Altering a colonial dress

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I need to wear a Colonial Dress (Virginia circa 1781)
once a year, on October 19. Rather than make or buy one
new, I found an authentic one in a bargain shop. The
bodices is a bit snug, but okay for one day, but the
arms' eyes are way too tight. It is okay if it is not
Authentic; I need to have freedom of movement. So, how
does one get the extra ease in that area?

In the interest of full disclosure, I must say I tried
the dress in a hurry. The changing room was hot and
small, and it was July! So, now I checked it out and
realized that a previous owner had altered it, from
about 10 to 12. The alterations LOOK good, but the arms
eyes are the original size.

Here is a Pegee Pattern that is similar to what I have.
The shoulders and arms are the same as on my dress.
http://www.pegee.com/patterns/ladies_dress.html

Advice welcome and appreciated.
Thanks, PAT in Virginia

Re: Altering a colonial dress


Pat in Virginia wrote:
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Can you find fabric in a similar color (or use Sharon's
method and "steal" some from the skirt) and add a gusset to
the underarm area of the dress?  It might be possible to add
a small gusset from the front notches, around to the
mid-back of the armseye.

Beverly



Re: Altering a colonial dress
Beverly:
Thanks so much! I can probably steal or find some
appropriate fabric.

I'd been thinking of a gusset that runs from the waist
to the hem of the sleeve, a long narrow diamond shape,
tapering of course at the two ends. Your message seems
to suggest I add a crescent moon shape added to the
bodice, under the arms eyes. (where one would have
...uh ... perspiration stains if one  forgot to wear
shields.) Did I understand this correctly?

This is uncharted territory for me, so I would like to
know which of these (or other) options is the best one.

Thanks very much. PAT

BEI Design wrote:
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.........cut....I need to have freedom of movement. So, how
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Re: Altering a colonial dress


Pat in Virginia wrote:
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Apparently I misunderstood your problem with this dress.  I
thought the armseye was cut too high, and restricted
movement.  If the bodice and sleeve are both *too tight*,
then your solution of adding width with a diamond-shaped
gusset from waist to cuff of the sleeve would, probably
address that.

Beverly



Re: Altering a colonial dress
Well, the bodice is tight, but manageable. The sleeves
are tight. I think the main problem IS the arms eyes
with restriction of movement ... too high I guess, or
maybe too small. This dress was made for a more
sedentary woman. I work out at the gym, so need more
room in the arm areas. Thanks for your assistance,
Beverly.
PAT

BEI Design wrote:


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Re: Altering a colonial dress
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Pat the following site may help you with adding gussets to solve the armscye
problems.  If it is just the armscye itself that is causing lack of movement
then I'd just add the diamond shaped armpit gusset but there are a range of
other gussets you coul duse.
http://books.google.com/books?id=Qerw0CilbY0C&pg=PA82&lpg=PA82&dq=armscye+gusset&source=web&ots=stqcg5ktkj&sig=S81qgdze6yvmOz_jhvKOAzAdDe0#PPA82,M1




Re: Altering a colonial dress
Thank you for the link. It is always helpful to review
and visualize a seeing technique. PAT

FarmI wrote:

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http://books.google.com/books?id=Qerw0CilbY0C&pg=PA82&lpg=PA82&dq=armscye+gusset&source=web&ots=stqcg5ktkj&sig=S81qgdze6yvmOz_jhvKOAzAdDe0#PPA82,M1
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Re: Altering a colonial dress
Pat wrote:
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Looks like it would be dead simple to add more fabric in the front
bodice, as well. (I vaguely recall a colonial dress my mama made for
me...grade 3? age 8??...with a chest insert just like the pattern
shows, and horizontal rows of lace stitched on top.

Might work to slash the sleeves on the outside, and add an insert that
matches the bodice.

A Civil War dressmaker friend says "they always altered their dresses"
as the wearer (out)grew them, the garment was passed along, etc. Can't
hurt to look different from Everyone's Favorite Colonial Pattern, no?

HTH

--Karen D.


Re: Altering a colonial dress
A prior owner did add a matching plaque (finished
strip) to center front. It was neatly hand stitched
over the former closure. I can and will remove and
reposition that plaque to add a bit of ease while still
keeping the former closure under cover. I need to wear
this on Friday, so I guess tomorrow I will have to
finish. I'll let you know how it works out.
Thank you! PAT

Veloise wrote:

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