Wednesday, July 1, 2015

The Archery Practice Dress

Now that she's home from camp my little sister has been very excited to continue practicing one of her favorite activities from camp, archery, while wearing one of her new dresses.

The dress is one she has been waiting for. I had this fabric in my stash. My sister loved it and requested a dress made from it a couple months ago. I was finally able to get started on this dress while she was at camp.

From this fabric I wanted to make a her a fan-front dress like this one from 1840. It's at the MET museum, and I found a picture of it on pinterest. 

Now I didn't have a pattern that in any way resembled this dress, so I had to get creative. I used this pattern as my starting point..

It worked out pretty well!

To make the fan front I hand gathered/cartridge pleated the bodice. The original dress had long sleeves, but I knew that just wouldn't work for summer so I made the sleeves half-length and added a ruffle. I've seen similar sleeves on other fan-front dresses for children.

The bodice went together easily and I ran into no issues. That is until I finished it. I had my sister put it on for the first time. Then I discovered that she had grown since I last used that pattern. There was no way that the bodice would button, and I had absolutely no fabric left over.

So I had to add a panel of black fabric in the back, but at least it fits now! I might need to add a couple more growth tucks though, as the skirt is longer than it's supposed to be. 

Was the fitting frustration worth it? Yes, it was. My sister is pretty pleased with her new dress, and I can't say I'm disappointed with the overall look.  Making the fan-front bodice was actually great practice for a dress I plan on making myself later this summer. I've got several historical sewing projects planned, and now that my sister's summer wardrobe is finished I'm excited to get more into historical sewing!

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