November 22, 2011

more Little Women: Amy

A Sweet Dress for Amy

This dress had the odd set-up of a (worn-out) velcro closure on the front, and a (broken) zipper on the back.  Let's just say, it was pretty hard to wear in its original state.  I took off the old velcro and closed the front seam.  I replaced the zipper in back.

Then, it came to restyling the dress more in keeping with 1860s fashion.  I took off the lace.  I took off the sleeve cuffs.  I found a super good match in a remnant fabric.

I cut the bottom edges of the sleeves so they hang evenly without the gathering and cuffs, shortening them by about 2" at the center line of the sleeve, and angling to nothing at the underarm seam.  I figured out what I wanted to do by standing in front of the mirror while wearing one sleeve (the dress is too small for me to actually put on), and playing around with the shape.  There isn't enough fabric in the original sleeves to make them a totally authentic shape, but hopefully they give the general impression.

Then I made the under sleeves, using the sleeve pattern from a nightgown.  They are attached to the seam allowances of the armhole.  A Google image search for 1860s dresses and styles will show you many examples of the layered sleeves that were popular at this time.

I made a collar, using directions from a great book:  Patterns for Costume Accessories, by Arnold Levine and Robin McGee.

I chose a round collar (the Peter Pan collar pattern which I altered to have soft corners at the front), but it needed to go over a square neckline.  So it actually is tacked on where possible, mostly towards its bottom edge, with the top edge pretty much in mid-air, just closing around the actress's neck. 

Here's how it looks on the inside, showing how the collar fills in the squared neckline.

I also made a new sash, and chose a little lace to edge the collar and sleeves.  And, here is Amy.

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