Em’s Party Part 1

This year, inspired by a school topic on the Great Fire of London and Horrible Histories on CBBC, Em has requested a Charles II themed party. Preparations are now well underway, and so I found myself sat at the kitchen table last week, pondering on how to adapt a witches costume pattern to a restoration style dress.

I knew the witch costume was do-able, as I’d made that dress for H some 9 years ago.

Witch Hannah
W Staples 2003

Here she is wearing it, being all mean and witchy.

The bodice design was easy to adapt.  I simply changed the angle of the ribbon detailing and added a triangular lace overlay. Unfortunately, in my haste I forgot to add an allowance for the seam joining the bodice to the skirt, hence the rather cut off triangle shape.

copyright W Staples 2012

The original witches dress design had overlay over all of the skirt, but after a quick look at some google images and my history books I decided to leave a front opening with the overlay as this seemed to be the prevailing style.  After a bit of searching around the house for a suitable circle shaped something with which to adapt the pattern, I settled on our lounge rug!

Full sleeves are, as yet, a bit beyond my abilities, so I decided to keep the original sleeve pattern, but substitute the original full sleeve overlay for a gathering of the overlay material at the end of the sleeves.  This was more in keeping with the style of the period, if not completely authentic as the sleeve shape itself wasn’t quite right.

Then Em suddenly brought out this dress…

image copyright W Staples 2012

I realised that if I did a simple dart then I could get the puffiness I was after in the sleeve like this….

Sleeve Detail
copyright W Staples 2012

After that, it was a simple job of sewing the hems on the skirt and putting it altogether.

Emily wearing her finished dress
Copyright W Staples 2012

Now, sewing is a hobby for me. It’s one which I enjoy, but I’m not very proficient in, especially when comparing myself to such great friends as LoveHector, Housley & Co., HWR Designs and KittyEden. But I had a go.  All in all the dress took me around 8-10 hours to make, and was a fabulous distraction from H’s exams.  Em was very pleased with the finished dress, and really, that’s what it’s all about, isn’t it?