The Great Pattern Review
#0664 - Child's Medieval Costumes (Out of Print)
Judith Hollenberger - Highly Recommended
I've made the Tunic and Coif from View C twice. The directions are clear and easy to follow. It makes up as shown. The first time I used this pattern, I made the Tunic out of a metallic fabric and made a second, sleeveless Tunic out of white fabric. The second time I made it all in one piece with metallic sleeves and white fabric body. Both ways worked well. Two kids have play tested the costumes and give them thumbs up. They are comfortable enough to wear to play in. My one suggestion is that if do an elaborate crest as I did on my first Tunic, applique the crest to a separate piece of fabric and tacked it onto the costume. Then, when the child outgrows the costume you can remove the applique and use it again on another costume.
#3727 - Misses Civil War Costume Wisconsin Historical Society
Lisa Prindle - Highly Recommended
I am so sorry I didn't purchase this pattern years ago from the Wisconsin Historical Society! This is a reprint of Patterns of History 1857 Afternoon Costume. It is excellent, and is worth the investment for the fancy French-cuff undersleeve pattern alone. It even has directions for a small bustle! It has a very unusual yoked skirt to avoid bulk under the bodice peplum. I made the pattern up with a few changes so it could be worn as a dinner gown (lower neckline, shorter sleeves), and I did not make the knot and tassel decoration for the bodice front. This pattern has excellent directions, fits perfectly (in a size 18, anyway), and is an all-around great addition to anyone's Civil War era pattern collection.
#3806 - Misses, Men & Teen Renaissance Costumes (Out of Print)
Andrea Agnew - Recommended
I made view C but shortened the sleeves, and added alot of small details. The pants in the picture were also made using this pattern. It was simple and easy to follow and went together well and fast.
#4092 - 18th Century Costume
Hanna Fulton - Highly Recommended
I will first say that I can never leave a pattern alone and I always seem to make some alterations and I somehow "forget" to read the instructions very well so I did have some sizing problems, but a few darts here and there fixed it right up. That being said, I made view B and it turned out lovely. I had some sizing problems, and there are a few spots that I'd like to ignore, but over all it went together really well. I will warn you, if you're 5'8" or taller it might be a little short for you and you might want to just buy some extra fabric and cut the pattern longer on the skirt, just in case. The skirt was my favourite part to put together, I love gathering and it makes such a nice shape on the hips. I do suggest you follow the instructions, however, because it will probably save you a lot of cursing and mistakes. Other than that, I would suggest it to anyone with some sewing experience, it goes together nicely and is very lovely looking and I plan to use it again very soon.
#4142-S.O. - Misses' Centennial Costume, Hoop Petticoat and Pantalets (Out of Print)
Jana Keeler - Recommended
I bought this charming pattern on eBay a while back. It is titled "Misses' Centennial Costume, Hoop Petticoat and Pantalets." Maybe a centennial for the civil war so perhaps this pattern could be dated around 1965 or so? Not sure the "S.O." means. At any rate, it was such a cute pattern I just had to have it regardless of the fact that even when I was 12 years old I would never have fit in this Misses Size 12 with a 32 bust. Ah well. I had some wonderful blue/black/grey plaid fabric and decided to make this dress up for sale. The bodice and skirt are attached and it buttons down the front. The sleeves called for elastic at the wrist but I easily changed that to cuffs to match the white collar. The sleeve caps do come over the natural shoulder line which I thought was a very nice authentic touch in this pattern and added piping on the seams lines where the sleeves attached. When I make this again I could also open up the sleeve to more of a bishop style and make a set of under-sleeves. I brought the dress to our Dickens Costume Clinic (Nov. 2001) and a young lady promptly bought it. It looked absolutely wonderful on her! Keep you eyes open for those older costume patterns on eBay!
#4156 - My Fair Lady Suit (Out of Print)
Jennifer Brownell - Recommended
I made only the bodice from this pattern, as the skirt seemed a bit inaccurate to me. I also did not make the high-neck inset (meant to imitate an under blouse) because I wanted something more versatile and accurate. The outer body of the bodice is a wonderful pattern. The pieces match well and lend themselves easily to fitting. It calls for flat lining, but I decided to bag line in stead. the lapels and collar are stiffened with buckram and they keep that graceful curve at the top by wire sewn to the inside. Since I did not use the inset, I applied a low, double-breasted closure and buttons. Like all Simplicity patterns, it seems that this one is also sizes rather big. I cut for a 32” waist and ended up with a 34”.
Like most mass produced patterns, this piece comes out well but the instructions are troublesome. Be sure to mark every possible mark on the sleeves pieces, and make sure they are still visible during construction. Otherwise it becomes very difficult to figure left from right once you start putting things together.
#4219 - Misses, Men and Teen 18th-19th Century Costume Shirts (Out of Print)
Andrea Agnew - Recommended
This pattern was easy and had a great turnout. My only problem is that it runs too large and the mid-section is too loose and unflattering.The sleeves were a little too baggy for my taste also.
#4551 - The Fashion Historian: Martha McCain - Misses' Civil War Costume (Out of Print)
Sara Newberry - Highly Recommended
I used this pattern almost exactly as printed (which is not something I usually have the luxury of doing). With the exception of the waistbands (all of which were too short), this pattern was a perfect fit. The instructions were very easy to follow and even included period construction techniques. Flat lining! Cartridge pleating! Oh my! This is not my period of specialty but, the result I got was very close to some Civil War era photos I've seen. The whole thing, from cutting to sewing on buttons, took only one day.
Lisa Prindle - Highly Recommended
This is a wonderful pattern for an every day or work dress, but I had a few issues with it. If you follow the directions exactly and line up all the markings, the outer layer of the front bodice will pooch out in the front like a 1900's blouse! You need to drape it on a dress form or a person to make sure it lays smoothly over the fitted lining. Also, the sleeves are incredibly long. You can correct it by shortening the sleeve at the shoulder or the wrist (I've done both). The overall design takes trim well, and it is possible to make it without a lining (for those in warm climes) by cutting the waistband double. Pictured on the right.
#4900 - Misses' Costume, The Cold Mountain Gown (Out of Print)
Jana Keeler - Recommended
This was the second costume I made in one weekend for Utah's Costume Con (See review for 9699). I was pressed for time so I didn't follow the pattern exactly except for the jacket. I had to draft it up one more size--I'm a big woman but my upper arms and my back width are very big (even when I was thin I had muscular upper arms and a linebackers back!). The jacket pattern goes together very easily and the instructions were very clear. It was still a little bit small for me across the chest so I could not close it all the way down the front. So I just put a hook and eye at the middle of the bosom and two more down to the waist. We also made a belt with a nice gold and pearl belt buckle which I think added nicely to the pattern. I did not have time to make the blouse --- or bodice as they called it in the pattern. The bodice is actually sewn to the skirt and it looks very lovely and I would like to make it at some point in the future although I would make them as two separate pieces only because I prefer it that way. So running out of time I measured how wide the skirt pattern pieces were and simply cut 6 long rectangles of fabric, sewed them together, gathered the top and sewed it to a waistband. It would have been better to cartridge pleat this puppy but again I was out of time. You could do so many variations on design with this pattern. Now the brickbat. Once I sewed on the jacket peplum and tried it on there was this annoying "pooch" where the peplum came up on the middle of my back about 1 inch. We thought it might have been because I drafted the pattern up one size but someone else at Costume Con had made this dress and it had the same little pooch. To fix: We just simply folded it up while I was wearing it and sewed the pooch down---hey, I was in a big hurry. I would suggest add a 6-10 inches to the peplum width and then do small gathers at the center back. Buy this pattern now --- I think it will make a great addition to your pattern library. Also --- it is sized up the 26!
Note: One of the ladies who creates many of the costume patterns for Simplicity was a presenter at Costume Con 2005 in Utah. She was asked why some patterns were discontinued so quickly or why they don't do a certain era or look or bigger sizes. She says she would personally love to but, the reality is that Simplicity is a business and they have to stick with patterns that sell. If it doesn't sell well, they don't continue to make it. The majority of their customers want very easy costume patterns to make. Another interesting fact she mentioned was that no design can take over 3 sheets of tissue. If it does she either has to abandon the design or take one or two additional "views" of a single pattern out.
#4923 (formerly #0508) - Men's Costume, Pirates of the Caribbean
Anna Newman - Recommended
I made this as a pirate coat for my husband and was really pleased with it. He's a 44/46 so I made the XL. It was plenty big (too big, if anything).
I did not alter the pattern per se but, I made a bag lining for the body of the coat using the coat pattern pieces. i cut the cuffs, pocket flaps and front facings out of contrasting wool. I put the facings on the outside of the coat as revers. The directions and placement of the braid and buttons were fine but, I wanted more. I added more but, it's a bit crooked and needs to be fixed. I also cut one of the three godets not on the fold but, as two pieces in order to have a back vent. I made covered buttons in black silk.
I used a heavy wool. The coat skirt hangs nicely and moves beautifully when you turn. I haven't tried the waistcoat pattern yet but, it looks good.
You really do need all the yardage specified (6-5/8 yards for XL) so that the skirt is cut on the proper grain. It took me about 30 hours tomake this coat including the hand sewing and button making (and putting the left cuff on upside down .... twice). My wool was a fairly tight weave but, I let the coat hang a couple of days with the lining attached before hemming.
#5023 - The Fashion Historian: Martha McCain - Men's Shirts and Pants (Out of Print)
Elizabeth Merritt - Recommended
The shirt needed slight alterations. I really enjoyed making this shirt because everything about the construction is neat and tidy. There are no unfinished edges anywhere in the garment. The armhole was too small. This was easy to remedy by lowering the armhole slit in the body piece and removing some of the gathers in the sleeve head to fill the larger area. This, unfortunately, was done after the shirt was almost finished. If I made it again, I would alter the other pieces (such as the sleeve binder) to match.
