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Photo by Duchess Megan

Photo by Duchess Megan

Photo by Sylvie

From the back, picture by Sylvie

Ari’s Dress ToDo

[updating as progress occurs]
(done) The placket is two layers of white linen (the colored part will be appliqued on the top part later). Sew all along the outside edge of the placket and turn it inside out. Press it flat and then hand finish the last bit.

(done) Sew the bottom of all of the outer bodice pieces and flip the bodice pieces around so there’s a finished seam around what will be the bottom of the bodice.

(done) Line up the sleeve caps with the wool 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 wool).

(done) Sew 1/4″ around the outside of all the outer bodice pieces (flatlining) (make the linen and the wool act as one piece of fabric).

(done) Seam the bodice pieces together at the sides(1/2″ seams).

(done) Attach the placket to one side of the bodice. (1″ offset)(I prefer this on the left-side as you’re wearing the garment).

(done)Attach the lacing strip Add grommets near one edge of the white placket (I prefer the right-side as you’re wearing the garment).
(done) Attach a strip of grommets to the other side of the bodice (leave room for the 1″ offset)(I prefer right-side as you’re wearing the garment).

Progress pics 8/31/2010:

The bodice is coming together nicely. It's looking decidedly bodice-like.

Look ma, grommets. These will be laced to hold the front of the dress closed.

Look ma, no grommets. The bodice laces on one side of the front. The other side is permanently attached.

The bodice opened up. The side seam will be sewn flat later.

Pleating the skirt onto the band. The 'cheater' gingham will be removed after I'm finished tacking.

(done) Cut out the bodice guards. The guards are folded in half with both raw edges together(widthOfGuardFabric = 2 * (Desired Width + 1/2″ flip/seam allowance) ). Normally I double up the guards. I think this time, instead I’ll just hem one edge and economize on fabric usage (widthOfGuard Fabric = Desired Width + 1″ seam/flip allowance).
(done)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.
(done) Miter the corners and pin generously.
(done) Finish the guards by attaching with a hidden (appliqué) stitch.

(done) Do a rolled hem on the colored placket on all sides (it should exactly match up with the left/right sides of the white placket). Applique the colored placket onto the top of the white placket.

(done) Attach the lacing rings below the colored placket (4 per side).

Bind the seams.


Each gingham block is 3/8″
8 gingham blocks per pleat (4 per side). 3″ /pleat
2 blocks at the top of each pleat+ 1/8″ will attache to the bodice… so 7/8″ / pleat around the waist band

Waist is 34 inches. (includes some overlap).

That gives me 39-ish pleats(34 / 7/8) for a total of 117″ (39 * 3″) of skirt. I’ll fudge this and cut out 120″ just to be on the safe side. I’ll probably end up trimming down to 117″.

The guards on the skirt will be attached on top of the wool, tacked and then appliqued down.

(done) Cut out the skirt fabric (120″ x fabric width). I’ll hem it to length later.
(done) Do a simple 1/2″ rolled hem at the top of the skirt fabric.

(done) Just below the rolled hem, attach a cheater strip of gingham.
(done) Pleat the skirt by running a single thread over/under 4 boxes per stitch.

(done) Cut out a piece of wool linen 3″ wide by 38″ long (slightly longer than waist measurement). Fold this to enclose all raw edges and sewed it down. (Ari’s worried about wool on her skin so I’ll do the band out of linen instead. It should be totally hidden on the inside of the bodice when the dress is done)
(done) Add marks 7/8 inches apart.

(done) Tack the top of each skirt pleat at each mark.

(done) After all pleats are tacked to the strip remove pleating string and the cheater strip.
(done)Then work my way around the skirt band and attached the tops of each pleat to the skirt band.

(done) Attach the 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.

(done) Figure out guard width and placement.
(done) Cut out skirt guards.
(done) Line up the fabric pattern and use a hidden applique stitch to make the guards the right length.
(done) Attach the top of the guards to the skirt.
(done) Tack down the bottom of the guards.
(done) Appliqué to finish the guards.
(done) Remove the tack stitch from the bottom of the guards.

(done)Close the dress opening with a french seam.
(not needed) Hand finish the front opening with a rolled hem(???)(waiting on final fitting, see if hem is needed)(it’s highly fulled wool so may not need the opening hemmed).
Add a hook/eye to the front opening.(waiting on final fitting, see if hook/eye is needed)
(done) Hem the bottom of the dress.

(done) Fit Ari for her sleeves.
(done) Make upper part of sleeves.
(done) Make straps.
(done) Make “puffs” and attach to sleeves
(done) Make lower part of sleeves. (including cuff)
(done) Attach sleeves together.
(done) Bind the seams.

Patterning done

A few weeks ago I patterned Ari in some scrap linen.

