August 7, 2008

Historical Dress – Bodice

Filed under: sewing — Tags: , , , , , , , — Lady M Quilts @ 6:58 pm

The pattern for the historical dress I’m making for my friend’s daughter is Simplicity 3723.  Here is the best picture of the envelope I could find when my camera batteries croaked.  The basis for this particular dress is View D, the yellow floral.

There were several alterations requested.  First, eliminate the scarf.  Second, make the neckline appropriate and modest for a young woman.  Third, make the sleeve cuff less full. 

Before I started the dress, I ended up watching a few hours of Little House on the Prairie with my children.   I looked carefully at the dresses…hoping to glean some ideas, but unsure of the accurateness of 1970’s Hollywood designers portrayal of 1800’s fashion.  I also did some Internet research, but quickly got overwhelmed with the many different styles.

So I prayed and then carefully traced the bodice pattern pieces, adding a bit here and there and started putting it all together.  I added an inch to each side of the bodice, to cover more of the shoulders.  I cut the bodice center insert on the bias, for two reasons.  First, I thought it would look pretty and two, I wouldn’t have to match up the plaid.  I added a muslin trimming, accented with a brown ribbon, to raise the neckline.   I slimmed the sleeve cuffs, cut them on the bias to match the bodice insert, and repeated the muslin & ribbon accenting.  Put the whole thing together and put it on my dress form, Julia, left.


You can just see the muslin trimming above the brown ribbon.  It was obvious to me that there would still be too much skin showing.  So I came up with a plan…add a gathered “fichu” across the décolletage.   I like how it looks…even though in this picture, it is just sitting loosely there.  I want to adjust it exactly when the young lady tries on the dress tomorrow.  I like the added layer of movement (gathered fabric vs non-gathered) and how it really shows off the muslin/ribbon trimming.

So all that is left on the bodice is the zipper…I didn’t have a long enough invisible zipper until I ran to JoAnn’s before dinner.  I’m going to wait and make sure the bodice fits just right before I put the zipper in.  And of course, the skirt is missing.  It is cut out and pieced together, and I will spend the evening hand gathering it to the skirt.

Here is a close up of the sleeve detail:

I have to say that I’m very very pleased…alright, I’m downright proud…of how well this dress is coming together.  I love it and I hope the young lady does, too.

I’ll post pics of the finished dress tomorrow, along with the items I’ll be listing at Retro Femme.



  1. beautiful work! the fabric choice is perfect. makes me want one.

    Comment by Judy — August 8, 2008 @ 11:08 am

  2. […] Historical Dress – Done! Filed under: sewing — Tags: 1800’s, dress, historical, homespun, little house on the prairie, sewing, simplicity 3723 — BlueflowerTreasures @ 10:26 am The dress is done!  The WIP post is here. […]

    Pingback by Historical Dress - Done! « BlueflowerTreasures — August 10, 2008 @ 10:28 am

  3. I too am getting ready to make the same exact dress. I am an historical reenactor so this dress will be for me. Thanks for the wonderful posting, it has been a great help! 🙂 – Beth J. (Ohio)

    Comment by Beth — April 18, 2013 @ 5:35 am

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