The other issue was the neckband. There is NO ease in the neckband. Where the pattern says the neck size is X inches, the neckband is X inches plus overlap seam allowance and no more. The shirt is gathered into the neckband. The neckband is just a rectangle so I'd suggest cutting your own neckband based on your mesurements plus the amount of ease you prefer. I added 1/2 inch for ease.
I really like the finished garment. The only other suggestion I would make is to buy or borrow a 1/4" quilt-piecing foot (if you don't have one) because there are a lot of 1/4" seams. It is so hard to make an accurate seam that narrow without the foot as your guide.
Like the shirt, these pants have a neat appearance although many seam allowances are left raw. I pinked mine. I really like the look of the fly closure, the front pockets and the back yoke. I did omit much of the top-stitching because I think too much top-stitching looks cheap. But this is my preference, not a flaw in the pattern. I found the pants to be quite roomy in the seat for the waist measurement (about 10" ease from their specified hip size).
If I make them again, I may take them in a bit for a more tailored look. The only tip I would give is to remember that, in this period, pants were worn quite high, at the natural waistline in front and often above the natural waistline in back. Be sure to take your measurements at the natural waistline and not at the 'jeans-line'.
All this being said, this is a pattern that still has some annoying attributes. The directions are in ridiculous order. Following them in the order they are written entails going from the sewing machine to the ironing board far more often than necessary. It would be much easier to press all the folds in all the pieces that need to be pre-pressed, at one time. There are too many pattern markings; many are useful in matching the pieces, but some just have you waste time marking in order to be told something painfully obvious, such as the front leg sews to the back leg at the side seam. Some of the directions are confusing. but usually after I gave up trying to understand them and just followed them (blindly), they worked out and eventually made sense.
I do think the overall look is nice and reasonably historically accurate. The wearer reports that both garments are very comfortable and he really likes the look. I probably will use the pattern again.
#5035 - The Fashion Historian: Martha McCain - Men's Shirts and Pants (Out of Print)
Melissa Keen - Highly Recommended
This Simplicity pattern was fantastic - everything went together very well and came out looking exactly like I had expected. I made the shirt in white linen, and the pants from a brown/gray jean cloth. If I had it to do over again, I would probably use Simplicity 5023, simply because there are more collar options for the shirt, and the trousers are a more straight-forward design. However, that being said, I have absolutely NO complaints about the Simplicity pattern I did use! It's just a matter of personal taste. Unfortunately, this pattern is now only available through the Out of Print section on Simplicity's website. This is just too bad - it was a great pattern!!! (the Vest shown is Simplicity 5037 and the Coat is Homespun Patterns' Civilian Frock Coat) Please forgive my female mannequin for not having the correct build! The outfit really does fit nicely... Pictured on the right.
Marie Schnoor - Recommended, conditionally.
First off, the pattern picture is a bit misleading. It shows two men, one in shirt, pants, suspenders and necktie and one with all the same pieces and a vest. I was disappointed to find that there is no best pattern included in this package. I would have liked to have the vest pattern. I have only made the shirt portion so far and I have mixed feelings about it. One one hadn, the attention to details, shown in the gussets, flat-felled seams,, and other fine bits, lend themselves very well to hand sewing, which is how I make an entire garment. On the other hand, the collar sizing, both around the neck and also the height of the collar, is incredibly odd. I had to take it out and re-sew it to get it to marginally fit him. The shirt has a completely open (i.e., non-buttoning) front slit makes it need a vest or something to keep it closed. If you have a lot of free time, use this pattern. I had to work long and hard getting it to fit well.
#5037 - The Fashion Historian: Martha McCain - Men's Vest, Cap & Bracers (Out of Print)
Melissa Keen - Recommended
This Simplicity pattern was fantastic - everything went together very well and came out looking exactly like I had expected. I have absolutely NO complaints about the pattern. I made the vest out of a gorgeous gold silk with a small pattern woven in black and lighter gold, then lined it with cotton broadcloth. Unfortunately, this pattern is now only available through the Out of Print section on Simplicity's website. This is just too bad - it was a great pattern!!! (the Shirt and Trousers shown are Simplicity 5035, and the Coat is Homespun Patterns' Civilian Frock Coat) Please forgive my female mannequin for not having the correct build! The outfit really does fit nicely. Pictured on the left.
Kim Yasuda - Intermediate/Advanced
Instructions good, many pieces including chest padding, images fewer than steps. Next time I will add interfacing to front collar facing piece #15 and welt pockets. Also, may want to understitch the armhole and back hem if lining is not similar to the color of the fashion fabric. Pictured above, on the right.
#5294 - Women's Renaissance Costumes, Ever After Dress (Out of Print)
Elizabeth Walpole - Recommended
This is probably one of the best Medieval/Renaissance patterns put out by any of the big 3 pattern companies and the changes necessary to make it authentic are minimal. I've used this pattern twice both times for SCA wear. My first dress was View B. it was simple to make even though this was only the second dress I had ever made. I don't know why they recommended organza for the underskirt, but I used a heavier fabric (the same fabric as the rest of the dress in a different colour) because I didn't particularly want a transparent skirt, especially given the way the overskirt falls back when you sit down. You can't see the underskirt in the photo, but when you walk or sit down the split opens and you can see the underskirt. The changes I made to the pattern were fairly simple, back lacing instead of a zipper, a separate chemise instead of the faked under-sleeves; the underskirt was mounted onto a separate waistband. I used the upper gauntlets from View A but lengthened them to wrist length, and attached them to the bodice using buttons and loops. Just over a year after the first one I made this dress again. It was a 3 days before an event and therefore, a rush job. I used vVew B's bodice again but I drafted out the darts (I pinned the darts closed on the tissue paper and then traced the shape onto another piece of paper) because there's no evidence that darts existed this far back. After looking at paintings from this era (Venice circa 1490-1510) I decided that this U shaped neckline really belonged on an under-dress so I made a closed skirt (similar to View C). When I discovered I had lost half of the skirt pattern pieces I just cut 3 rectangular panels to the length I wanted and calculated the pleats from there (the pattern calls for gathering but I like the look of pleats better). I also straightened out the upwards curve between the bust that is on the original bodice pattern; it worked OK when I made the split skirt but a closed skirt looks strange with that point in the front.
#5359 - Misses' Belly Dancing Costumes
Lori Medanic - Recommended, but with some alterations.
The top shown in Views A and C ends up covering very little to none of a person. I would say use it as a base but, if you don't want to reveal yourself to the world, recut the neckline and bring the bottom down a little. I love the pants, they are wonderful and I have remade them several times but, as with most simplicity patterns, you have to look more at the diagrams than the pattern. We discovered that, as far as my friend and I could tell, you are never informed to sew up the crotch. The waist cincher was too big for my friend but, I ended up with one too small. Make sure that you measure well and make it for the measurement of your waist and hips not the rest of you; other than that it is a great pattern and I enjoy the cute result I got from using it.
#5442 - The Fashion Historian: Martha McCain - Misses' Civil War Summer Dress (Out of Print)
Lisa Prindle - Recommended
I agree with other reviewers that this pattern is fussy with too many pieces but, the details make sense. I was surprised at how important the bodice front gathers at the waist are in holding the fullness in the front bodice. I had to use a different skirt, neckline and sleeve variation as everyone in town was using the same pattern. There is a low cut lining that could cause fitting problems. It does bind a trifle in the shoulder but, I am so charmed with the overall dress that it is worth all the suffering. Her dress is pictured in the photo on the right.
Amy Denison - Recommended for least Intermediate level sewing skills and lots of free time.
There is a lot of gathering to be done, along with yards of ruffles to narrow and attach by hand. I had very few problems understanding the instructions. I did make a few modifications. Instead of using different types of lace on the under-bodice neckline, I simply used a 2" wide piece of flat eyelet; stitched it on with a 1/2" seam allowance and used the seam allowance to create a casing for the drawstring. It looked quite pretty and saved me a bit of time and a little money. I had trouble trying to sew a fine cord into the ruffles for gathering so I ran gathering stitches by hand and gathering the ruffles up by hand. The stitching is covered by the ruffles and is hardly noticeable. I also made the skirt out of rectangle shapes of fabric instead of using the skirt pattern pieces (it saved fabric). It took me a total of five days to make this dress. I can usually make an 1850s dress in two days. If I use this pattern again, it will be for a special occassion and then, only if I have plenty of time beforehand to make it.
#5523 - Child's Flower Fairy Costume (Out of Print)
Denisen Hartlove - Highly Recommended
I made View C. It was lots of fun; lots of work, but well worth it. This pattern, sized for toddlers and children, is a definite winner as fairy/fantasy costumes go. Despite the mind boggling number of fabric pieces to cut out and sew (something like 70 total), the pattern itself was simple and well laid out. We ended up with a finished product even better than we'd hoped. One nice aspect of this pattern is that it includes an under-dress and panties that are pretty enough to be used as a costume in their own right. The pattern also includes instructions for a flowered headband to go with the dress. The whole thing took about 20 man-hours to create (all those flower petals on the neckline and waist are lined to avoid hand-hemming) but, since the steps were simple, there were few adult-beverage breaks needed to complete the project.
#5724 - The Fashion Historian: Martha McCain - Misses' Civil War Ball Dress (Out of Print)
Aylwen Garden - Recommended
This dress was easy to make, although I didn't like the train as it interfered with dancing. People treading on it from behind. Pictured at left.
Lisa Prindle - Recommended
I only used the bodice pattern. This bodice pattern assembled easily and has a nice fit. I was very familiar with the Past Patterns 1860's Ball gown Bodice 704 pattern; this is basically the same design. I did not, however, like the pleated Berthe opening in the center back. In Janet Arnold's Patterns of Fashion 1, I found a diagram of an extant garment and it opens on the shoulder.
