Thursday, January 16, 2020

Using Color Analysis For Your Historical Costumes:

The colors we may be drawn to might NOT be those that look best on our individual skin tone, eye color, and hair color. 

Whether you are fair completed, beautiful brown tones, or gorgeous chocolate, there are colors that will make you look more radiant. Just look at the picture of Imma Stone to the left!  I've seen her blond and I've seen her as a redhead and she just GLOWS as as a redhead! 

In the 1990s “Color Analysis” was all the rage. I actually had my colors  analysed and I am a Winter Palette. My tones have changed as I aged. My natural hair color is a deep brown with auburn highlights. As I've aged, I am completely white at the temples then salt and pepper. I looked like the bride of Frankenstein so I warmed up my hair color and lightened on top and add a tint on the front to blend the gray.  Even though my hair color has changed, my skin has remained the same, so my Color Season hasn't changed. 

While Color analysis might have been popular in the 1990s it is still used in fashion and design. I use it for my client’s when choosing the main color for their costume commission.  

When you are wearing the colors that match your individual skin tone you will look more alive, fresh, and attractive! When you are wearing a color that doesn’t match your skin tone, you can look sallow and tired.


The simplest test uses a plain white piece of paper. Hold the paper up to your face and compare how your skin looks in contrast to the paper. If your skin looks yellowish, greenish, or light brown, then you likely have a warm skin tone. If your skin looks pink, rosy, or blue, then you have a cool skin tone. If your skin looks gray or ashen, then you are a neutral skin tone. If you have a skin condition like acne, rosacea, or if you are extremely tanned, ask a friend to use the paper test on the crease behind your ear instead, which is less likely to be affected by these variables.

Next, flip your hand palm up and take a peek at your veins in the hand and wrist. If your veins appear to be blue or purple, you have cool skin. If they appear green, then you have warm skin. If it's hard to tell one way or the other what color they favor, then you have neutral skin.

How does your skin react to the sun? People who tan easily instead of burn usually have warm skin tones. People who burn rather than tan usually have cool skin tones, although sometimes women with dark ebony skin that doesn't burn can also have cool undertones. People who are neutral may fall into either group with regards to tanning or burning, but neutrals will not have any obvious appearance of olive, yellow, or ruddy skin.

There are FOUR main color Seasons. Each has 3 sub-categories:

1 – Cool and Brilliant = Winter
                Clear Winter
                Deep Winter
                Cool Winter

2 -  Cool and Delicate = Summer
                Light Summer
                Soft Summer
                Cool Summer

3 – Warm and Rich = Autumn
                Warm Autumn
                Deep Autumn
                Soft Autumn

4 – Warm and Fresh = Spring
                Clear Spring
                Light Spring
                Warm Spring

Your Seasonal palette is determined on your skin tone, eye color, and hair color.

Let's Start with WINTER: 


 Next Let's look at color palettes for SUMMER:

The next Palette is AUTUMN!

The last palette is SPRING! 

Monday, November 5, 2018

Northwest Pirate Festival July 2019: Non Pirate Option Costuming for Women

Credit Unknown
The 'pirate' garb sold at renfaire, and in costume stores, isn't historically based. However, your level of historical accuracy is an individual choice and we aren't criticizing - just educating. 

Ladies - if you plan to base your female character on a townsfolk other than a "pirate" (menswear) I have some suggestions for you.

You may wonder how THIS picture (left) fits into a piratical theme? Hollywood has heavily influenced our concept of what a "pirate" should look like. So has the commercial "costume" industry. Striped pants torn at the bottom, huge feathered tricorn hats, and hooks have become the "uniform" look; however, there isn't a uniform or a "look" that pirates would have worn. They were every-day men (and a few women) who took to pirating - but their clothing would be styled after the clothing available from the time period. Black eye patches, striped pants, fancy frock coats, feathered caps are Hollywood's invention.

If you are like 99% of the Rennies I have been talking to you may be completely clueless about what pieces you need to add.

As I told the gents in my other post - - Start EARLY! If you commission garb your seamstress will be grateful for the early start and you'll save yourself the headache.

Many of us, myself included, got VERY excited about this particular faire when it was announced. The 18th Century is hands down my absolute favorite! You may find that odd since the majority of my commissions have been for the 16th Century - but that's due to popular demand, not a lack of knowledge or experience. Because the 18th Century is my favorite, I have squirreled away lots of information (and fabric and shoes) hoping for the opportunity to wear such costumes.

The theme for this new venue is 1719 - Golden Age of Piracy. The setting will be a port town. You will find villagers, and merchants, sailors, pirates, and perhaps a few bawds, some ale-house wenches and pubs, and people from mostly the working class. The temptation to wear a upper-class or court gowns will be great for some of us who adore this time period, but there are no nobles - no visiting royalty - and certainly no members of court wearing ball gowns in the middle of the day!

