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July, 2013

  1. 1700’s Style Dress – Formal or Costume

    July 10, 2013 by mom

    Formals old and new_edited-1

     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.

     

    pattern

    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.

     

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    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.

     

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    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.

     

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    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.

     

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    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.

     

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    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.

     

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    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.

     

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    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.

     

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    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.)

     

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    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.

     

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    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.