Friday, August 9, 2013

Kristen: Civil War Wrapper

While I might not have mentioned it here, during the Charlton Park reenactment I borrowed Becky's wrapper. I liked it, very very much. So in a blind fit of raging jealousy, I made my own.

I used the Laughing Moon #118, which you can order here through their website. I then searched through as many originals, looking for the colors that seemed "right." I really wanted red and blue with some sort of paisley, and I almost gave up until I found this:

Yes, I believe that Barbara Brackman is a genius of textiles. I have loved every single thing she has posted, and would gladly empty my wallet for a few more dress lengths. So far, I ordered 3 yards for $10.75 each, and did not use all of it. Then I purchased 7 yards of a plain blue cotton brocade, pre-washing everything. When I opened the pattern, I thought the hard part of this was over. Guess again.

While the picture is a bit fuzzy, it can't mask the fact that these "instructions" took up half of the floor! I was immediately overwhelmed and did something else for an hour. When I returned, I was prepared for battle. I pored over what appeared to be complicated drawings, and in reality, there are just a million ways to position the pattern pieces for cutting. I cut the pieces a bit larger, and figured it would fit together a bit like this:
At this point I stopped paying as close attention to the directions and started with instinct. Here was my main process.

1. Wash everything (this might seem like a "duh," but at one time I didn't do this)

2. Cut pieces (I only lined the back bodice to keep it light)

3. Make piping for armscye, neckline, and cuff.

4. Roll in bodice at waisteline.

5. Gauge skirt then attach to bodice.
6. Treat Bodice/skirt as one piece, attach side fronts to both sides (Open armscye more).

7. Attach piping.

8. Attach sleeves.

9. Put on contrasting print (I just put it over the blue, with a slight gap)
10. Voila! Dress

I made Stephanie model it for me at our Port Sanilac event. I wore it for a bit, but was nervous about the mud. Note the pretty little belt! I made that by folding over extra blue fabric and stitching a section of the paisley that I liked. It really popped!

As for my recommendations for this pattern (that worked for me):
1. Open up armscye. I like my things comfortable.
2. Raise waist a bit. It's a little long. 
3. Take a little off the total circumference of the hem (at the front piece).

So there you have it! After wearing my wrapper, I'm totally wondering why it took me so long to make one. The total time on this project was about 4 days, the cost about $40 + the pattern. If you're going to do this, totally buy the pattern. It worked for me.

Has anyone else tried this pattern? Did you need to make modifications? Do you like the colors I picked?

~Kristen

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