This pattern can be found at TheSewingAcademy.org This review is for an entry in the Fabric Stash contest (June-July 2013). Most of my stash fabric is for 1860s Victorian costuming. My children and I demonstrate civilian life of the period at local museums. This skirt and Swiss waist (fancy belt) are for the impression of a young lady of an upper class family and are to be worn over a cage style skirt support (hoop) with at least two petticoats.
The skirt was made according to HMP/SA 250: Girls' Dresses. The Swiss waist and bow are self drafted.
I only used the instruction for the skirt for this outfit. No actual pattern pieces are needed. Just follow the book's instructions on constructing the skirt at the proper length.
Were the instructions easy to follow? This pattern has a booklet that comes with it that walks you through the process of making a historically accurate dress for any little girl. There is a table for calculating fabric needs for your chosen style. There are an infinite variety of styles to make with the addition of trim.
What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? There is nothing that I dislike about this pattern. I have been using it for the last 3 years and have made each of my girls 2 outfits per year from it. No two dresses are the same. From this base pattern you can recreate any girl's dress from the 1850s-1860s.
The skirt was made from 2.5 yards of a beautiful wool/silk blend that I purchased last year from Fabric.com. It has a vertical navy stripe and a dark gold/brown horizontal stripe over a gold ground. The Swiss waist and bow were made from 1/2 yard of 100% silk in navy. I also used about 1/2 yard of utility muslin as a hem facing and lining for the waistband.
Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
For this skirt I simply left off the bodice portion of the dress. It is made of 2 full panels of 60" fabric and another panel of 30" for a hem circumference of just less than 150". The hem facing is made from 4" strips of 45" natural cotton muslin. The fabric is pleated into the waistband using the divide and conquer method. You mark the skirt fabric at center front, center back and at each side. You then match up the skirt marks with their matching marks on the waistband and you just fiddle with it until you have it pleated evenly the way that you want it. :D
For the Swiss waist I simply cut the shape that I wanted from some sew-in interfacing (this is not a period correct construction for the 1860s), added boning at the front to keep the points from curling, added cotton muslin for the backing and then stitched the silk on the front.
The bow is simply made of two 8" lengths of 57" silk sewn together at the ends to make a very long strip. That strip was then folded in half (so you have 4" by 113.5") and sewn. Pull the tube right side out and stitch the ends closed. Then just tie a nice large bow in the center, tack it to the Swiss waist and let the ends hang down the side of the skirt.
Would you sew it again?
I will continue to sew with this pattern. I use this pattern to make each of my girl's two new dresses a year. There is no reason to use any other pattern when you own this one.
Would you recommend it to others?
Yes!!!! If your daughter wants to look like those pretty girls in the fashion plates of the 1860s, this is the pattern for you. You can dress just about any girl from age 2 - 14 with this one pattern.
I love this pattern! My girls love the dresses that I make using this pattern. You can see more of the dresses I have made from it on my historic sewing blog.