add the fashion fabric (wool) on the outside of the bodice. I'm not terribly fond of the idea of showing those seams between the sleeve cap and the rest of the back.. but I do definitely like the crisp square I'm getting by cutting them as two pieces.

After careful consideration I've abandoned the idea of adding a tab to the bottom of the back piece. I can't figure out how I would attach the skirt to the bodice if the tab was in the way. Plan A for now is to just to keep the back bones short enough that they don't poke me in the butt. Plan B (if plan A fails miserably) is to make a bone casing with integrated tab and hand-stitch that to the interior of the dress -after- the skirt is attached.

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