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i want to start using antique patterns and i have found some freebies. i am working on a polonaise for my daughter and having trouble with the back. the ladies treasury has the pattern. the perplexing part is the bottom of center back #3 to the side back #2. what sequence would the seams be stitched in? is there any resources that explain how to understand antique terms?


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  • 985f0154fdefdf284531d76b36fbffee7a42548e_large

    Feb 4, 2010, 10.15 AMby katexxxxxx

    Patterns like this, when originally published, were intended for use by professional dressmakers who wouls know the construction order and method without having it spelled out, so they often came with nothing! Annoying for us…

    OK, looking at the pattern, I would say that you need to sew the CB seams of piece 3, both bodice and skirt sections, and form the pleats…

    Sew the CB section of piece 2, and sew it to the back at the side/back seams… Form the pleats in the skirt.

    Baste all the pleats in place so that they don’t flap about and get in the way while you sew the rest.

    Tghinking about it, if you are lining this, you’ll want to make up the lining and the outer, and then put them together before forming the pleate. or you could flatline the back…

    1 Reply
    • Morticia_large

      Feb 4, 2010, 02.48 PMby ana555

      the back of the skirt (#2) is pleated to the the same size as the CB before the extension? the CB extension is my problem. i had it sewn together down what would be the center of the extension but it didn’t seam right. i moved the seam around literaly and the excess formed a nice inverted pleat. it looks like it is sewn to the skirt and the “tabs”? are folded back and held in place by buttons. i’m not lining it because there will be a dress under it, not just a skirt. the picture is a little misleading, because it doesn’t show all the seams. i didn’t realize pleats are in the back. i should have, it is the best way to distribute extra fabric, i think. thanks for taking a look katexxxxxx. what is the oldest pattern you have used?

  • 985f0154fdefdf284531d76b36fbffee7a42548e_large

    Feb 4, 2010, 04.58 PMby katexxxxxx

    Yeah, I think so… But don’t press the pleats. I don’t think the tabs are folded back, just left floating. remember that the skirts are tucked up at the sides to form the polonaise…

    Dunno about the oldest pattern… I’ve used patterns taken off extant Elizabethan and medieval clothing before now, though. And patterns taken from diagrams in 17th C tailors books rather than published as paper patterns.

    1 Reply
    • Morticia_large

      Feb 4, 2010, 07.15 PMby ana555

      thanks for helping out! i noticed the sides of the skirt after i put it together. it should fall together easily now.

      i just started sewing last year, but i’ve always wanted to. the very 1st things that caught my eye were the civil war dresses and military jackets. this will be the oldest pattern i’ve attempted. i like the tudor style of dress too. i might try that later, but victorian is my favorite. i thought about looking for one of the model doll dresses they use to use, but i can’t afford that. i see a lot of influences of period clothes in modern clothes. maybe the most accurate place to get antique patterns is from books. nothing wrong with that!
      thanks again, i really appreciate it!

  • _mg_9402_large

    Feb 7, 2010, 10.04 AMby missoceanpink

    Hi, I have just posted a link in the classified section of our Burdastyle forum, before seeing your post here. Its a link to a web site that has links to tons of fantastic FREE vintage pdf down loads or read on line BOOKS on Pattern drafting, Dressmaking,Sewing, Lace making, millinery and lots more.http://www.fashionstudentsonline.com/. you will find what your looking for there. Good luck with your project. xxx

    1 Reply
    • 20150117_152733_large

      Feb 7, 2010, 06.54 PMby mlssfshn

      I had discovered this site as well it’s a great site and a great reference for other site I think they’ve been live for a little over 6 months.

  • 1ea8f961776a5fe83ce32501b0f5b0b7d32f5d9d_large

    Feb 7, 2010, 05.35 PMby oscarthegrouch108

    i was a civil war re-enactor with my mom for a long time growing up (from about 5-19), and helped make quite a few of my dresses. there’s something special about putting on a civil war ball gown and getting dolled up for a ball. i also got interested in the Napoleonic era with the empire waist and little to no corseting (much comfier than the Victorian contraptions!). i haven’t used any period correct patterns, but i did make a few lengthened Danielle’s, and they’re pretty darn close.

    other than that, the oldest pattern i have physically used is a simplicity skirt pattern from 1957, that belonged to my grandma. i was (eerily) the same size as she used to be, but now i’m a bit bigger.

  • Packfanweb_large

    Mar 2, 2010, 09.15 PMby heathertweed

    Hi, thanks for the Fashion Student site link it looks very interesting. This is a very good book on structuring etc & might help, not sure if it’s only in UK though?http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/2940373752/ref=sib_rdr_dp

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