Tag Archives: Wedding dress

Sense and Sensibility Ladies’ 1780 portrait dress

24 Jan
  • Pattern picture
  • Fabric/trims/notions used
Light floaty cotton voile for main garment; polyester chiffon for the sash; a bit of elastic for the waist
  • Piccie of finished garment

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  • Inspiration (for the garment)
The above pattern picture. I love the fresh simplicity of it.
  • Useful info
There is no length measurements or lengthen/shorten lines. This seems to be normal for Sense and Sensibility patterns, and as someone sadly short-waisted, it drives me nuts.
However, just to drive me more nuts, I didn’t adjust the back-neck-waist at all, and yet, this dress is short in the back. It is long in the front too. How confusing. My suggestion is because there is little-to-no shaping from below the bust down, cut both front and back with plenty of length to spare. Then cut the waist length after checking it on the person. Alternatively, you could do a muslin with just the bodice, the skirt is so simple it doesn’t need one unless you really want to get a specific effect of fullness or lack of fullness.
(This dress was my muslin! I am into Wearable Muslins 🙂
The extra gathering at the front in this style is not necessary. Only a small amount – at most 5cm total at the front would be enough. So the effect is overly bouffy. More so than the picture suggests. However, it is rather nice, in a non-modern, non-showing the figure off kinda way. Comfy.
The “racer-back” style is really funky! And very comfortable too.
I simply put elastic into the waistband. Much easier and comfortable. If I made this dress again I would probably trial elastic in the neck too. I didn’t with this dress and it was quite hard to get the right amount of  gather around the neck. Elastic would be a LOT easier.
As you can see, I am not a Purist. I am sure those ladies in 1780s would have used elastic if they’d had it ;-P
Ok, only relevant to people in hot climates. The sash is HOT!!! And the voile was so light I needed a voile underskirt too. Thus this dress turned out as a wear around the home without sash and underskirt kinda dress. Or, with sash and underskirt, a Special Occasion where I will be in cold airconditioning most of the time kinda dress.
Previous posts:
  • Cost
Pattern: $15.95, postage $10
Fabric: 3m voile @ $8pm = $24
Elastic and thread from stash.
Underskirt cut from an op-shop find – $3
Total: $52.95. Heh, if I get my mental arithmetic wrong one day, feel free to correct me! (I will say here and now I am slightly dyslexic and it shows up most when working with numbers. Using a calculator instead of my own brain won’t fix that.)
  • Last word

This was a trial of a possible wedding dress. Well it did its job. I don’t like it!!! ARGH!!! I like the dress, ok, fine. Actually apart from the short back and long front bodice, it is really lovely to wear. So long as I am in airconditioning.

However, it is … froufrou. The skirt in particular. Wide and soft and floaty. And that is only in cotton voile. The thought of it in a slithery silk just … no. No no no.

I am seriously considering just getting married in a sack. I’ve discussed this with my fiancĂ© and he said so long as I was legally covered up so didn’t get arrested and carted off mid-ceremony, he really doesn’t care what I wear.

Good thing we’ve not set a serious date yet. Could be a good few years yet before I work out what I want to wear.

Wedding dresses aside, this is a really nice dress!

Wedding dress trial – Ladies’ 1780 Portrait Dress bodice

8 Jun

Further to this post discussing the wedding dress trial, here is an update.

The bodice, all made up but no gathering or finishing off.


The bodice back, showing the seam detailing highlighted by flat-fell seams. The waist sits unevenly but I think it is because it is so light. It is likely to sit properly when  it has the weight of the skirt pulling down on it evenly, so I made no adjustments


The following pictures are 2 sash options. Top is a lovely light blue that brings a daytime freshness to it. Bottom is the darker one, that lends itself to a more evening look. The colours in the pictures are awful *sigh* I hope I can get better ones with the finished dress. I have no idea if each one will work. It is hard to visualise them in the finished dress for some reason. I figure if they don’t, I can go get another few options from the fabric store 😛





Wedding dress trial run – Ladies’ 1780 Portrait Dress

25 May

After umming and ahing and a few last-minute panics about it all, I’ve decided to do a trial run of the wedding dress. Why?

Well I am a bit uncertain about the neckline for the Ladies’ portrait dress. I want to wear a single pearl pendant. I think it will need a lower neckline than the pictures of the dress look to be.

  • Can I simply cut the neckline a bit lower? Will it work that way? Or will it just look silly? or not work?
  • Should I consider making a modified version of the style designed to go over the period underpinnings, so that the neckline isn’t gathered, and I can cut it in a low V?
  • Should I simply take the idea of the dress and create a hybrid with my original wedding dress pattern bodice and the skirt of the ladies’ portrait dress?

See what I mean? Panic!

Solution: A trial run so I have a great excuse to go buy some of the gorgeous voile available at Spotlight at the moment to sort it out. Yes. Of course!