The pleating was easy to do. This is a fine basic pattern. It's easy enough to allow for variations in the sleeve and neckline treatment. Pictured at right.
#5726 - The Fashion Historian: Martha McCain - Civil War Chemise, Corset and Petticoat
Aylwen Garden - Highly Recommended
This was my first corset and it was an absolute breeze to make. It is really comfortable to wear for dancing. It provides great back support. Mack sure you wear a chemise underneath the corset or the bones can cut into you a bit at the bottom of the corset.
I had to try this corset pattern. I was hoping that because the commercial patterns tend to run a little big, it would be just a matter of scaling down to get a correct fit. Scaling down worked for the waist and hip part of the corset. It fit pretty snug, but I had to re adjust the bust a lot. I am not very busty and it came out more closer to a c cup, but there was no sizing for cup size indicated on the pattern. The instructions are brief. You are better with diagrams. The corset does go together pretty swiftly body wise. You will have to fit for the bust, but you have to do that anyway when using any corset pattern. This is a fairly straight-forward pattern.
The chemise made up very quickly. I don't have any complaints other than that fun off the shoulder mid Victorian chemise shape can be irritating when all dolled up and you keep feeling it slip a bit. Overall, satisfactory.
#5909 - Child's Renaissance Costumes (Out of Print)
Judith Hollenberger - Highly Recommended
I made View C without the vest. This pattern is clear, easy and quick to make up. I did not like the gathering on the front inset so I just left it ungathered. It's comfortable, sturdy, and has lovely lines.
I made it up in a cotton blend for a Pretty Princess costume for Halloween. It has already withstood hours of playtime. I think this would work for fantasy, elvish and, in earth tones, even as a Hobbit child.
#5958 - American History 101, Colonial & Puritan Men's Shirt, Jacket & Breeches (Out of Print)
I made lots of adjustments to this outfit using The Distaff Sketchbook to give me an idea how a man's 18th century ensemble should look. I had little trouble putting the pieces together. I was able to construct the entire outfit within a month. This is a fun pattern. It was easy to make all the adjustments.
#7157 - Vintage Closet: Princess Slip & Camisole with Bloomers (Out of Print)
Teresa Liao - Recommended
It was a very easy pattern to follow. As with most modern patterns, I had to work with it a bit to get the fit right for the time period I wanted. I did make a few minor changes. Rather than having buttons down the front, I closed it with hooks and eyes so that they wouldn't show if I wear a sheer blouse over it. I also changed the way I attached the seam binding to the neck and armscye edges. The directions for this seemed rather silly: ironing bias tape open and then folding it in half. I ignored the directions and attached the tap in the normal way, sewing it right sides together, flipping the tape to the inside and top stitching the further edge into place. The finished slip does everything I wanted it to do: it covers my corset, avoids adding bulk to the waist and hip area, and adds body to the hem of my skirt. Pictured on the right.
Monique Motyl - Highly Recommended
I made View A out of cotton muslin. It went together quickly and easily. I finished it in two days.
#7212 - The Fashion Historian: Martha McCain - Misses' Civil War Day Dresses (Out of Print)
Sally Norton - Highly Recommended
It's a terrific pattern. It's historically accurate and fits well. I've been looking at old photos a lot recently and I see this style over and over in the early 1860s. There are some minor variations. I'm eager to try this pattern again and modify some of the pieces to copy variations I've seen in old photos. A further report will be forthcoming. The part of the pattern I don't understand is the under-sleeve. The dress has straight, close-fitting sleeves (perfectly correct, plenty of examples in old photos). Why then, include a full cut under-sleeve? It's a good under-sleeve. I will use it with another gown, but the under-sleeve in this pattern will never fit under the gown sleeves; the gown sleeves are much too narrow. Was this a boo boo? It's a mystery. The sleeves of the dress could be gathered and made full or the under-sleeves could be used with another dress. I cut my sleeves wider and gathered them into a wristband (copied this from an old photo). Sally is on the right.
Gladys Campbell - Highly Recommended
I made View B without the apron. This is an excellent pattern. It is not difficult, but there are a lot (really a lot) of pieces. It's time-consuming just finding all the little pieces. A beginner would need help, but could make this dress. The result is lovely. The bodice fits well and the back is extremely attractive. I did change the sleeve. I cut a fuller sleeve and gathered it into a wristband.
Judith Hollenberger - Recommended with reservations.
I did not enjoy sewing this dress. It must just be me because the other reviewers did not have nearly the trouble I did. The directions were unclear and confusing. I wound up with the waistband cover too short and the waistband overlap and skirt opening in the wrong place. According to the pattern the buttons should be on the left side of the bodice (as you look at the person) and the skirt opening is on the right. The right side of the bodice is supposed to have the buttonholes and covers up the skirt placket opening. I wound up with my skirt placket opening on the left so I had to put the buttonholes on the left side of the bodice. It worked out OK.
I made size 16. The bodice lining is less generous than the bodice at gathered bustline. The dress has a built-in bustiness that is a giggle for me when I look in the mirror. I agree that the waist is not clearly explained. My biggest problem: I have small bust but big shoulders and ribcage. Even with corset, the front barely met. My solution: Splice on a piece of fashion fabric on the back of the left bodice that is wide enough to fill at least an extra inch across the front plus fold back again across the lining to add stability--roughly 3-4 inches wide. Lay it face down on the front left opening and sew it on using a minimal seam allowance. Iron the new piece flat and determine how much fabric is sufficient for an extension. Iron the fold of the extension back across lining and iron the folded-under raw edge. Hand stitch this facing to lining so that it lies graciously and looks intentional. I extended the right bodice front and lining out as far as possible across the chest, folded the front back in a minimal facing of roughly 1/4 inch and hand-sewed it over the lining, which I folded under almost 1/2 inch so that it didn't show. Then sewed on plenty of hooks, hidden behind the right-side piece. The new left side piece acts as a curtain so nothing is gappy and no underclothes show. You will have to recut the bodice waistband longer, or make a new cover piece. Also: Make a proper fabric skirt waistband to sew the skirt to. Don't use white tape. It's bound to peek out.
#7215 - The Fashion Historian: Martha McCain - Misses' Civil War Chemise and Corset
Gladys Campbell - Highly Recommended
I made the Chemise. I love this pattern. It is perfect. Everything is exactly as it should be. The instructions are clear and accurate. It goes together easily and looks exactly like a vintage under-garment. It fastens in front (the back view is shown in the photo below). Pictured at right.
Judith Hollenberger - Recommended with reservations.
It must be me. I could not figure out this Chemise pattern to save my life. Twice I got the pattern pieces mixed up and sewed them right side to wrong side. Since I was flat felling all the seams and this is an undergarment no one will see, I just left it. There is no way that you could sew the under-arm facing as described in the directions. That's just artistic license in the illustration. I mean it. You can turn under the seam allowances and top-stitch the facing around the armscythe and it looks fine, but the patterns directions just don't work. Now, having said all of that, the final garment is lovely. So, I guess it was worth all the cussing and gnassing of teeth.
Zuzana Kraemerova - Highly Recommended
This pattern is absolutely fabulous if you take a size (or two) smaller than your actual one. I took the pattern one size smaller and without any muslin, I made the corset and it fit perfectly and gave the correct look for a victorian corset. Just the belly part was a bit too big, but that's just because I'd need a little bit smaller size - about one and half smaller than my actual one. The instructions seemed quite clear, so I had no problem. It is a lot of work but is worth it. Pictured on the right.
I have discovered with pattern Piece 13 (Side Gusset for the Bust) that the size marked Cup Size A,B is LARGER than Cup Size C,D. Compare them if you have the pattern available. I personally would be very annoyed if I put in the effort to make the corset to find it doesn't fit because of a printing error. Hope other readers check the pattern pieces before they consider making it. I have notified Simplicity and they have informed that the pattern was corrected in May 2003 and I must have bought old stock. I still suggest that any one with the pattern should check the pieces before they start making the corset, just in case they have an old pattern as well.
Amy Denisen - Highly Recommended
I made the corset, and I absolutely love it.This corset is much more flattering for larger or shapely figures than the 5726/9769 shaped-seam corset (which I found increased my measurements by 2-3 inches when fully tightened). This corset kept my bust measurement the same, and decreased my waist measurement by 1/2"-1", as well as giving me the appearance of a very narrow waist (isn't that what 1860's fashions were intended to do). A review on another website made it sound like this pattern is rather advanced. I found it much easier to assemble than I thought it would be, though a little more time-consuming than other corset patterns. Anyone who has made a corset before can handle this pattern (and, maybe even intermediate sewers who have never made a corset). It took me 2 days to make it, but I thoroughly enjoyed the experience. You just have to be sure to transfer all the pattern markings onto the fabric (especially the markings for the bone casings). It makes the assembly much faster.
#7438 - Misses' Capes and Wrap (Out of Print)
Christine James - Highly Recommended
I made View C and added inches to the length. It's a simple pattern and quick to make. Perfect for beginners. The result is very attractive.
#7756 (formerly #0637) - Misses' Renaissance Costumes (Out of Print)
Juliana Aldrich - Recommended
This pattern is straightforward and easy to understand. I had little fabric to make the skirt, so I simply gathered it to the bodice as a large rectangle instead of using the skirt pattern pieces. I put two wood buttons at front and back of the tops of the shoulders that string winds around to close, and made a similar button 'zipper' to go down the front of the bodice in the Flemish style. It is very comfortable and flattering and among the better of the Ren Faire-ish patterns out there. I recommend more interfacing on the bodice than the pattern does so you can have a smooth look. It's not a historically accurate pattern by any means, but it is a very fun costume. Pictured at right.