The characters you will see will range from a few middle class - with modestly better clothing in printed cotton to lower or working class in linen and wool, and even the poor; but the majority will be the lower classes. These are earthy people! Doing earthy jobs! Wearing natural fibers such as linen and cotton prints. Silk court gowns with flounces and such are not practical - nor will it fit in the theme of a pirate festival. Upper class MIGHT be seen boarding a ship as a passenger, but this will be the exception rather than the rule So rather than fancy gowns worn by the elite of society - lean toward lower to middle class as depicted in the pictures I have included herein.

So, the question many of you are asking is:  Can I wear my Rengarb for my 18th Century character?

You can ultimately wear what you want, but if you want to portray a character that reflects the 18th Century, your typical Renfaire garb will be off the mark. BUT you can use certain pieces, and make additions to your wardrobe that are fairly easy to accomplish for the DIYers.


Most of the "pirate" characters you see at Renfaire are loosely based on 18th Century styling rather than the 16th Century so there is a lot of confusion - especially for women about what styles to wear. If you plan to base your character on an 18th Century townsfolk rather than just the ubiquitous "pirate" - I recommend you keep your garb as simple as possible. Not everyone in a port town would be pirates! If you watch/watched Black Sails there were more people than just the pirate crews. The women in this series didn't wear silks and frills - not even the wealthier characters.

So with THAT thought in mind, let me offer you some suggestions and guidelines on how you can take pieces from your Renfaire garb and make some simple costuming additions to move your character into the 18th Century. Remember: Our Renfaires take place in the 16th Century - approximately the 1570s. The clothing for 1719 will not look the same!!!

Let's start with some visuals for working class women and girls:

Credit Unknown
There are some absolutely GORGEOUS examples from "Diary of a Mantua Maker." I found these images below on her blog:  They feature jackets worn over your stays and skirt.

Add a jacket, an apron, and a neckerchief to your renfaire garb! Hike up your skirts to make them shorter - and show those ankles! Add a layer or two of white petticoats! These are simple Hacks you can employ to stretch your existing garb.

For those who want to have garb that is separate from their renfaire garb - Here's what you will need.

An 18th Century Pair of Stays:  - - Not Victorian - or a corset that cinches you in around the middle and cups your breasts.  You need a pair of stays like the pair shown - Either with full channels (as shown) or half the amount of stay channels (known as half-boned).

18th Century Stays by Christine Helman
ECONOMIC HACK:  You may be able to cheat and use your renfaire "bodice" for your stays (corset) and wear it underneath an English gown or a jacket.

18th Century stays are not an easy project for someone who isn't proficient with pattern altering and fitting and general corsetry. I recommend you commission a pair. But if you need to stretch your budget, you can use your Renfaire bodice as a last resort - - BUT it needs to be covered up!

Stays have a lower neckline than some bodices - so your bodice may sit higher. It will depend on your individual garb.

Full channels (a.k.a Full Bones) are more expensive. Most shops sell half-boned stays for the same amount as we sell our full-boned stays. However, I caution you about vendors on Etsy who are based in places like the Ukrane. I hear the nightmares all the time.

Having a pair of stays that fits YOUR shape is necessary for comfort. The lavender and cream pair pictured are 'double' laced - in other words they are laced in both front and back. This is more convenient when dressing yourself.

Stays by American Duchess
To the right are a pair of "half boned" stays that were made by Lauren from American Duchess. You can see there aren't as many channels.  If the proper fabrics are used, you can get away with half-boned stays. These are back laced and you will need help getting in and out of them - but half-stays that are front laced will work great!

If you want FULL support, then the full-stays are the best choice. By the way, Metal Stays are NOT necessary for better support - and they aren't as comfortable as synthetic whale bone or industrial cable ties.

A proper set of stays, those made to fit YOU, can run from $700 to $350 - but the lower price point are usually half-boned stays.

We allow payments, and there may be others who will do so as well. Shop around and READ their reviews. Our schedule is pretty full, but if nothing else we can steer you in the right direction. So before you purchase stays see if your renfaire bodice can double as stays - but if you purchase stays send us a picture of their work and we can tell you if they are from a reputable vendor.

Our price point:

Fully-Boned Front and Back Laced:  $339.00 and up to $380.00

Half-Boned - Front Lacing:   $229.00


A jacket will be the one piece you can invest in that will allow you to wear your Renfaire bodice and skirt.

These jackets are NOT that difficult to make - for those of you who sew your own garb.

