Fitted Gown: 5/14/2011– Purple Linen with Button Down Front

May 14, 2011 at 11:14 am (Finished Projects, For Myself, Sewing and Garb)

This post is mainly for my own purposes so I have notes of the pattern and the fabric.  I have been making these gowns long enough that I tend to use a hybrid system of drafting a pattern from my current favorite gown that fits and then re-fitting each new gown once the panels are sewn together.  I have found that I am almost never able to sew the gown entirely from a pattern, as my size and the flexibility of each fabric varies enough that a pattern does not yield a fully supportive gown.  However, I do not need to start with a gown from scratch each time, either, as a basic pattern is sufficient as long as I leave enough seam allowance at the back and the sides to really play with the fit when assembled.

If you are looking for information on how to fit these gowns and make your own pattern, I highly recommend both: by Mistress Mathilde Bourette who taught me this technique

and which is also amazing and has a fabulous comparison of straight vs. curved front seams.

I have found that gowns with a straight front seam provide a more consistent fit for me personally, but I think it depends on your body type as to which you may prefer.  I do cut a wider arm hole with my gowns to pull some of the strain off of my shoulders, as well, and so I think that helps especially when using a straight front pattern.

Used pattern from yellow cotton, which was roughly drafted from black wool gown (current favorite of my self supportive fitted gowns) Top of sides were altered to be a little higher to allow more space for sleeves if needed.

Pattern has 1.5 inches seam allowance added to it, but based on mock-up, gown should be sewn with 1 inch seam and then fitted after to be supportive (sewing with 1.5 inches barely fits, so with lacing and fitting, 1 inch should work)

Pattern has no gores, but front and back gores should be added. (Sides gores are accounted for with the extra width built into each panel of the skirt) Gores are cut from 1 yard square piece.

Fabric used: Purple Linen

Thread for hem and buttonholes: Purple Silk


The arm holes are a little too large, particularly under the arm— tried making a paper pattern to improve for the next gown, but once the sleeves were in for this one, it worked out okay.

The hand done buttonholes have ended up looking a little… rough.  I had not noticed before that there is actually a little lighter purple woven into the linen, and it comes out a good deal on the buttonholes, making them look almost calico.  From a distance, they look fine, and when it matters, they will be covered with buttons, but is very frustrating to assess while sewing them!

Update:  I wore this gown for the first time at Vinland Raids on June 16th, and although it still needs to have the hems finished, it worked very well.  The neckline is a little low, and the hem is a little short, but this was easily fixed by pairing it with a teal long sleeved lace front gown that I already had.  I unfortunately did not get any photos, but I will be sure to take some at the next event.


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