Everaftercostumes.com does a good overview of the dress so if you're interested in this dress, I would start there like I did.

Here are my notes on construction.  For a reason I cannot remember I thought about lacing this dress up the back.  When I draped the pattern and cut the fabic, I planned for this using two side back seams.  I changed my mind, but kept the seams in the same place because I think they're slimming.  I ended up placing the lacing at the sides so the bodice could expand or contract as I grew or shrank.  I figured this lacing would hardly ever be seen under my arms. 

The bodice also has the front lacing, which is obviously a major feature of this dress.  Orginally I thought this dress should be heavly boned so that I could wear it without a corset.  I tried it this way and the fit was flat and unflattering, which certainly would just not do!

It wasn't until 2009 that I had the chance to get a 2nd try at this dress.  The plan was to wear it to the Northstar Victorian Society's Masquerade Ball, which gave me an excuse to spend some time on it.  I started researching my options for support and revisited Jen Thompson's article on Hemp Cording and decided this was the right answer for me. 

I started by using the pattern I'd orginally made for the bodice, and added some width the the straps (I thought my straps were too thin on the orginal bodice). Then during a trial of the mock-up for the corded corset, I realized I might not need the cording after all, and since I'm pressed for time, anything I can do to eliminate work will help.  So, I cut the pieces for the underbodice and sewed them together.  I made the outside layer from the same sateen I had made the dress.  I did this knowing the underbodice would be worn directly under the dress and that this would sort of camouflage the side lacing and visually widen the outer bodice's straps that I orginally cut too thin, especially if I trimmed it the same.  

I opted for handbound eyelets since I am relying on this garmet for support and I didn't want to chance that metal grommets would eventually move or rip.  My eyelets turned out pretty ugly, but it's okay...I hope no one else minds either.  Also, because I spaced the eyelets too far initially, I ended up adding one line of cording on each side of the openings.  When this didn't fix the problem I added more eyelets.  I left enough (I hope) excess fabric in the same allowance so that if I decide to cord this in the future, I can just let the seams out. 

I repleating the skirt and had some issues, somehow one fabric panel was longer than the other because though I pleated it identically it didn't match up in the end.  I cut the extra fabric out and resewed the skirt. 

Leave a Reply.