Cassandra O'Connor - Recommended
Super easy instructions, though it's not super-high on the authenticity detail. My beefs: darts, lack of interfacing, not enough fabric in the skirts, and that apron is silly. All of these are easily remedied. The blouse can be easily modified for longer sleeves; eliminate the elastic. The roll-brim hat is very silly; I made mine half the diameter the pattern specifies and it still looks overwhelming. The cover picture doesn't really display this hat to its full (ridiculous) potential. Did middle-class women actually wear these hats? I thought this style was a guy hat. The French Hood is quite pretty, but not appropriate for a peasant costume. I'm just wearing a snood with this outfit. I have objections to the tied-shoulder sleeves; they have a distinct fantasy medieval feel. The very itty bitty sleeves on the more formal over-gown are entirely too short and have no over-sleeves, though both of these flaws are easily dealt with. The outfit is very comfortable to wear, with a flattering silhouette for a larger lady like myself. I enjoyed sewing it all.
This is Simplicity's basic Renaissance dress. View B is, judging from the cover illustration, meant to be the standard 1530's Tudor gown. The pattern is not historically correct. It's a simple pattern; I had no problem altering it to make it more acceptable and I have no great skill at pattern drafting. I took in the bodice substantially and altered the sleeve shape.
#7761 - Men's Renaissance Costumes (Out of Print)
Lorraine Carson - Not Recommended
I made View B. I don't like the way this turned out. It's not flattering. It looks skimpy. It's supposed to have lacing across the front; I didn't put it in because I was so disappointed in the finished garment. It is easy but, what does that matter when the finished garment is ugly?
Amanda Jakubowski - Highly Recommended
I made the View A shirt. It was very easy. If you are making this for someone larger, make sure to fit the neck band, or it may be too small. Also, lengthen the sleeves. I don't know why they made them 3/4 sleeves. I just looks silly the way they made them.
#8192 (formerly #0653) - Misses' Renaissance Costumes (Out of Print)
Ann Shearer - Highly Recommended
It was easy. I made View A for my daughter and did embroidery decoration on the front of the bodice. The result looks just like the photo on the pattern cover. Ann's daughter is in the dress in the photo to the left.
Trystan L. Bass - Recommended
I made View C (gown only). This is a very easy, very fun gown! It has simple lines with not many seams. The drawstring neck and loose body shape make it good for many sizes. This style is great for fantasy outfits; ether use the bodice as-is or pair it with a corset or waist-cincher (which is what I do). Trystan is pictured on the right.
Dianne Lanning - Highly Recommended
Easy. I made View C bodice and gown. The gown was super simple and no trouble at all. The bodice had instructions that sounded like some odd construction, and as an experienced sewer, I doubted them. Since the material I was working in was inexpensive and I had plenty of time I went ahead and just followed their instructions one step at a time. And they were right. It was simple and effective. I have since used the little bodice pattern to solve (cover-up) a fitting problem on an old Regency gown!
#8375 - Misses' Victorian Walking Costume (Out of Print)
Joyce Turowski - Recommended
This is an 1890's walking dress. I made View C without the sailor tie. The pattern is easy to follow and goes together fairly quickly. I made a few changes so it took me longer than it might if you follow the instructions exactly. The pattern calls for a zipper in the back of the bodice, and a bustle. I made it with a hook and eye opening in the front and eliminated the bustle. I used purchased bias hem tape to finish the hem and used braid trim. I found that it is fairly easy to move the bodice opening to the front by cutting a separate facing that is as wide as the neckline (be sure to remember the seam allowance). I first tried just cutting the pattern pieces a little wider than the seam allowance and folding the fabric over to create a facing, but this didn't seem to provide enough stability for a hook and eye closing. I thought that the separate, wider facing gave better results. The skirt and peplum are supposed to be cut longer in back to accommodate the bustle. Without the bustle, the skirt will have a demi-train or you can use the front peplum pattern piece and the side skirt pattern piece to trace new hem lines if you want to make the peplum and skirt the same length all the way around.
#8399 (formerly 0673) - Misses' Costume, The Titanic Gown (Out of Print)
Monique Motyl - Highly Recommended
This is the Titanic dress pattern. I made Gown A. It went together so easily. I followed the instructions exactly and had absolutely no problems. The pattern pieces are really just rectangles. I only made one teensy change; I shortened the shoulder piece. Suzanne Ramsey is wearing the dress Monique made in the photo on the left.
Deborah Borlase - Not Recommended alone.
I found a website online which showed the original dress. Good thing I had a friend help me with the research. Together we determined that there are two skirts, not just one with trim attached, the back is a V-neck. The top should be completely fitted, not gathered around the neck and waist as the pattern was designed. The underdress should close in the back, the overdress closes in front. The pattern was wrong on nearly all counts. However, I was informed that this pattern is really pretty decent for Regency. I happened to have the Butterick Regency pattern #6630 which I was informed was horrible for Regency, but pretty good for the Titanic Jump dress.
To make this properly, use the following:
Underdress bodice: use the Simplicity underbodice for the underdress lace (soft tulle lining) but make sure that the closure is in the back, not front. I never did complete the undersleeve, but I can tell you right away that the pattern was wrong, and will need to be changed. Change the back neckline from round to V-shape. Underdress skirts(s): use the Regency skirt pattern, but modify the skirt shape from bell to A-line, bringing the line back in at the waist. For the length of my top overskirt, I think I did 10 inches from the edge of lower skirt. I lined both with beaded fringe. Overdress bodice: use part of the Simplicity underbodice as your overbodice, drape the sleeve as best you can, being sure to remove fullness. Remember again to change your back neckline to V, and remember that the closure in the front should be with a button & a LOOP (I was thinking buttonhole, but forget that, beaded fabric won't let you). Overbodice skirt: the lace again is lined in soft tulle, use the Regency pattern to get your waistline width, use the Simplicity pattern to get the lower shape & adjust.
What I failed to do before cutting into my expensive beaded fabric was make one MORE mock-up to check the fit & how I would close the bodice. With all the pattern modifications I made & fitting adjustments that weren't tweaked all the way, my dress ended up 2 sizes too big. In addition, I didn't test the beads before I drycleaned them. The next time I make this dress, I now know all the changes that will need to be made & start from scratch. But at the least my mock-ups provided me a new Regency & Fantasy dress that just need to be finished up out of the whole project. Pictured above-right.
#8615 - Begotten (Out of Print)
Janet Croft - Recommended with reservations.
A very attractive shirt, but the collar does not fit well. It's way too tight to button the top button comfortably. It also has a fairly snug fit through the body and, therefore, is not suitable for swordplay unless the body is widened.
#8619 - Begotten (Out of Print)
Janet Croft - Recommended
I made View A. It's a good dress for a romantic & doomed character like Juliet. I made it in crushed velvet with matching sheer sleeves, which made the neckline a bit bulky to work with easily. I added some beads to the ends of the sleeves to make them hang nicer. Note that if you're making it for a petite actress, you'll need to adjust the proportions of the sleeves so they won't be overwhelming. It was very effective in the mad scenes when she slipped it off one shoulder and untied the bow I added to the front.
#8629 - Retro Costume Collection, Theresa La Quey Dress (Out of Print)
Sally Norton - Highly Recommended
I made the 1940's day dress. It's a very easy pattern and with accurate instructions and a good fit. It does, however, have an extremely long skirt pattern piece. In the 1940's day dresses were worn at the bottom of the knee, not the ankle. If you follow the pattern piece, you'll have a lot of fabric to cut off and throw away. The sleeve seam is also dropped to low for the 1940s; I raised it higher. I also added a belt. The result is a very pretty, flattering dress.
#8640 - Retro Simplicity, Titanic Dress (Out of Print)
Kij Greenwood - Recommended
This pattern is a good start for making your first teens ensemble. It goes together quickly and easily. The peplum looks particularly nice. I made a few changes to make it more historically accurate. Instead of elastic, I pleated the skirt and attached it to a waistband. I also narrowed the sleeves. Instead of the bodice insert, I made a simple under-bodice, then I finished the front edges of the jacket with an interfacing. I moved the skirt swag to the center front (instead of the side) and changed it to pleating, instead of shirring.
My guide for making these changes was Patterns of Fashion 2 by Janet Arnold. The skirt of this pattern is similar to the 1913-14 dress shown in illustration 22A. Kij is pictured in the photo on the left.
Annette Stubbs - Recommended
Intermediate level. This pattern lends itself well to a variety of fabrics, pattern changes and creative trimming. I made it from a "well-known film" midnight navy velvet and followed the pattern instructions closely. Most directions make sense (when they are thought out) and the pattern pieces fall together nicely, tailoring to fit the modern form. The only issues I had were minor. The side-closing on the tunic calls for a zipper, but as the waist is fitted and sewn to the peplum, there's not much room to pull it over your head!
Since I was sewing this at midnight the night before an Ascot event, I was zooming around and mistakenly put the zipper in upside-down. Surprise! It worked! (Is this how great inventions are created?) I think the theatrical style of see-saw hook and eye would work well, too. The underskirt length can hang longer than the overskirt, but careful hemming will solve this problem. My skirt is made of a heavy navy bridal satin, but perhaps a material with more give would be more comfortable for movement (the skirt is in the hobble style, and one must adjust one's footsteps to walk accordingly. The tassels do make it fun to walk in). The cummerbund sash defines the waist, and can give that "waspish" look. Overall, even under time constraints, this pattern sews well, is flattering, and creates the right look without wearing foundation garments. Pictured in the photos at center and right.
#8643 - Retro Simplicity, 1930s Afternoon Dress (Out of Print)
Gladys Campbell - Highly Recommended
I started with the short sleeve version and put it aside. This sleeve is not correct for the 1930's. It is a 1940's sleeve shape. You can see an example of this sleeve on page 52 of Our New Clothes: Acquisitions of the 1990's, The Metropolitan Museum of Art. The dress shown on page 52 is a day dress designed by Valentina, made of black wool crepe. I made View A and was very pleased with the result. The dress drapes beautifully. The shoulder drapery and fabric flower are lovely. The dress is cut on the bias. Only experienced sewers should attempt this. Working on the bias requires a lot of fabric, patience, and careful easing of the fabric; in addition, the style of this dress is perfect for sheer, thin fabrics which makes sewing even trickier.
