Blue Linen Dress Re-Do

So I’ve begun taking apart the light blue linen t-tunic type dress that was given me. I didn’t take picture of it while assembled but it was the basic pattern that many people use when they start out, located here.

The front of the dress.

I have so far removed the sleeves and widened the arm opening so now it somewhat resembles the final product: a sideless surcoat. The picture to the left is the front of this troublesome garment. Right off the bat you can see that the shoulders are odd and the hem is funk to say the least.

Below and to the right you can see the back of dress and the right shoulder seam pointing off into space. This problem is because the shoulder seams were an attempt at a flat felled seam. The previous owner didn’t have a serger and so tried to make the garment last longer by using this seam method. It didn’t work out so well… Part of the reason is that it wasn’t a true flat fell seam, just an attempt at one. There’s a lot of extra material in that shoulder seam that shouldn’t be there. It’s one of the things I’m going to have to re-do before the dress is wearable.

The back of the dress with shoulder points.

The other thing that is going to have to go is the hem. From these two images if the odd hem isn’t evident I have a better picture below. The hem is longer on the sides than front and back and the only way I see to fix it is to chop it evenly and add a border. Over all I think it will all work out rather well and I may even be able to wear it while pregnant, provided that I don’t get any bigger!

The exceedingly uneven hem.

My goal for this dress is to turn it into a side laced “sideless” surcoat. I’ve seen it worn at a couple of events and in an old pattern book of mine for theater costumes. I’m not sure how period it is but I like how it looks and will allow for my expanding waistline without making it hang oddly which is a problem I’m experiencing with one of my earlier surcoats. I have a dark blue linen that’s approximately the same weight which I will use to border the hem and add to the sides. I’m planning on spiffing up the seams where the new material meets the old with a custom made bias tape of a cotton gold upholstery fabric that I picked up from JoAnn’s a while back.

I wish I had the time to make my own trim for this but I only have a nine foot inkle loom and I would have to warp the same pattern twice to make enough for this dress. I also simply don’t have the time. Not with a three year old and a baby due in November! I try to go for non-metallic store-bought trim when I want to add something with more “oomph” than just some bias tape or piping. I play in the SCA for fun not a period perfection headache. Would I like to be more period? Sure! I’m not going to let authenticity or lack thereof make me miss out on something I love to do. Okay, enough ranting now!

I’ve drafted the side piece that I want to add and I have the bias tape mostly made up. I’m hoping that tomorrow I can take pictures of both and add them to the post. It all depends on how much I get done on the daily to-do list around the house!

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Categories: Sideless Surcoat | Leave a comment

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