Sunday, December 11, 2011

1840's Dress Progress - The Light At The End of the Tunnel

The sleeves are in, the skirt is gauged and whipped on and all that remains to do is hemming the skirt and adding hooks and eyes for the back closure. 

It is almost done. And I have two weeks until Christmas! I am feeling very virtuous and prepared. 

I had six yards of fabric to work with and I figured that would be plenty. After ripping my skirt panels, however, I was frustrated to find I had a very small amount of fabric left to make my sleeves. I had my heart set on slim fitting bias cut sleeves but it wasn't possible to lay out the sleeve pattern on the fabric and have them fit without piecing the sleeves. I ended up using the sleeve pattern from the 1839-1845 dress from Patterns of Fashion 1, which is cut with a curve at the elbow. The way I had to lay the pattern out, I ended up with sleeves that are straight grain on the top and biasy below the elbow. It's not exactly what I wanted, but it worked. The sleeves are each pieced in five places. I was barely able to scrape out enough fabric to match the stripey pattern for piecing on the visible part of the sleeve. The stripes do NOT match on the underside of the sleeve but if I restrain myself from waving my arms about in the air no one will ever know of the mis-matched pattern there. 

From the tiniest bits of scraps left over I was able to eek out enough bias strips for piping for the sleeves. Every seam on the bodice and the long seams and hem on the sleeves are piped. The skirts come to just above my toes and the bodice fits. Very snugly. But it fits.  

Of course, now that I have *two whole weeks left* I am diving in to making David an 1840's outfit to wear on Christmas too. Fall front trousers, a shawl collar waistcoat and a tailcoat. I think he will look very handsome in the 40's. I know hardly anything about mens 1840's wear but the best way to learn is to just do it, right? 



  1. Beautiful! I just love stopping by when you've finished a new dress. You are blessed with so much talent! :)

  2. It is just lovely! I can't wait to see you in it :) You will be gorgeous.

  3. Hi Sarah,
    Wow the dress is really gorgeous ;) :) I'll bet your hubby will look handsome in 1840s clothes, too :) Love and hugs from the ocean shores of California, Heather :)

  4. The detailing is - despite the mis-matched pattern we'd be none the wiser about, were it not for you telling us - absolutely stunning. I'm a long ways away from actually making anything that beautiful.

    Well done.

  5. Beautiful!!! And piping galore - love it!!!


  6. Don't worry about the sleeves. I'm sure no one will be inspecting your underarms. ;)
    The dress looks very elegant yet comfy.
    I'm using the trial and error method of learning to make clothes myself.
    Its the only way I retain anything I learn.

  7. Sarah, This is simply stunning. Gorgeous!

  8. Absolutely breathtaking! Gorgeous!

  9. i keep trying to think of something intelligent to say and all i can keep coming up with is WOW.... WOW... and oh WOW... :)

  10. I love how the stripes go and how it gives it a great look (:

  11. The workmanship on your clothes is just amazing. The use of stripes really makes this dress stunning to look at, but just looking at the detail images, I'm humbled at how beautiful the workmanship is. And I've been sewing for some 34 years! :)

    Beautiful work!


Thank you for your lovely thoughts!