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The Scroop Henrietta Maria dress with elastic waist thedreamstress.com

The Woodwold Henrietta Maria

Quite a few Henrietta Maria’s got made as I finalised my pattern, and many of them got left in the PHd pile, finished except for hems.  (fess up, who else gets to that part and just can’t quite I make it happen…?)  I’m slowly reducing the PHds, and adding the Henrietta Maria’s to my wardrobe.

At this point my Costume College packing is going to be entirely Henrietta Maria dresses and historical frocks!

Every time I finish a Henrietta Maria I love it more than the last one, and this one is definitely no exception!

The Scroop Henrietta Maria dress with elastic waist thedreamstress.com

This is the Scroop Henrietta Maria with an elastic waist (tutorial here), in a poly crepe chiffon (it’s a very high quality polyester, and, thanks to the weave, breaths well).  I’m calling it my Woodwold dress, because the print reminds me of the description of the amazing wrought-iron gates of Woodwold in Robin McKinley’s Spindle’s End.  There are even tiny roses hidden in the print!

The Scroop Henrietta Maria dress with elastic waist thedreamstress.com

This is one of those prints where no matter how you arranged the fabric, it was going to be slightly awkward in combination with your anatomy.  I decided that rather than worrying about this, I was going to make it a feature, so I specifically placed frames at my bust.  Patterning which mirrors and highlights your anatomy has been a feature of high-fashion pieces for the last couple of years, and in any case I enjoy subverting the expected.  Now that it’s finished, I quite like the effect, particularly paired with a V-neck slip.

The Scroop Henrietta Maria dress with elastic waist thedreamstress.com

You may be wondering why I didn’t include an elasticised waist as an option in the HM pattern from the start, and there is a good reason for that.  In laying out patterns for printing and in creating instructions, sometimes what you include becomes a balance between your design ideas and ease of use for the buyer.

Sometimes I find myself in a position where I have to decide between lay out a pattern so it prints on two less sheets of A4/Letter paper, but one of the important, tricky pattern features sits directly on the point where four sheets meet, arranging it so no important features fall across page joins, and it’s easier for people to read and use the pattern, but it take two more pages.

With the Henrietta Maria, the logistics of the instructions meant I had the choice between including the elastic waist, or including instructions on bra strap guards – a technique that is useful for every view of the Henrietta Maria, not just the dress, and which is a much more interesting and unusual technique to find in pattern instructions.

The Scroop Henrietta Maria dress with elastic waist thedreamstress.com

For the photos, a friend (with a very nice camera!) and I headed to the botanical gardens, and took advantage of the beautiful fall foliage.

The Scroop Henrietta Maria dress with elastic waist thedreamstress.com

There were people walking dogs, and ducks and late-season ducklings in the pond.  We even found a cat to cuddle and pose with:

The Scroop Henrietta Maria dress with elastic waist thedreamstress.com

 

The Scroop Henrietta Maria dress with elastic waist thedreamstress.com

Happiness!

The Scroop Henrietta Maria dress with elastic waist thedreamstress.com

For tutorials related to this dress, see:

How to add an elastic waist to the Scroop Henrietta Maria dress thedreamstress.com

How to add an elastic waistband to the Scroop Henrietta Maria dress

It’s the tutorial you’ve all been waiting for!  How to add an elastic waistband to the Scroop Henrietta Maria dress.

The Henrietta Maria Dress & Top, http://www.scrooppatterns.com/products/henrietta-maria-dress-top

It’s not hard to do: you mark your waistline, sew a piece of elastic in a circle, and sew it on while stretching it to fit the dress.

You’ll need:

  • A piece of narrow 1cm/3/8″ wide elastic as long as your waist measure
  • A Henrietta Maria dress, finished except for hemming.
  • Chalk or fabric markers for marking
  • A french curve (helpful, but not necessary)

Put your dress on inside out:

How to add an elastic waist to the Scroop Henrietta Maria dress thedreamstress.com

Pin or tie your elastic so it sits snuggly and comfortably at the line where you would like it to sit on the dress:

How to add an elastic waist to the Scroop Henrietta Maria dress thedreamstress.com

Using chalk or a fabric pen, mark the line of the elastic, front and back:

How to add an elastic waist to the Scroop Henrietta Maria dress thedreamstress.com

>>> Tip: You can just use the waistline marked on the pattern, but trying it on and marking ensures the elastic will sit exactly where you want it.