I settled on this fabric. (It is not only beautiful, but was on special. The normal price for this range is very high. Meep. The shadows on the background are the pattern showing through from the fabric under – it was folded when I took this picture)

Tracing off the pattern went without a hitch. I traced off a size 16, making the sleeves an inch wider than the pattern because my upper arms tend to be bigger than patterns allow for. It’s a fairly loose sleeve anyway but comfort is a Good Thing!

The skirt is simply two widths of fabric, cut to the required length, and sewn together. Easy.

The top is the same as the version requiring period underpinnings, but the gathered front has been expanded out another 8 or so inches, then gathered at the top and bottom. Easy. I mean really easy. I am a bit concerned though, that there is too much fabric in the expanded section in the top. Good thing I am making a trial!

The funniest bit came when I went to sew the underarm seam on the sleeve. The sleeves are an odd shape, to fit the unusual “racer back” style of the back.

The polonaise option, showing clearly the unusual back and sleeve detailing common to all garments in this pattern.

The sleeve pattern piece is kinda squarish. I managed to sew one just fine. The second one I somehow sewed the wrong sides together. I didn’t notice till, pressing the seam, I spent 5 minutes trying to work out why I had an elbow dart in one sleeve and a shoulder dart in the other. Oops!

I ❀ my unpicker! (See, wasn’t this a great excuse to get that voile? it a great idea to do this trial run?)

The bodice is almost done now, just the neck to go. I have been tossing up whether to do a ruffle around the neck and sleeves like in the picture below (one of the portraits this pattern was based on). I think I would like the ruffle on the wedding dress, so perhaps I should give that bit a trial run too.

However… I am running out of extra fabric to play with.

Should I…

  • Ditch the ruffle idea because it really is tacky but I just hadn’t noticed?
  • Go buy some more of the same fabric for the ruffle
  • Go buy some fabric for the sash (which I haven’t got yet) and make the ruffles out of that too?

Please, what do you all think?

A wedding dress (my own) pt 1

6 May

I wonder how many posts I will get up to on my wedding dress by the time it is all over and done with?

Not to mention there are the bridesmaid’s dresses, the flower-girl dresses, and the page-boy outfits. And my fiancee has (I am shocked) graciously agreed to wear a shirt with some romantic-style ruffles and laces. Yes! I am making the most of this unusual agreeableness to non-Aussie-blokey Non-kiwi-blokey styling while I have it!

Speaking of my fiancee, he reads my blog. He has long been one of my closest fashion/sewing consultants. (“Yes, dear, it would look beautiful with that trim.” “Oh, well, dear, if you really love that fabric, you had better buy it then.” “Actually, you are right, dear, a sewing shed would be fantastic for you, of course we can get you one.” * )

In short it is all too hard to hide The Dress from him. After discussion we settled on me talking and sticking up pictures to my heart’s content, but I can’t let him see the final dress till our wedding day. No worries!

Enough of this talk. The pictures, the pictures!

My original dress idea: Vogue 2788

Such a gorgeous dress.

Ok, the Plans for this dress were: no train; the lovely little capped sleeves in chiffon; a chiffon overskirt edged in the same lace as the neckline, ruched up a few inches into scallops around the hem, the ruching fastened with little blue flowers.

There were two problems, namely that although I would wade in and make this dress with confidence, when I got the fabric I found the metres of slithery delicate satin silk terrifying slightly intimidating. In short, I doubted my technical ability to pull it off, and figure a dress this important reeeelly isn’t the time to extend myself too much. (I want to enjoy my wedding day, not be overwhelmingly frazzled by sewing-stress)

The other problem is, even with the modifications, this style just seemed a little too formal and sophisticated for my personality. (I do try to be relatively sensible and all-growed-up, but am not that great at it.)

One day I was checking out Sensibility.com (as you do ;-P) and realised she had finally finished this pattern for adult women. (She has long had a girl’s version).

It was an instantaneous and totally heartfelt decision. THIS is the dress I want. I ordered it within the hour. It has the added bonus that the flower girls (my daughter and my niece, the new mothers of the jemima dolls) can be in the matching girl’s pattern. (I reckon I could also make two matching Flower Dolly dresses too 😉

Btw, I recommend clicking on the photo which will take you to the website, where you can see some of the paintings that inspired these dresses. But for a sneak preview, this is my absolute fave 🙂

*This seemingly wonderful (if foolhardy) comment came about from a total mis-match of our concept of “sewing shed”. Mine was a huge, airconditioned, fully-powered shed with wide windows overlooking a gorgeous view, letting in lots of natural light; a soft-but-not-carpet floor covering so I wouldn’t lose pins but my feet wouldn’t get sore; floor to ceiling storage, and filled with every kind of machine and paraphernalia and cutting tables any seamstress could possibly want.

His version was one of those tiny little cupboard-style zincalume sheds you can stick the fertalizers and a few brooms in…

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