The Great Pattern Review
These patterns are usually well made, but are not for the faint-of-heart, as the directions are minimal. They lend themselves well to modification, though, and are excellent for creating custom gowns. Harriet, and her assistant Lynda, are always available on email to answer questions, send pictures, etc. and are very kind. I have found working with their patterns a breeze, since Harriet and Lynda are always willing to help.
#3-L - Zouave Set, c. 1860
Not for beginners. The pattern includes a skirt, jacket, and blouse; not that you'd know that from anything on the envelope or description. The instructions refer to illustrations that don't exist. The picture on the envelope is unclear; and it is the only illustration of how the outfit is supposed to look. The very first instruction, in its entirety, is: "Make the Basic Skirt as stated in the DAY DRESS DIRECTIONS (Enclosed)". The skirt pattern pieces aren't too hard to figure out, but there are no written directions enclosed, only some notes on pleating. The pattern piece for the jacket facing fits size 8, but not larger.
#11-K - Girl's Zouave Set, c. 1863
Alessandra Kelley - Not Recommended
The pattern includes a jacket and skirt, but no blouse. Although the pieces are totally different from the adult Zouave #3L, it has the EXACT SAME INSTRUCTIONS. Yes! You get another copy of the adult instructions, with the text "Use for 11-K" written on by hand. To be fair, the pattern pieces have a note to correct the envelope's fabric recommendations (six yards for the skirt? Ahem), but that's all. The instructions are useless. The pattern is simple. Don't waste your money.
#16-L - Godey Vest, c.1860
Sally Norton - Not Recommended
DO NOT BUY THIS PATTERN. You think you are ordering a pattern for the pretty Godey vest illustrated on the cover. You aren't. You are ordering a photocopy of pages from The Cut of Men's Clothes by Nora Waugh. Notice the title: MEN'S CLOTHES. That's right. You have paid for a woman's Godey vest. You have received instructions for a man's vest. Chances are you probably have The Cut of Men's Clothes on your bookshelf. You really don't need to spend $15 to get a few photocopied pages of a book you already own, now do you? Especially since what you want to make is a woman's Godey vest not a standard, ordinary, man's vest. The two garments are not identical. They are not interchangeable.
#41-L - Stella, c. 1863
Rachael Franklin - Recommended
I changed this bodice a bit, cutting off the curves that are supposed to be tucked into the waistband and rounding the waist. I also pleated both the skirt and the overskirt onto one waistband, but it was possible because I was using such a light fabric. I also had to bring in the side seams a bit at the top, but the over-all fit was excellent. The bodice is very flattering and the overskirt is lovely.
#76-L - 1700's Stays, c. 1760-1780
Sheri Jurnecka - Not Recommended
It comes in one size. If you match the pattern, you're in luck. If not, you have to scale. No instructions. Binding the bottom edges takes a lot of patience. Bind the bottom edges before you insert the bones, then insert the bones before binding the top edge. The pattern pieces were all there and fit together fairly well, although I had to make some adjustments.
Note: According the the Harriet's Patterns catalogue, the corset pattern (1700 Corset 76L) is copied from Corsets and Crinolines by Nora Waugh. If you're going to attempt an 18th c. corset (you are brave), you're better off buying the book and getting all the useful information it contains.
#87-L - Cloak, c.1860's
Frances Grimble - Recommended
Very simple to make and goes over wide skirts. In the pattern illustration (called "documentation"), there is a photocopy from Nancy Bradfield's Costume in Detail, meaning the pattern drafter probably did not work from an original cloak.