This is a gown that I have made twice. The first was a formal. I made it out of Poly-Satin and another light-weight wedding fabric. The second was a costume made out of a Water Back Poly-Satin and Drapery fabric.
What I love about this dress is that it fits more than one size because you tighten the lacing on the sides to make it fit. It does have a zipper in the back to make it easy to get in and out of.
The pattern is an older pattern (Simplicity 8623). It has a 1999 date on the envelope. I did what the pattern said to do for the most part . . . okay, I use the instructions as suggestions more than instructions.
I had to lengthen the dress 3 1/2 inches. Because the bottom of the skirt was straight I was able to use a wide ruler to lengthen it, so it went quickly.
I was taught to save fabric whenever possible. When the skirt part of the dress was narrower than the fabric I folded down the fabric to make it the width that I needed, and measured from the fold to the shorter salvage across the fabric making sure it was the same distance.
The front of the gown was too low cut for me so I raised it for both the fabric and interfacing lining pattern. The pattern calls for a short interfacing and lining. I didn’t like it because the bodice fabric I used was light weight and you could tell there was a shorter fabric behind it. So I made the fabric, interfacing and lining out of the “Bodice Front” pattern and sewed it together to make it one piece of fabric. It made for a smoother front of the dress I thought.
This is the ribbon and lace that I used. I bought it at Hobby Lobby at half price. The ribbon and lace on a spool seam go on sale once a moth.
The flounce part (the hanging part) of the sleeve I cut the fabric and made an interfacing with the same fabric as the skirt and front part of the dress. I didn’t make an interfacing with the formal dress because the fabric was a lot the same on both sides. The drapery fabric back was not as pleasing to look at. Hanging the way the sleeve does I thought it would look a lot nicer with the Water Back Satin to look at.
I sewed the lace to the front side of the flounce part of the sleeve. I kept it pinned down so it wouldn’t pop up or move when I sewed the lining to it. I just sewed around the curved part of the sleeve.
I then flipped it around with the right sides of the fabric on the outside and the lace sticking out. I top stitched as close to the edger as possible around the whole flounce part of the sleeve to make it one piece of fabric. I did pin it all in place before I sewed it.
I put seam binding around the neck part of the costume dress, mainly because I felt it would be a bit too scratchy and uncomfortable without it. I sewed it down on both sides of the seam binding to hold it in place. (The picture shows with and without the seam binding.)
I made sure the seam of the skirt was going upward all around the skirt and on the sleeve where the flounce is attached. I then top-stitched. It really helps to keep the things in place.
I also did a top stitch on the side over skirts. I think it helps make the lace lay flat and the top skirt as well.
I don’t think I did anything else different from what the pattern suggests. These are things that I did to make the 1700’s style dress look the best I could make it. And it has worked well as either a formal dress to wear to the prom or as an elegant costume to wear to the party. I hope these ideas help you with projects you are doing or want to do. They might not be the best way to do it, but they work for me and I hope they work for you too.