#8715 - Misses' Renaissance Dresses (Out of Print)
Jennifer Child - Highly Recommended
I have made this pattern (View B) twice successfully. The skirt and chemise are very simple and went quickly. The bodice took a bit more effort, but could be accomplished by a patient beginner. Because it has eyelets both at the front and at the shoulders, it is very easy to adjust the fit, so in that way it may be a bit easier than other bodice patterns.
#8725 - Medieval Costume Collection, Martha McCain Designs (Out of Print)
Kim Burnham - Highly Recommended
I made the under-dress, View B, but, changed the sleeves. The pattern has long, tight sleeves buttoned up to the elbow. I cut long, draped sleeves I copied from a tapestry image. It wasn't difficult. The dress is heavy to wear because there is so much fabric in the skirt. Kim is wearing her dress in the photo on the left.
Jessica Koeppel - Highly Recommended
I made the under-dress, View B. It's very easy but, it takes an enormous amount of fabric. The side panels are made from huge pieces of fabric. Pictured in the photo on the right.
#8735 - Misses' Renaissance Costumes, Ever After Dress (Out of Print)
Frannie Germeshausen - Recommended
I made View A (it's my "Courtly Love" gown and will be worn in Venice at Carnivale 2003). It's not for the historical purist; it has bust darts, and sits off the shoulder. However, it is really pretty, and wasn't that hard. It's not for a total beginner, but it would probably be good as someone's first "hard" project. The pattern pieces fit together well; the instructions are detailed and have lots of helpful information. The pattern includes a cutting good layout. All this helps a garment with a lot of pieces go together fairly easily. The skirt has a lot of fabric in it, and two layers of it at that, and it all gets gathered onto the bodice. My machine strained getting through all the layers. I'm not sure why the trimming didn't match up the way it was supposed to (and was shown in the photograph on the pattern package). You're supposed to get an effect of the trims crossing at the center front of the bodice. Something didn't get measured right. The gown also ran a little it small which surprised me, because commercial patterns are usually huge on me. I was planning using back lacing instead of a zipper, so the fit adjustment wasn't a big deal. This gown is advertised as a wedding dress (so it calls for a lot of trims) which gets expensive. If you're considering making this gown, what for trim sales and stock up. Frannie is in her dress in the photo on the right.
Teddy ??? - Highly Recommended, if you don't need absolute historical accuracy.
These are the Ever After costumes. I made View A as a wedding dress for a friend. She chose cream and metallic gold brocade for the gown itself, dark blue-green silk dupioni for the underskirt and neckline infill and gold silk organza for the false chemise sleeves. The only problem I encountered was the V neckline gaped at either side above the breasts. I solved this problem by pinning darts running from the neckline above the bust down towards the armpit in the calico/muslin fitting try-out; then I left these pinned in place when I unpicked the calico to use as a pattern. The resulting pattern piece looked very distorted in the armholes when it was laid flat, but fit perfectly and smoothly when cut out and made up. The bridesmaid made up the View B bodice with the View C skirt and chemise sleeves which are the same for all three views, but in View C they isn't an over-sleeve. She used the same green silk dupioni as the bride's underskirt and more of the gold silk organza. The chemise sleeves had to be shortened and taken in a lot because they were too full when constricted by over-sleeves; they billowed out around her arms like balloons. I suspect this was partly due to the silk organza. A softer fabric with more drape, such as a sheer cotton, would be less puffy. Both dresses were extremely easy to make and quick to make up. Both looked lovely and were comfortable to wear an entire day (ceremony, reception, and celebrations afterwards).
Katrina Blodgett - Recommended
As noted, this is the Ever After pattern and I used it to copy the dress for my Halloween costume (the wings are a whole other story). The end product was lovely and very recognizable from the movie. It was fairly easy to cut out and to sew, and the directions were readable. I am extremely small busted so I had serious fitting problems with the bodice. I ended up adding two huge darts in the back. As a result, the neckline -- which is designed to be off-the-shoulder anyway -- would not stay up. I had to add straps to hold it up (or flash the world). However, this is a problem with my body not with the pattern itself (although what woman with a 30 inch bust has a B-cup; which is what I understand the patterns are drawn to?). A problem with the pattern itself is the lower gauntlet (I don't know if this is the proper term, maybe it's the over-sleeve). I am fairly small, but, the gauntlet was too small to fit over my hands. I had to undo half the seam and put hooks and eyes the attach it. Even that was too tight, and I ended up leaving it open, which didn't look very good. I would highly recommend measuring your forearm before cutting this pattern piece to ensure that it will fit comfortably, especially as much of the sleeve fabric will be bunched underneath it.
#8739 - Retro Costume Collection, 1920s Dress (Out of Print)
Christine James - Recommended
Be sure to check your measurements carefully and match them as closely as possible to the pattern sizing. You might even consider cutting a size smaller in the bodice pattern piece. I found the bodice pieces ran very large; I had to take the side seams in a lot. The dress went together very easily and I'm pleased with the result. It's very pretty, comfortable to wear and especially flattering. Christine is pictured in the photos to the right.
Athene Kovacic - Recommended, with a caveat.
There are so many things to like about this pattern, not the least of which is that it's easy and all the pattern pieces, including the gorgeous back drape, go together perfectly. But to say that this pattern runs large is putting it mildly. It runs GIGANTICALLY large, and simply cutting a size smaller probably isn't enough to fix the fit. The other problem is that because the pattern is really more '20s evocative, rather than '20s accurate, even if you size the pattern correctly you'll have to do some fudging to approximate a correct period fit, and if you don't fit it, it hangs like a schmatte. However, if you're willing to put in a little extra thought and time, the result is terrific, especially if your body type is more curvy than the preferred '20s silhouette. I ended up taking a kick pleat on the side seams at the hip bone (eight inches each side!) and whipping a small rhinestone ornament on top to take in the dress so it sat properly. The pleat actually gave it a more accurate line, since the hip was now snug and the bodice bloused a bit, but was still smooth at the front. But in the end, it looked great and the wearer loved it, and that's all that matters, really.
#8750 - Misses' Costume, Gothic Renaissance Gown (Out of Print)
Victoria Meyn - Recommended
This pattern is an Simplicity's interpretation of a 1770 gown. The photograph on the pattern package shows the dress as vampire or renaissance wear. It is a wonderfully easy pattern; great for beginners with lots of drawings. The instructions are well written. The top can be made from one yard of fabric (sizes 10-14). I didn't bother lining it. I just turned under the exposed seams adding lace. For a one-day event this worked well. Fitting: It seemed that the finished top was too big. The back drawstring/lacing placket doesn't work very well, using ribbons for the loops. I suggest making it and taking out an inch or two in the center back panel and making twice as many loops for the drawstring; thereby, making the bodice more fitted.
#8776 - Simplicity Top (Out of Print)
Victoria Meyn - Highly Recommended
Oh, what to wear to the Great Gatsby Picnic sponsored by the Art Deco Society? Hum? I made the top only from this Simplicity pattern. It fit the look I was trying to achieve. I scooped the back out and went bra-less (what a scandal!). It was incredibly simple to make and fun to wear. It was worn with a crème satin pleated skirt. I made a pink satin sash with roses. The front of the bodice is shown in the photo on the left. A close-up of the cut-out back is shown on the right.
#8851 - Misses Costumes (Out of Print)
Amanda Jakubowski - Recommended
I made View A - Little Red Riding Hood. The shirt went together well and looked just like the picture. The skirt went together easily, but is VERY short, so make the bloomers unless you want to show your panties (without bending over). The waist band was a tad tight, which was a bit weird. I had some trouble with the bloomers. I couldn't figure out the turn-elastic casing-ruffle edge. I just added a bias tape casing with also created the ruffle, but made the bloomers a little tight. The cape with super easy, and is a good reason to buy the pattern. The vest and cape together used 3-1/4 yards, yet the cape didn't look skimpy. I did have some trouble with the bodice (vest). The instructions weren't clear and I didn't have a lot of time to fiddle with it. It came out FAR too big. I had to bring it in 1-1/2 inches on each side and had to bring up the straps and 1 inch. I would have also boned the front, as it kept riding up. Otherwise, a cute pattern.
#8855 - Misses Celtic Costumes (Out of Print)
Rachel Franklin - Recommended
On the whole, I liked this outfit quite a lot. There are just a few things that I'd change. When putting the vest together, I would turn it through the bottom, instead of the strap, and put the boning in and bind it last. The finished product will be much prettier that way. Also, I did not cut the skirt darts; they're not authentic. If you're wearing a large hoop, add another panel to the skirt. This pattern did make up nicely, and I was satisfied with the results.
#8871 - Costumes for Grim Reaper, Hippies, Catwoman, Wizard, Doctor & Ninja (Out of Print)
Cassandra O'Connor - Recommended for beginners.
I made the Wizard's Robe. I thought it went together very well and very quickly. It's not authentic in the slightest, but it is easy to make. I used panne velvet and it looks great. I think for a beginner it would be a lovely costume to make (although I don't think it's at all appropriate for SCA/re-enactment use). Experienced seamstresses will want to alter how the hood attaches and maybe make it more generously-cut from the waist down.
#8881 (formerly #0679) - Misses' Elizabethan Dress Costume, Shakespeare in Love (Out of Print)
Rachel Franklin - Highly Recommended
I made only the bodice and top sleeve of this gown, but I was very satisfied with it. The directions are clear and the pattern pieces went together nicely. I made this bodice for a Civil War ball gown, and the seam construction didn't need to be altered. The back seams curve outwards and the front is gored. I did eliminate the zipper and put buttons down the back. I also cut the dip in the bodice narrower. Altogether, the finished garment is very pretty. Pictured at right.