You'll want to stick with linen. Stay away from synthetic fabrics or anything from the upholstery section.

There are several styles to choose from. The style pictured to the left is called a Pierrot Jacket. They have a ruffed peplum in the back, are worn with a stomacher tucked behind the laces, and with 3/4 length sleeves that are SEWN into the jacket - rather than detachable.

This particular style is actually one you would see worn later in the 18th Century, but it can pass!

Pattern is by JP Ryan.

It only comes in single sizes rather than multiples but they are an excellent source.

These black and white drawings (below) from the pattern cover show the different styles that come in the JP Ryan pattern.

WARNING:  Stay away from ANY patterns published by "Reconstructing History!" also known as "RH."

RH patterns are a waste of money!!!! Absolutely horrible drafting and most of the pieces don't even fit together properly. There are MANY other better resources whose customer service is actually available to assist you.

Save yourself the stress!

Fashion Petticoat or Underskirt:
This particular look (pictured left) is more upper middle class as she is wearing panniers (pocket hoops). I am offering this pic as a visual of what the petticoats of that time period looked like in comparison to 16th century skirts. 18th Century were shorter.

They are different from 16th century; however, you could conceivably use your renfaire skirt - - so long as it is not a tiered skirt like the gypsies wear.

Rather than draw string or pleated in a circle and attached to a waistband like we see at Renfaire they were slit on each side. This is to accommodate your tie-on pockets - and panniers for the upper class clothing styles.

Here's a tutorial on the construction:

English Gowns a.k.a Robe a l'anglaise:
This English gowns as seen in this pink striped example were a staple for the 18th Century women's wardrobe.

They were worn with an apron. The apron wasn't always just white, it could be a contrasting color or print.

Two styles of Robe a'la Anglaise:

View A is moving toward middle to upper class. But View B is a good resource for both lower and middle class - though may take a bit more experience.

Here is the link to the pattern.  Again, all of JP Ryan patterns come in single sizes rather than multiple sizes. You need to go by your CORSETED measurements!! And by "corseted" I mean wearing a proper pair of stays.

If you do NOT want to invest in an historically accurate pattern, American Duchess has two patterns that can be used - with a bit of alteration:

Leave OFF the ruffle around the chemise neckline and sleeves! - and add a bit more fullness to the skirt. Add a neckerchief, and a few more accessories and this pattern will work well.

There are some hacks available for this pattern to make it more historically accurate and to give you some style options such as "winged cuffs."

Download the PDF file handout here:


Linen fabrics are a staple used in the 18th Century. They will last longer than cotton - - provided you launder them properly. By that I mean:

-  Never wash your linen garb in the machine - always hand wash by soaking in warm water.
-  Never use harsh detergents - Stick to OxyClean.
-  Never put your linens in the dryer.
-  Never use bleach or bleach for colors.
-  Rinse them in 1 cup of vinegar and 1/2 cup Salt to help set your dyes.

There are some linen-cotton blends that sell for approx. $8 a yard. Stay away from synthetic fibers such as polyester. You'll roast!

You are not limited to plain or solid colored linen - Striped linen is/was available, and checked cotton aprons are an option!  - as seen in the picture to the right.

Burnley and Trowbridge has some gorgeous striped linen. I purchased this beautiful linen from them for my English gown.


18th Century chemises were draw string - BUT the sleeves were not as bloused nor were they as long. They were 3/4 length and shorter in order to fit into the snug fitted sleeves from this time period. American Duchess has a pattern for a chemise that is VERY good!  -Much better than the one with the ruffles around the neck that came out a couple of years ago.


 If you have visible tattoos on your forearms or wrists, a pair of Mitts will be an essential addition! Since chemises do not reach to the wrist as they do in renfaire garb, and gowns and jackets only reach 3/4 length, a pair of mitts will help you to meet Fair Board's costuming guidelines which may prohibit visible tattoos.

Larkin & Smith has a pattern that you can use. Lightweight linen can be used - unless you know someone who can knit - in which case, they need to start selling them on Etsy - - like right now because I need a pair!!!


Credit Unknown
You can make your own kerchief by cutting out a square of fabric 36 x 36 inches and hemming the edges. You'll want to use a sheer cotton voile or a lightweight handkerchief weight linen.

If you aren't a DIY'er and cannot sew straight seams - you can purchase some authentic 18th Century printed kerchiefs through Burnely & Trowbridge. The cool thing about these neckerchiefs is that you can use them as hair coverings styled for 1940s vintage.

They also have a white pair that can be used to create the looks you see in the pictures I've included throughout this post.


Women wore caps. If you don't plan to wear one, I would recommend putting your hair up - - See Hairstyles below.