Tonight I traced Ari’s pattern onto poster board and added seam allowance. All pieces got seam allowance of 1/2 inch on all sides and the placket also got an addition 1 inch on each side to accommodate the overlap.

Now I’ll wash all the dress fabric (which I should have done last week but obviously I never think of that until I’m ready to use the fabric) and measure the front right side of the pattern to find out how long of a lacing strip I need to get. I’ll try to leave work early tomorrow to get the lacing strips.

The goal is to have something for Ari to try on this weekend at Purg (and cross my fingers that she’ll have time to try it on).

HRM Arianwen’s Saxony Dress

Photo by Duchess Megan

Diary started July 28, 2010
Dress Finished: September 30, 2010


Her Royal Highness Arianwen (soon to be Majesty) has expressed Her desire to wear a dress of the court of Saxony at the Tournament to determine Their Heirs. I am please to have been asked to work on this dress for Her.

Details to include:

  • Saxony dress
  • 6 yards of Red Wool. Not sure of guarding/brustflect fabric yet
  • Tight sleeves on the forearms
  • Beaded brustflect and guards
  • Gold Haube (esp to accomodate West Kingdom crown)
  • Schmuckt (the thingy around the neck)
  • Simple high-necked Hemd (it seems to be hidden by the schmuckt)(In discussing the hemd with Ari we decided to go without. The “white” portions of the dress will be linen but will not be a separate garment.)

Inspirational Pictures

Cranach, Lucas the Elder, Portraits of Henry the Pious, Duke of Saxony and his wife Katharina von Mecklenburg c. 1514 Oil on canvas transferred from wood, 184 x 82,5 cm each Gemäldegalerie, Dresden

The Plan

Calling it a plan is too formal. Really it’s a things I’m thinking about list.
– Bodice. On my brown and yellow Saxony dress the false front is sewn into one side of the bodice and laces into the other side. I’m kind of partial to that (since I’ve done it and I know it works).
– False front and Brustflect. Again I’m going to attach the brustflect to the top of a white linen false front. Given how thin the Hemd will be I seriously doubt that’s what’s behind the black stomach lace. This also nicely attaches to the top of the skirt with a short opening on the side for getting in/out of the dress.
– Since I don’t do embroidery/beading I may ask HRM to farm the embellishment of the brustflect/guards out to another interested party. She/They will need to decide on the embroidery style for the frontpiece.
– Black lace below the brustflect. Again I’ll use gold metal rings for this lace. It worked out very well. I may contemplate a different way of tying off the lace though.
– Skirt. My skirts have all be straight. I’m tempted to do a gored skirt for Ari. I’m scared of gored guards though. I’m just not sure how to attach them and get them to line up correctly. Must consider more.
– Goldhaube. Again beads and embroidery. I may ask for this piece to be farmed out as well.
– Schmuckt. I’ve seen these made of femo.. or out of fake metal clay. We’ll need to consider how we want to do this.


– Make sure we have the fabric (outer wool, inner linen, guard fabric) and findings (1 pr lacing strips, gold metal rings, a few hook/eye, 1 white lace, 1 LONG black lace)
– (Done 7/31/2010) Fit Bodice on Ari. (3 piece pattern with square neck and shoulder straps, should end at bottom of her ribs (true waist))
– (Done 8/22/2010) Adjust pattern for Saxony Dress
– (done) Make bodice
– (done) Make skirt
– (done) Make sleeves
Make accessories Their Majesties decided to wear the collars of state with the outfit and Her Majesty decided against wearing a goldhaube.


Woot! Lower sleeves went together very quickly. These have straight “hedgehogs”** unlike the upper sleeves where the top “hedgehogs” followed the curve of the armcye.

All said I think it took 2-3 hours to do both sleeves and to re-do the gold part that goes over my hands. I just need to hand-finish the flat-felled seam and tidy up the seam on the yellow and these will be done.
The more I think about this project the more fiddly things I find that need to be done. *sigh*
Left to do:

  • Attach fake chemise sleeve to the bottom of the upper sleeve and the top of the lower sleeve.
  • Add laces between top and bottom of sleeves
  • Attach the last of the lacing rings. I think I have 3 left.
  • Try on dress and see if I need to add additional hook/eye to the top of the brustfleck.
  • Make hats
  • Finish the last raw seams on the inside of the dress. Bind the arm seams, finish the others (may not happen until after Mists Investiture)

Between Mists Investiture and 12th night:

  • Finish appliqueing the guards and eliminate the butt-ugly topstitching
  • Dye socks into red/white vertical stripes
  • More decoration on the brustfleck
  • Finish beading the caul
  • Possibly embroider on the guards (mmmm black embroider on gold guards)
  • Make a super-thin silk dickie that goes all the way up to my neck.

