Sunday, October 10, 2010

McCalls 6141

Now the kids aren't the only ones ready for Halloween and the Renaissance Fair!
Of course, I had to show it off on the dress form...  As several of you have noted, she is as yet nameless.  I'm thinking of having a giveaway to name her.  What say you?
Anyway, the dress - the pattern is McCalls 6141, most clearly a costume pattern, but with reasonable construction.  The bodice and sleeves are lined.  I thought about lining the skirt but that is A LOT of skirt and I was afraid it would get hot.  The sleeve lining is actually both lining and stay for the big upper puffs.  The most interesting part of the constructions was the modesty panel. I was expecting to do some crazy clipping and curve matching, but instead you leave the bodice and lining unsewn over that section of the neckline, press under the allowance and topstitch the panel in.  I've seen this done with curved yokes on vintage patterns, and it works great, particularly when, like with this pattern, you are adding trim on top.
Here it is on me.  The only alterations I made were the FBA and adding 1 1/2 inches to the hemline at CF to go over the belly.  Otherwise is was a surprisingly good fit.  I sewed the size small, which the pattern claims corresponds to an 8-10.  I generally sew a 10, so as long as you are looking at the larger size of the range, it is reasonably sized.  As I mentioned, there is A LOT of skirt, so there was plenty of room for the belly in there without any width adjustment.
Here is the bodice and sleeve a little closer up.  I love the trim at the bottom of the sleeve puff, but I think the satin doesn't have quite the body to keep it from collapsing and hiding the pretty trim.  I'm wondering if a little sleeve head to hold up the puff would help here.  It's too late now for me, but should you find yourself in need of a maternity costume, you'll know...  The ribbons on the sleeve represent the only hand sewing I found necessary for this dress.  The pattern instructs you to slipstitch down the bodice lining, but I really didn't see the point, since the trim is topstitched over that seam.  I just let the stitching for the trim do that work for me.
The back closure is with lacings.  I think this is their nod to authenticity.  Anyway, it is pretty, but a huge pain to get in and out of.  I can see why they needed a servant to get dressed!  It also tends to pull open right at the empire seam.  I think I'll add a hook and eye there, just to keep things covered.  Otherwise it stays in place surprisingly well.  There is a generous underlap so things don't peek out at all.
While I think this is more of a Regency inspired style, rather than medieval or Renaissance, I still like it, and am looking forward to wearing it.  It's not my most flattering style - I feel like it makes me look more wide than I am, but at the moment, I am!  The Wee Professor is getting big.
Here is my problem.  I need shoes!  As you can see, I hemmed it for a reasonable (2-3 inch) heel, as that is what I always wear.  Anyone have any bright ideas for shoe styles?  And color???  Should I even try to match that purple, or would gold be fun?  Mitch suggested black, but I don't think that will do at all.  I often see boots on the ladies at the Faire...  What do you think?


  1. I think the question is "What think ye?". With that much skirt will anyone see the shoes? Not trying to be a spoilsport! I'd go the comfort route, paying attention to the location of Thee Faire, which in my very limited experience, usually was held in a field.

    What a well dressed clan you'll be!

  2. Wow, that turned out great! Enjoy the renaissance fair!

  3. It came out great!

    I would do boots. I always did boots when we went to the fair partly because the terrain was pretty rough. I had some cute, leather dress boots that I wore with long skirts and they worked great. Just needed a little clean-up after the festivities.

  4. What a great job you have done with this - it looks amazingly authentic and very lovely! I think gold shoes would be beautiful but Wellington boots would probably be more practical.

  5. Super cute!! I love that you made this! BTW, they probably wore black shoes back in the day?? I vote for comfort - with that knock out dress no one will be looking down:)

  6. It is an excellent costume.
    I vote for boots too - goes with the field, if not the dress!

  7. awesome! it looks wonderful. the purples really work so nicely with that pattern!

  8. Lady Katie,you are gorgeous !!!

  9. Great job on the dress! My personal shoe preference would be heals. For practical reasons I would chose boots though.

    Enjoy the fair!

  10. Beautiful! You did such a lovely job on this dress and I especially love the back (even if it is a pain to get in and out of). :)