How to remake a dress like THEY did!

I have, in my collection of dresses, a lovely sheer based on this dress:

alteration5

The dress is an 1840’s style fan front.  The only thing I did differently was to make it a stright waist instead of a point, and to make it a V-neck:

alteration4

This now places it in the 50’s. But, the problem is, I reenact the War years. So I need to bring the dress into the 60’s. We start with this:

alteration6

Then, we take the piping off the lower front edge, detach the sleeves, and unpick the shoulder seam. The bodice front needs to be re-cut and a different sleeve style needs to be attached. Here’s what it looks like after ripping:

alteration3

Next step is to re-fit the bodice. This time, I only want a couple pleats instead of a fan front. So I resew the shoulder seam so the bodice front comes into it flat instead of gathered, and then fit the pleats over my corseted figure. Next, I reattach the piping on the lower edge of the bodice, and, until I can find a sleeve style I like better, I attach the lower sleeve of the original incarnation (a bishop) right into the armseye. This is the finished result once the bodice is re-attached to the skirt:

alteration7

Much more 60’s style! These are the pieces I didn’t use that will be saved for future alterations (I’d like to find an open sleeve style with maybe some ruffles at the edge later)

alteration8

So you see, if made correctly, a period dress can be easily altered for another decade, or a larger or smaller size, just as our foremothers did!

Published on May 7, 2009 at 2:36 pm  Leave a Comment  

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