Teresa Liao - Highly Recommended
When I first used this pattern, I was not a new sewer, but I was entirely new to costuming. I made every piece in the package and, although I would never do my own farthingale again, I gained a lot of knowledge from the experience. Since doing my first costume I have used this pattern again with wonderful results. The beauty of it is that as I have learned more about costuming, it has been very simple to adapt this pattern and add some of my own variations. For example, on my last gown I lowered the neckline, made puff-and-slash sleeves, and rather than sewing the sleeves onto the bodice I made sure that they tied on.
Kristina Pohl - Highly Recommended
This is the Shakespeare in Love dress. I must say that I'm very, very happy with the pattern. The only glaring faults (in my eyes) are the curved seams and the attached chemise sleeves. To alter the pattern, all I did was take the center front piece (which has straight edges) match it up to the front side pieces and chop off the curves to make a nice, flat front. It worked great. The only problem I had with it was the ease. I measured myself over my Elizabethan corset, and discovered that rather then needing a size 18, I only needed a 14 for it to fit right. Go figure. I also am going to make the front point very short (as soon as I get more piping), so it's more of a Tudor/Early Elizabethan style. It's really easy to put together. The instructions for all of it are wonderful. I've only been sewing for a year, so even novice sewers can do this one with confidence. The only thing I'd recommend is making a muslin of the bodice first.
Elizabeth Freiheit - Highly Recommended
It was a great pattern for me (with less than 1 year sewing experience). I made the bum roll, but decided not to wear it. I bought a great hoop skirt for $25 on eBay (half the price of the steel hoop boning required to make it). The leader of my Renaissance singing group told me that I needed to use a heavier fabric for the skirt than prescribed in the pattern. As a result, I needed to create a better closure system at the back. I flattened the shape of the bodice to make it more Elizabethan. In addition, I had to take off at least 2-3 inches of the bodice to make it snug enough. I made the under-sleeves detachable and then sewed chiffon chemise sleeves to the bodice under the puff over-sleeves. I'll probably replace the chemise sleeves with an entire chemise. I haven't gotten around to adding all the jewels and pearls. This dress took quite a bit of time, but was really worth it.
Maryann Mecca - Recommended
I made the skirt. As with most Simplicity patterns it is straight forward and relatively easy to follow. There is an inherent problem in the design. The finished waistband is only approximately 1" wide which is not nearly enough to support the weight of the skirt and give enough room to add sufficient closures. The first time I wore the skirt, the hooks bent open and the skirt came off (an embarrassing moment). I ended up adding 2" to the width of the band and replacing the two skirt hooks with 4 coat hooks. It hasn't come off since. The instructions for the cartridge pleats were easy to follow, and posed no problems. I did substitute small buttons in the front for the beads called for, as I did not think the beads would be secure enough to hold. The pattern also called for snaps to close the back. These were omitted as I did not think they were necessary. Looking at the photo, they weren't. There was another problem. The skirt was not full enough to fit over the bum roll (pattern and instructions included). I added an extra piece 43-1/4 wide to the back. This helped considerably although the bum roll still did not look right. Determined not to take the pleats apart again for more alterations, I gave up on it figuring I had my own "natural" bum roll built in. The underskirt is made from the same pattern as the farthingale (easy to follow). I would recommend here that the underskirt be made a bit larger than the farthingale for a better fit.
See photos below under her review of the bodice of the #9832 Misses Renaissance Costume pattern.
#8910 - Holiday Skirt, Cape and Vest (Out of Print)
Rachel Franklin - Highly Recommended
I made the single cloak out of some leftover black wool (last minute project!) and was very satisfied with the results. Instead of putting trim along the edge, I made a machine hem along the bottom and a hand hem along the sides. I used a hook and eye closure, but changed it later for a pewter Norwegian clasp. The men's vest is a breeze; I completed the main part in one evening! It fits well and looks very nice. Rachel is wearing the cloak that she made in the photo to the left. Steve is wearing the vest that Rachel made in the photo to the right.
My favorite fiddle player saw my tablecloth dress (Butterick 6195), and offhandedly commented, "that would make a nice vest." A couple weeks later he was wearing it. I did a lot of piecing to match the print, and had just enough fabric. Hint: if you're doing something like this, and shopping for it on a road trip returning from a holiday, get a yard or two more than you think you'll need. The pattern is easy to make. I made it reversible so he gets two looks for the effort of one. Pictured at below-left.
Sally Norton - Highly Recommended
I made the skirt and the double cape. Both patterns are simple to make and would be ideal projects for a beginner. The pattern specifies a casing with elastic in the skirt waistband. I changed this; I gathered the skirt, cut the waistband to my measurement (also cutting interfacing), attached the skirt to the waistband, and finished it with a hook and eye closure. The pattern for the cape is unlined; I added a bag lining and an interlining (for extra warmth). I'm delighted with the outfit and plan to make another cape and then the vest. Pictured on the right.
Patricia Cannata - Highly Recommended
I made the double cape and changed it slightly adding extra length to both layers so it provides all over warmth. Very easy pattern. Perfect for a beginner.
Kathleen Crowley - Highly Recommended
It is an excellent pattern with good instructions and illustrations. The finished garments (I made all three) look just like the photo on the package. As you can see in the photo, I chose to pleat the skirt and attach it to a waistband instead of making a casing for an elastic band as the patterns describes. This is a good pattern for a beginner. Start with the cape (it is the easiest) then make the skirt and last, make the vest. By the time you've made the vest, your confidence will have soared. You'll have succeed at three garments and be hooked on sewing. Janet and Vaughn are wearing the pieces Kathleen made in the photo to the right.
#9045 - Retro 1960s/70s Gown and Vest (Out of Print)
Trystan L. Bass - Recommended
I used the full-length, princess-seamed vest pattern to make an over gown for my Lord of the Rings inspired elf costume. The vest made up easily. It's all simple, long pieces. The princess seams are flattering, and this basic style lends itself to ornamentation.
#9058 - Renaissance Costume Collection (Out of Print)
Deborah Brady - Highly Recommended
Very easy. I made View A. It does take a lot of fabric. The skirt is VERY long. I cut a lot off and it's still very long; I have to hold it up in front to walk. The most time-consuming part of the construction is sewing on all the fur trim. The fit came out just right. It's very comfortable. Deborah is wearing her gown in the photo on the right.
Mary Acuff - Recommended
I tried to do a little altering to this gown to make it more historically close to the Burgundian Houppelande. It did not turn out as well as I hoped but, it works well for a person who wants the general look of a Medieval gown.
#9221 - Retro Costume Collection, Regency Dress and Spenser (Out of Print)
Lorraine Carson - Highly Recommended
Both garments are easy to make. The pattern pieces fit properly and the instructions are thorough. I made this for a friend who wears a size 10. It's a perfect fit. The skirt is smooth in front and gathered at the sides and back which is correct for the Regency era. The dress closes at the back with a hidden zipper. Changing the closure to hooks and eyes or buttons would be easy. Lorraine's dress and spenser are pictured in the photos to the right.
Amanda Jakubowski - Recommended
I made View C. It's easy and cute. The neckline is a little low, but not too bad. Watch out when gathering the bodice; if you don't gather evenly you'll look lopsided. I had to rip it out and re-gather a few times. Otherwise, it went together easily.
Jennifer Child - Highly Recommended
I had no trouble with this pattern, it went together very easily. I altered the back so that instead of a zipper, it closes with buttons. I also decided to make a back and side back piece instead of gathering the back. These alterations were easily made. It would be easy for a beginner to make up this pattern. Her dress is pictured in the photos to the right.
I actually took the effort to pick apart my dismal failure of a dress last weekend, with some surprising pleasant results. I discovered that I merely over-compensated the first time through. When I originally made the dress, I had lowered the waist band because my measurements showed that the pattern's waistline would be far too high (after all, it's not the dress that is supposed to be pushing things up). It turns out that I could have lowered it by half as much as I did. Once I raised the waist band so that it fell to my natural under-bust line the dress looks quite lovely; and, of course, being a Simplicity pattern the directions are very easy to follow, The construction is simple enough for a beginner (as long as you don't have my odd measurements). Careful measurements and adjustments would probably also need to be taken if you are planning on wearing a Regency corset under this dress. My Regency corset raises my under-bust line a good three or four inches, which means that instead of lowering the pattern's waistline by an inch or two, I need to raise it an inch or two.
Jana Keeler - Highly Recommended
This is an excellent pattern. The instructions are well written and the pattern is well-drafted. I had no problems at all. It makes up into a charming dress. Highly recommend: This is a very easy pattern to use. I pretty much sewed it straight from the pattern and instructions in a size 18. It is a low-cut dress so the easy solution is to add a scarf that goes around the back and front and tucks into the front of the bodice for daywear. You could also find a very cute high-necked blouse pattern and make a "dickie" or false blouse without sleeves and leave sides open. Add ties that wrap the blouse around each side and tie.
Wear very good support undergarment or regency corset to wear as ball gown or do a muslin and add more fabric to front to bring the neckline up a bit. You could also add a fabric piece straight across the front. The only change I made to the jacket was to add self-fabric covered buttons to close the jacket and I added just a little bid more to the jacket back to make it dip a little lower. Photos at right.
Mary Alice Ladd - Recommended, with reservations.