** Mari taught a class and used three terms to refer to fancy things we do to our sleeves. I’m pretty certain her terms are personal rather than documentable 🙂 Hedgehogs are the little bumps on the sleeves.


It’s not going as quickly now that there’s not an immediate looming deadline.. but it is going. The bodice it now completely attached to the skirt. The part across the front where there is no bodice is attached to a piece of wool and then attached to the bottom of the white placket.

I’m still toying with the idea of leaving the placket out.. but I’m not ready to do that by this next weekend. I’ve added a hook-and-eye to the top of the skirt and have trimmed the skirt (had to remove about 6 inches with the move from pipe-organ pleats to cartridge pleats). This opening is now pinned. I’ve also pinned the upper part of the sleeves into the bodice.
Still to do:

  • Sew the skirt closed with a french seam(leave it open for the last 3-4 inches)
  • Turn and finish the edges around the skirt closure(the last 3-4 inches).
  • Sew on the upper sleeves
  • bind the seams of the sleeves on the inside (may happen after Mists Investiture)
  • Make the bottom half of the sleeves
  • Make a hat

It’s looking pretty good that this will all get done by this weekend.


On Sunday Ysabella had Mari come and teach a class on German’s. Nice class. Lots of pictures. Mostly confimations of things I’d come to understand. The class gave me time to finish with attaching the gold trim. It’s all nice and flat.

On Monday night I ironed and then attached a 100% cotton gingam strip to the top of my skirt. This will be used as a guide for getting the stitches for the cartridge pleats set.
Last night, on the way to Ysabella’s, I stopped at JoAnne’s and got some dark brown button twist thread. I cut a piece about 120″ long and then doubled it up and used it to make the cartridge pleats. The pleats are 2.5″ deep which may end up being too deep.. won’t know until it’s attached. Oh well. If necessary I’ll remove the skirt and reattach it again.
I will end up with about 1″ per pleat (though only 5/8″ of that will actually be attached to the bodice… the pleat bulk takes up about 3/8″ between each pleat). I think I’ll start attaching this tonight. Hmmm, maybe not. I should probably work on the sleeves before I attach the skirt. *sigh*. Yes, it’s easier to attach sleeves to a free bodice. OK.


The sleeves are in two parts.
The top of the sleeve is too long. I think the gold trim needs to be removed and shortened drastically.
The bottom part of the sleeve is too plain. Because of time constraints I made it without any frills. That said, it’s the right length. I’ll need to completely disassemble this and add new wool (with frills) to it. I also didn’t like the way the flair over the wrists worked out. I’ll need to redo that.


Last night I trimmed about 1.5″-1.75″ off the bottom of the bodice all around and then finished that edge. Since I’m going to be attaching cartridge pleats I needed a finished edge. The plan for tonight is to re-attach the gold trim along the front edges of the bodice and to finish all the hand stitching on the trim on the front and the back.


I started the weekend with a finished dress and finished the weekend with a couple of bags of pieces of dress. It’s like a deconstructed german dress 🙂
I tried the dress on and both Edith and Sefa agreed that the bodice needed to be shortened about 2 inches all the way around. I took the dress off and then removed the skirt and sleeves, undid the pleats in the skirt, and removed the guarding from the front of the bodice.
Ideally I’ll have the dress all back together by Mists Investiture (November 11). Brion and Ysabella are stepping up as Prince and Princess of the Mists and they will be wearing Germans.
Current plan:

  1. Attach red/black gingam (that Sefa gave me, thanks Sefa) to the top of the skirt. Fold that over and used the gingam as a guide to make the cartidge pleats.
  2. Shorten the bodice by 1.25-1.5 inches all the way around(follow marks but leave enough fabric to put a finished edge at the bottom of the bodice as the marks)
  3. Finish the bottom edge of the bodice
  4. Re-attach gold trim along the front edge of the bodice so it shows on both the front and the back next to the rings.(prevent the flipping)
  5. Futz with bones as necessary
  6. Attach skirt to bodice

I have 238″ of finished skirt.
The bottom of the bodice is about 49″ around.
I want the tops of each cartridge pleat to be at about 2 squares on the gingam which ends up at about 5/8″. When this is attached to the bottom of the bodice I’ll need to add another 1/8″ to that to account for the bulk between the tops of each pleat. This give me a total of about 3/4″ for each pleat (5/8″+1/8″).
This gives me around 65-66 pleats (49 divided by 3/4″ ) around the bottom of the bodice.
Which means that each pleat needs to be around 3.60″ each (238 divided by 66).
Rounding this, I’ll be using 11 blocks in the gingam as my guide. (each block is around 5/16. 5/16 x 11 = 3.4375 which is as close as I can come in whole blocks to 3.60)