29 May 2013

Quick, to the OR! Can this dress be saved?

The summer camping season is upon us! Which means it'd be nice to actually have a week's worth of medieval clothes. That don't involve trailing hems. Or coat-weight wool. Or any of the other lovely-yet-impractical things that I so enjoy. So it was time to dig through all the simpler stuff that hasn't been needed for a while (years, in my case), and see what still works and what doesn't.

Firmly in the "doesn't work" camp was a particolor cote in the late 14th to early 15th century style. It was not the first, but close to the first thing I made after joining the SCA, and definitely the first dress I made on this (drafted) pattern. It was never perfect, but it was serviceable. For instance, it's not lined or reinforced, even for the lacing, and so although it's in no danger of ripping out, it does pull and gap rather than laying flat. A bigger problem, though, was the shoulders. Blame archery, I guess, but my arms and shoulders are bigger than they used to be, and I basically couldn't move my arms forward with this dress the way it was.

I had saved enough scraps of both fabrics from this dress that I was pretty sure I could re-engineer the thing, so I set out on sleeve reconstruction surgery. This works better as a series of photos with commentary in the description:

The starting point: left, right
The existing fit problems: front, back
Re-cutting the armscye: start, middle, end, laid flat
Final shoulder seam adjustment: more angle
Replacement sleeve: test, pattern, front, back

Or just look at the whole set here.

I think this was a complete success, and I just have a few raw edges to finish now before it's completely done!

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