Overall I'm happy with gown I made from this Simplicity pattern using a silk sari with gold embroidered border. My reservations are mainly fit issue with the bodice. The bodice is very low cut. I'm very small busted and wear padding in most of my costumes. So I raised neckline some to cover my undergarment/padding. I should have made test muslin, but did not. When I sewed the neckline banding to the bodice I discovered I had not raised the neckline enough and undergarment was peaking out and bodice and was gapping in front. I ended up adding a wide lace inset across the bodice front to cover undergarment and fill in gap. The pattern is well drafted, the instructions are clear and the construction is fairly straightforward. However, I would not consider this a beginning level pattern, because of need to make test muslin and have the skills to make any alterations to bodice. For beginners, I highly recommend the Sense and Sensibility Regency Gown Pattern. Pictured at right.
#9256 - Elizabethan Costume Collection (Out of Print)
Monique Motyl - Highly Recommended
I made View B with slight modifications. It's a very easy pattern; the pieces go together perfectly and the fit required minimum adjustment. This was made as a fantasy gown to represent Edmund Spenser's Faerie Queen. The peplum was put on a separate waistband and cut with a curved line to suggest butterfly wings. With the corset, chemise, skirt, and peplum all separate, there are now 4 pieces that can be combined to create several different gowns. In fact, the corset and skirt are going to be worn as a ball gown. Pictured at right.
Shawn Tribe - Recommended
It's not accurate in the least, but with a few changes, it is very nice. The corset portion of the bodice should be elongated unless you are very short-waisted. It is very short as-is. The bodice is fully lined and boned with twill tape channels sewn to the lining. The gown is more flattering when the waist tabs/short flounce-skirt are removed. Just finish the edges of the corset as you would any other finished seam. The peplum shown in View B can also be removed and, instead, just sew the sleeves into the arm-hole opening like a blouse. With these changes, this can pass for Renaissance at a faire after eliminating the skirt's zipper. The pattern runs large in the bodice.
#9452 - A Collection of Capes (Out of Print)
Frannie Germeshausen - Recommended
I made cape View A, which has a hood with a deep ruffle. I was really pleased with the result, but this takes a vast amount of fabric (in my case, 6 yards each of wool and crepe-backed satin -- a ton of fabric to have piled in your lap when you're sewing). The instructions say to line the hood with the cape fabric. I used the same lining as the body of the cape. As my cape is wool, I think the hood would have gotten too bulky to attach to the cape if it had been two layers of wool. I also used a frog closure instead of a ribbon at the neck. The only problem I had was after almost 2 weeks of constant wear in the damp air of Venice in winter, it seemed to have stretched a bit at the shoulders. It should have had some sort of stay-stitching to counter the weight of the fabric. I have very authentic mud on my hem. That said, it's a very dramatic and beautiful cape.
#9699 - Costumes on Stage, The My Fair Lady Dress (Out of Print)
Yvette Keller - Highly Recommended
I made View C. This Teens era dress goes together beautifully, but you definitely have to make an adjustment if you are tall. The skirt is quite short. The pattern does not include finishing instructions for the inside waistband. The collar is the easiest collar I've every made. Pictured in the photo on the left.
Frannie Germeshausen - Recommended
I made View C.The dress turned out well and is very comfortable to wear. I realize that real teens era dress construction is extremely complex, and that this is a much-simplified version. This pattern has lots of dots to match. I donıt like dots. I either: 1. forget to mark them; 2. mark them and the marking rubs off by the time I get to that instruction or 3. the mark never wants to come off at all. I prefer notches. This pattern has notches, some of which are never referred to or donıt seem to match up with anything. Sigh. A few other peeves: The bodice has a lining installed in such a way as to only give a clean finish around the neckline where it shows. The inside of the bodice has unfinished seams galore. And, the inside of the waistband is unfinished so the interfacing is exposed! Very strange. And, the instructions for the collar were sequenced in such a way that the lace trim would have ended up turned to the inside. So I left it off. I like the clean look of the stand up collar without the lace trim anyway. There are a couple other places where the instructions seem to wander off like that. And, the illustrations donıt help much. I did something deliberately differently;I lined the underskirt. I looked at the long, curving front hemline and thought Iım not gonna hem that bias-y mess. It took about 3 yards of fabric, but it took a couple of minutes to finish the curving front hems instead of an hour or more (with lots of cussing). All that said, I like the dress, it went together in a weekend, and might consider using the pattern again to make one of the other views. Pictured in the photo on the right.
Jana Keeler - Recommended
When I saw Frannie Germeshauen's gorgeous dress at the Belmont Stakes event (see photo above) I was hooked. When Frannie told me it was a Simplicity Pattern but, it had been discontinued I went home and tore through my old patterns--yep--I had bought it a while back. Yipee! I haven't been sewing for myself for quite some time and when I decided I was going to Costume Con in Utah my friend Christine offered to help me fit and sew some new costumes. Since it was two weeks to the convention I knew I needed something simple. I chose this as one of the dresses I would sew. Literally I sewed this, and Simplicity's Cold Mountain (4900) dress, in one weekend with Christine and her mom's help. As I looked for appropriate fabric I saw a bit a claret peeking out at me from the remnants table. It was a medium heavy curtain/upholstery fabric with a luscious floral scroll pattern. For the lining I chose a shot taffeta in the same color family. Now, on to the pattern! I changed the pattern to open in front instead of the back with a zipper as called for in the pattern. I also needed to draft it up one more size than the pattern was available in. I am NO pattern drafter or scaler. Buy some pattern-making fabric (it's a light, see-through fabric with red dots available at Jo-Ann or Beverly's) and simply draw another size up by imitating how they graded up the other sizes. Great thing about the pattern-making fabric is that you can then baste it together and use it as your muslin, make your markings and you have a fitted pattern piece. As I went to cut out the pattern I realized I was going to have to match the designs on the fabric. Oh my god--what a pain--but, the result was great. I did lengthen the skirt as I don't like the look or feel of shorter skirts. I added to the collar height when I drafted up---I should have only added width. It reminded me of a tall Dracula collar but, it does fall over well and looks pretty. I flat lined the bodice to save time so I had to fudge sewing the inside of the collar down to make it look better. I sewed the skirt and the lining right sides together then turned and pressed, leaving the waistband open. I did the same thing with the peplum and then sewed them to the waistband. It looked wonderful and meant no hemming. On the inside the waistband is left exposed. You could cut a piece to sew on top of it if it bothers you. I also made the sleeves narrow towards the wrist to add a bit more authenticity (but historically accurate this ain't folks!). We sewed large skirt hooks and eyes down the front to close. We covered buttons with the beautiful lining fabric and added them to the front as a nice detail. The instructions call for you to "sew-down" the skirt where it crossed over itself from the waist to just where the hem starts to curve. I didn't want to do that and breathed a sigh of relief when the hooks and eyes held the skirt closed and gave a very nice drape to the skirt. I found this pattern to be very easy. I would like to make it again when I have more time to add all kinds of other fashion details when I have more time to sew. It is a discontinued pattern but you can email Simplicity (and Butterick and McCalls) and ask by pattern number if they have any left in their stock.
#9716 - Teens Era Bridal Gowns (Out of Print)
Lisa Dyrke - Highly Recommended
There is a fashion plate from La Mode Illustree that closely resembles this dress. Refer to Dover Publications Wedding Fashions - 1860-1912. I altered a few features to be more accurate but, overall it is a very simple gown to assemble. I made a slightly gathered bodice instead of the fitted one (omit the darts), changed the sleeve by using only the straight under-sleeve on View A, and rounded the front neckline. Due to time constraints, I did install a zipper up the back (gasp!).
#9761 - The Fashion Historian: Martha McCain - Misses Civil War Day Dress (Out of Print)
Natasha Birt - Recommended
Beautiful pattern, so had to try it. I love that the big three are finally putting a bit more thought into the historical costumes. I found it an easy pattern if a bit fiddly (button loops and the edging). Think it was a bit oversized, used a 14-16, even though the pattern recommended an 18. The Primary modification made was in the skirt. I did it without the layers since I needed a skirt that was wearable with my early period reenactment. The corset suited my hourglass figure very well, though I did get many "prow of a ship" comments. The chemise on the other-hand found a bit undersized, very tight around the upper arms. But came out lovely. I used my 16th century drawers and Spanish farthingale for the hoops. Pictured at right.
This is the new Civil War gown. It is the very best of the very few Simplicity patterns I have ever worked. I made different sleeves, didn't use the peplum, and didn't make the skirt. I TRIED to use the peplum but it wasn't flattering. It either needed more or less fullness. I ended up with an improvised tail at the back. The sizing was fairly accurate. Pay attention to the bust darts; they are appallingly high as you can tell by the dimples in the photo on the cover of the pattern. I dropped the darts by 1.5 inches. Everyone is using this pattern, and despite the changes I made, each time I wear it someone comments that they are making the same dress.
Annette Stubbs - Recommended for very experienced sewers (actually, only recommended for the bravest seamstress).
I haven't finished this yet, but at this point I can honestly say that this pattern will take a great deal of time and patience. The directions include many instructions that are unnecessary and not useful. They are confusing and time-consuming. An experienced seamtress could work around them. If you want to make a very impressive and magnificent costume, this is it.
M.A. Porter - Recommended
I used this bodice pattern for my wedding ensemble (very late 1800s-ish inspired, mostly). I made modifications to the sleeve (it was June, after all) and the front closure; and minor adjustments to the side seams so the bodice would fit over my corset. The peplum was fiddlely but, my bodice is finished. My bodice is finished exactly the same on the inside as on the outside (essentially, it looks reversible except in the sleeves). I used two sets of old shoulder pads instead of making the bust pads (that are part of the pattern). The shoulder pads substitute worked fine. Her dress is in the photos to the right.