Take the dress off, and use a french curve to draw over your marked line, smoothing out any rough bits, and making sure it is clearly visible.  I’ve done mine in white chalk AND green Pilot Frixion highlighters, to make sure you can see it in the tutorial.

How to add an elastic waist to the Scroop Henrietta Maria dress thedreamstress.com

Pin and sew your elastic into a circle:

How to add an elastic waist to the Scroop Henrietta Maria dress thedreamstress.com

How to add an elastic waist to the Scroop Henrietta Maria dress thedreamstress.com

Mark the centre front and centre back of your dress at the waistline, and divide your elastic into four quarters marked with pins:

How to add an elastic waist to the Scroop Henrietta Maria dress thedreamstress.com

(optional step: remind cat that elastic with pins in it is not likely to be a happy cat toy).

Pin the elastic around the waist, matching each quarter point to a side or centre mark:

How to add an elastic waist to the Scroop Henrietta Maria dress thedreamstress.com

Set your sewing machine to a moderately high, moderately wide, zig-zag stitch.

Starting at a side seam, set the elastic and dress under the sewing machine, and sew a few stitch and backstitch to secure your start point.  Sink your needle.  Then stretch the elastic between your start point and your first pinned quarter, so there are no gathers:

How to add an elastic waist to the Scroop Henrietta Maria dress thedreamstress.com

Carefully sew along the stretched elastic,  keeping it centred on your marked line:

How to add an elastic waist to the Scroop Henrietta Maria dress thedreamstress.com

If you have trouble holding it steady, you can stretch it an pin it between the four quarters, so that you have less fabric to control:

How to add an elastic waist to the Scroop Henrietta Maria dress thedreamstress.com

Don’t worry if your stitching wobbles a bit on the elastic, as it won’t be noticeable from the outside:

How to add an elastic waist to the Scroop Henrietta Maria dress thedreamstress.com

How to add an elastic waist to the Scroop Henrietta Maria dress thedreamstress.com

>>> Tip: Some sewers use a straight stitch for this method, and that is completely acceptable if that’s how you do it.  I prefer as a zig-zag, as I find that the edges of the elastic curls around a straight stitch, and that the straight stitches end up being so tiny that they are impossible to unpick if anything goes wrong.

And here is the finished result!

How to add an elastic waist to the Scroop Henrietta Maria dress thedreamstress.com

Coming tomorrow…more pictures.  With cats!

Rate the Dress: Lanvin does 1910s poofs

Last week’s crazy floral border print 1860s Rate the Dress certainly evoked a range of responses, and some interesting speculation on how much the ensemble had been altered, and when.  One thing you could almost all agree on was that the bodice was a bit blocky and awkward, but other than that there was no consensus.  Some of you LOVED the skirt fabric so much the bodice didn’t matter, some of you hated the fabric full stop, and some of you thought the fabric was amazing, but that it couldn’t make up for the terrible bodice.  All in all, the dress came in at a very disappointing 6.3 out of 10, showing that fashion has to be a bit more restrained and a bit better made to get the nod from more of you voters.

This week I present a dress with two sets of images: one, carefully presented and perfectly steamed and arranged into shape, and another, an excellent set of reference images, clearer and brighter, but lacking the elegant crispness of the first.  It’s an excellent opportunity to see a dress prettily staged, in a way few institutions have the resources to achieve, and in the raw, with all the ravages of time visible.

This Lanvin dress, shown first in perfect presentation, is characteristic of her very soft, whimsical, feminine style, and her interest in history.

While the overall silhouette, raised waistline and asymmetrically wrapped skirt of this evening dress are typical of the 1910s, Lanvin took her inspiration from the fashions of the second half of the 18th century for the details of the garment.  The black tulle peeking from the sleeves is reminiscent of engageantes, and the layers of the draped surplice bodice evoke a fichu.  The puffed overskirt is a reference to the poofs and drapes of a bustle over-skirt.

What do you think?  The first image gives a better picture of how the dress would have looked when first worn, the second may help explain the details.  It’s certainly a quirky frock, but does quirk have it’s own charm, and is this a case when it keeps fashion history interesting and unique?

Rate the Dress on a Scale of 1 to 10