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I went to the studio yesterday and completed the skirt part of the petticoat. All the seams on the skirt are french seams. Then comes the most exciting bit: gathering!

The pattern suggests to either concentrate the gathers at the back, or arrange them evenly around the front. I tried to pin them to show the two different effects before sewing:

Left: gather at back; Right: gather evenly around front

If viewing from the side they look also quite different:

Left: gather mainly at back; Right: gather evening around

It’s difficult to make up my mind which one to choose…Which one would you suggest? 🙂

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When I firstly attended the Jane Austen Promenade in Bath in 2008, I wore a vintage Laura Ashley dress, which was a normal daily dress but I shaped the sleeve a bit. I am not fully satisfied with it so ever since then I am determined to make my own authentic regency gowns, and the time finally comes!

Me in Bath

After doing a lot of research on the Internet I have collected some most recommended patterns, including La Mode Bagatelle Regency Wardrobe(for beginners and improvers. Although not 100% periodically correct it’ll look nice), 1796-1806 Empire Gown from Past Patterns, 1809 Day Dress from Period Impressions and Mantua-Maker… I am an experienced leather worker but haven’t done many sewing projects before, so hopefully starting from the petticoat by La Mode Bagatelle will be easier for me.

What's in the La Mode Bagatelle Package

The fabric I use for the petticoat is very light-weighted linen from Italy.

Italian Linen

I have to say there are quite a few points not clear in this LMB pattern instruction. I’ll try to write them down as I progress, and hopefully my notes will also be helpful  for those who get confused reading this pattern.

Point 1: The neckline casing. The instruction says to stitch the bias strips to the lining, but doesn’t say to the wrong side or the right side. If the former there’s no way for the drawstring to come out unless you make some eyelets on either the lining or the bodice, which is not mentioned in the instruction, so I decide to do it to the right side, and stitched the folded edge of bias with the lining as well. Fortunately it looks good so far.

La Mode Bagatelle - Bodiced Petticoat Neckline Casing from the Lining Side

LMB - Bodiced Petticoat - Bodice Front

 Point 2: After stitching all around the neckline and armhole, I’ll need to turn the whole thing inside out. It literally takes HOURS to turn, as the shoulder straps are so narrow that I nearly thought it was a mission impossible. The booklet doesn’t say anything about how difficult this will be, but just “turn”. Luckily enough, it is possible (thank God!)  to turn the whole thing as long as you do it bit by bit. A great amount of patience is needed here. 

LMB-Bodiced Petticoat Shoulder Strap after Turning

Point 3: Then it says “right side together, stitch center back”. It made me nearly stitch the left and right center back pieces together, but I soon realised that I wouldn’t be able to put it on if I did so! It must mean that the left piece should stitch with left and right with right.

Point 4: Stitch side fronts to backs with the bodice and lining opened out, then stitch the seam as self-casing. Make sure that you do the casing on the lining only – another thing not explained by the pattern. 😦

Well, so far it has taken some time but it’s getting there. I’ll keep working on the skirts tomorrow!

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