Monique Motyl - Recommended
A muslin is an absolute must for the bodice. It does fit beautifully and will look just like the photograph but, the peplum is very tricky. The peplum is cut in a circle, then you fold/press it into a triangle and attach it to the bodice. Attach it first by hand-basting. It is very hard to work the fabric into the bodice. You'll pin, re-pin, baste, re-baste, press, machine stitch. It is worth the effort. The final result is flattering and elegant. The skirt is straightforward but, takes a loooong time. You will get sick of sewing around and around and around. The skirt takes a lot of fabric. Once it is put over a hoop, this is a dress that takes up a lot of room. If you want to make an entrance, this is a dress for you.
#9764 - The Fashion Historian: Martha McCain - Misses' Civil War Crinoline and Petticoat
Aylwen Garden - Highly Recommended
The hoop is lovely. It feels nice and light. I used steel from Farthingales. It was easy to put together and easy to get out of; although, not quite so easy to sit in a chair. Take a cushion with you and this will be great for picnics.
#9769 - The Fashion Historian: Martha McCain - Misses' Civil War Drawers, Chemise, & Corset
Megan McHugh - Recommended
This is the new Civil War undergarments pattern. I made the corset. I measured, but I did not take the squish factor into consideration properly, and so I think it made up a bit large. I have to still pick it apart and take in a bit on the bust-line. I also shortened it, as I am short-waisted. That is probably why the waist is larger. I shortened out the narrowest part of the corset as my waist is large anyway. I think the finished item is very comfortable, and looks good. I just need to take in the bust to eliminate the extra room (and very visible ridge under clothing) across the bust. I also made it out of two layers of coutil instead of making it a single layer as described in the pattern instructions.
Lisa VandenBerghe - Highly Recommended
I made the chemise and drawers from this pattern. I altered the chemise pattern quite a bit, taking up the length, making smaller sleeves and arm bands, narrowing the neck band and adding a drawstring to make it slightly adjustable. The underarm gussets were a little tricky. The drawers made up quick and easy and provided a great opportunity to try some new hand sewing techniques along the leg openings. I also added some arrow pin tucks below the knees. They are both comfortable and I am happy with the results.
Alexis Snell - Recommended for beginners who don't want to buy a historic pattern online, but rather buy one of the commercial patterns at the local fabric store.
This pattern was my first corset. I found the pattern to be very clear and relatively painless for an inexperienced corset maker; despite the fact that my pieces weren't cut perfectly, the finished corset still looks wonderful. Bear in mind the age old Simplicity rule and make this pattern at least 2 sizes smaller than it says you should. (It's extremely easy to take in, just alter the center back panels.) The bust is very generous, which is great for busty women. The corset was easy to bone and bind. Be sure that your bones are at least .6mm thick otherwise, they will kink in the front. Overall it's a good pattern to get started on; however, there are a few things about this pattern that really throw us beginners. First, the lack lengthen/shorten lines make it rather difficult to alter the pattern. Second, they could have specified a little more clearly on the exact placement of the eyelets. I spent hours agonizing on how to perfect their spacing. Third, they need to mark the waistline on each of the pattern pieces. This would make reinforcement much easier. In retrospect, I have found that the Laughing Moon Victorian Underwear pattern shines through where this simplicity version falls short. However, for most of us who don't live in big cities, the Laughing Moon pattern is rather pricey and not readily available, whereas the Simplicity pattern is a great thing to pick up during a Joann's 50% off pattern sale. For those who are uncertain about ordering corset making materials online, the Simplicity pattern can be inexpensively constructed from things at the local fabric store, such as cotton twill and featherweight boning.
Angie Brumm - Highly Recommended
I was a first-time corset maker, and I thought this corset went together relatively smoothly. I did make a muslin mock-up first, which helped me decide which size to make. The measurements said I was one size larger than the size I ended up making, and it fits me perfectly, so the pattern seems a bit big. I wrote the names of each piece on my tissue paper pattern pieces, which was very helpful when I was putting pieces together. I did want a lined corset, so I doubled over the pattern pieces. I used q fairly stiff cream duckcloth. Be aware that you have to figure out which is the top side and bottom side of the corset. I figure I spent about 15 hours total- planning, cutting, mock-up, final version. I am pleased with the finished product- it fits me very well and seems durable. I'd recommend this pattern to anyone wanting to make an 1860s corset. It looks quite nice under historic clothes.
#9832 - Misses Renaissance Costume (Out of Print)
I made the bodice with a few alterations. I made it shorter so it was waist length, added boning, and replaced the cuff with a circular ruffle. The instructions do not call for boning in the bodice. I assume this is because the top is attached to the skirt and the skirt holds the bodice in place. The pattern was rather straight forward and the instructions easy to follow (as Simplicity usually is). I did find a design flaw in the collar. The instructions called for interfacing, crinoline, two layers of fabric, embellishments and ridgeline boning. Constructed as directed, the collar's weight was too much. It continually flopped back onto the shoulders. My remedy was one layer of latex, one layer of cut velvet and extra boning. 1/4 flat steel was used in place of ridgeline. (I have a personal aversion to ridgeline, although here it may have been a better choice). This reduced the weight of the collar considerably and it held (somewhat). For some reason the collar does not lie perfectly flat as in the picture. This was a pleasant surprise. It gives a bit of fluff to the look and becomes helpful. I installed a snap on the underside, attaching it to the bodice. Now the collar does not fall. One small note: for those who can not tolerate anything around their necks, this is not the pattern for you as the neck band is the primary support for the collar. The bodice, if cut to pattern, is incredibly low. So low in fact, that it would have ended up under my bustline instead of over it. I added 1-5/8 to the pattern piece and a row of trim of the finished garment. It is still so low, I needed to alter a bra to wear under it.
#9836 - Girls Renaissance Costumes (Out of Print)
Elizabeth Chapman - Recommended
I made several of View B for a middle school production. It is a very simple pattern. All the kids looked good in the dresses. The total effect was very pretty.
#9887 (formerly #0614) - Unisex Costume Hooded Capes, Lord of the Rings
Teresa Liao - Highly Recommended
This pattern was so simple to put together and turned out well. I'm sure that it is not historically accurate for any time period, but as a quick addition to a sci. fi. or fantasy outfit, this hit the spot. See the cape in the photo next to her #9891 pattern review.
This is one of several patterns intended to replicate costumes from The Lord of the Rings. The four views in this pattern include Gandalf's robe, the Ringwraith's and Eowyn's cloaks and a basic Ranger outfit. I used View B with the front sewn closed to make a passable faux Houppelande for my husband. This pattern may actually be a bit confusing for experienced sewers, since the mode of construction involves treating the front and back of the garment, each as a unit instead of sewing the torso and setting the sleeves into an armscye. The instructions do work if you follow them and temporarily put aside what you know about more normal construction techniques.
#9891 - Misses Costume Gowns, Lord of the Rings
Gladys Campbell - Highly Recommended
I made View A. This is a very easy pattern. All the pieces fit properly and the instructions are excellent. I made a couple of changes and these were easy to do. These changes were personal preferences, not due to any errors in the pattern. I reduced the fullness in the front of the skirt so the dress hangs straighter and smoother in front. I added a pleated godet in the center back of the skirt creating a subtle, sweeping train. The pattern calls for the neck drapery to be gathered at the shoulders; I preferred it laying flat. Pictured in the photo on the left.
Teresa Liao - Recommended
This is a very simple pattern, however, it doesn't even begin to be historically accurate. I made View C with straight sleeves. What I loved about it was the inset high collar. If you make it out of the same material, it is not so glaringly obvious that the cut is all wrong. I also changed the sleeves to a close fitting goblet style, just out of personal preference. Pictured in the photo on the right.
Amanda Jakubowski - Highly Recommended
I made View A. It is another very easy pattern. You can cut it out one day; then sew it the next day. It went together with almost no problems. The neckline was a bit low and had to be raised (this may have been because I didn't add the drape). The sleeves are very droopy and dramatic. I have gotten many compliments on this dress.
Trystan L. Bass - Recommended
I made View C. This is such a pretty gown! I made it for my Lord of the Rings inspired elf costume, and I will make it again for both costumes and everyday wear. The pieces went together smoothly (even though I challenged myself by using stretch velvet). I modified the sleeve ruffle for a more fanciful look. The princess seams are flattering and give a beautiful swirl to the skirt. A couple caveats: the pattern runs a little large, so carefully compare your measurements with the pattern pieces before cutting (or do a muslin). Also, the neckline of View C is very wide, just as pictured. If you have narrow shoulders or are petite, you may need to modify it so the shoulders don't slip down. This pattern is very popular for Lord of the Rings elf gowns. There are instructions for using this pattern to make Arwen's Chase Gown from The Fellowship of the Ring.
#9929 - Misses Renaissance Faire Maiden Costumes (Out of Print)
Elizabeth Chapman - Recommended
I made View C. I made several of these these for a middle school production. It is a very simple pattern. I altered the sleeves. It is surely not authentic but, very effective for a fairy-tale type show.
Stacy Rinner - Recommended
It is beautiful when all finished no matter what color scheme you use. It is open for all sorts of adorning. The only complaint I have is with the fit of the bodice. The stomacher/center piece does not often line up so well with the remainder of the bodice; nor are the measurements satisfactory. One has to make sure: check, double check and triple check the fit and the measurements of person who is going to wear the costume. The sleeves are a tough spot. They are a bit narrow and smaller than normal women. The sleeves require some serious close attention. Otherwise, I have been told that the gown fits well enough. Just the bodice has some kinks to work out which I advise for those of you wanting to work on this outfit.
#9966 - Misses Fantasy Costumes
Fun outfit. Easy enough to make adjustments. The material yardage is a bit off. On average you mighy want to add on at least a yard's worth on each of the articles of clothing you intend to use. I generally used the Chemise and Bodice. The Bodice works splendidly with little adjustments. Carefully check the measurements of the person who is going to wear the garment. The Chemise leaves tons of room for creativity. But beware; it can be time-consuming and expensive. You can use either elastic or drawstring with it. A drawstring is not really recommended on the sleeves.