Caps were worn for every day, but straw hats known as "Bergere" or Shepherdess hats were also fashionable.

FashionableFrolick on Etsy has some nice quality Bergere hats for retail.


Just keep it simple! You can pull your hair up or wear a pretty coif cap with a silk ribbon.

If you don't have long hair, or a lot of hair, hair pieces will be your friend.

Here's a couple of hair tutorials that may help.


Last, but not least - Shoes! Wear something comfortable. You can absolutely wear your rengarb shoes!

American Duchess can kit you out with a beautiful pair of historically accurate shoes.

The nearest to the time line of 1719  would be her "Frasers."  Inspired by Outlander, these shoes harken from about 1740 - 1750.

They do sell for a premium, but she DOES have a layaway plan. You can split your payments up into 3 monthly payments.

Jas Townsend sells a low-heel version of latchet shoes for those who don't want a "pumpkin" heel like those by American Duchess.

Another source for reenactment shoes are found at the following link.

They are a bit more reasonable at $118.15.  They only come in single sizes  in comparison to American Duchess who offers half sizes.


Unlike the gents, there really aren't any ready-made resources I would recommend for women's clothing for this time period.  Unless you plan to wear men's wear!  In that case, a pair of britches and a men's waistcoat is an economical option.

Again, to repeat my opening statement: 'pirate' garb sold at renfaire isn't historically based. However, your level of historical accuracy is an individual choice and we aren't criticizing - just educating.

Northwest Pirate Festival July 2019: Quick and Dirty Men's Garb

It's November and the last thing you're thinking of is new garb, right?  I mean, we're just trying to muddle through mid-term elections without completely alienating friends and some relatives, or we're saving our pennies for Turkey day and Christmas!  But - Trust me, the early bird gets the worm!

If you're planning to commission work - - DO IT NOW! - If you plan on hiring someone (preferably one who has knowledge about historical clothing and the styles for EACH time period), I am confident she/he will be grateful that we schooled ya on starting early.  Please...please...please do NOT wait until June to start trying to commission new pieces! For quality work, you WANT to give your seamstress time.

You gents are lucky because there ARE reasonable ready-made sources for you! - And I've included the info and link in this blog.

If you're a DIYer nothing is worse than tackling a NEW era that you have never tried before. What fabrics?  What pattern? What colors? All these can be a bit overwhelming. Give yourself a head start. I know it's often the Cospay way for many to wait until a couple of weeks before an event and then live on RedBull and 5-hour-Energy and no sleep. But be kind to yourself.

So, for those who have NO FREAKING IDEA what to wear for the new Northwest Pirate Festival - - We are here to give ya a boost. Guess what?  Guys have an advantage over the women because they don't have to start from scratch!  You can still wear your shirt and your breeks (britches).  I am going to give you some suggestions on how to use MOST of your Renfaire garb and just add a couple of pieces to move you forward into the 18th Century.

The theme for this new Northwest Pirate Festival is 1719 - Golden Age of Piracy.  Think "Black Sails" for inspiration. This is the 18th Century - - NOT the 16th Century (1570s) like we portray at Washington Midsummer Renaissance Faire and Oregon Renaissance Faire. We will be portraying a port town. Most of you will be portraying villagers and merchants. Come on now - - not everyone would be a pirate! Use your imagination!

While Black Sails would probably be closer to our theme - the clothing is not altogether accurate (if you care about that kind of thing).  So long as you stay away from the Halloween or Party City version of pirates - with the striped pants and black eye patch you're on the right page.

PIECES TO ADD:  Waistcoats!


The Outlander time period begins at 1743. It's about 20 years later than our time period of 1719 - however, men's clothing from the 18th Century period really didn't change all that drastically - with the exception of the Frock Coat. So much of the clothing from the First Season of Outlander is easily reproduced with commercial patterns.

Minus the plaid, this waistcoat (vest) is a PERFECT addition to your reenactment wardrobe.


You can purchase this historically inspired pattern at your local JoAnns - or snatch it up online.
Minus the kilt, the waistcoat, overcoat, and men's shirt and cravat (neck tie) are spot on for villagers and merchants among both the working and middle class.



If you have either of these patterns below in your stash, or would like to add them they are still in print and are also quick and dirty (i.e., fairly easy) costumes to reproduce:

The coat in this Butterick pattern above (left) is MUCH much later in the 18th Century, but the waistcoat, shirt, and britches are passable for pretty much any time in the 18th Century.

NEXT. . . Of course this Simplicity pattern is the quintessential costume everyone wants. But - - Skip the dredlocks, head kerchief and all the waist scarves and this pattern is actually very good.

The flap front britches are exceptionally good for a commercial pattern. They will take a bit more skill to accomplish, but are a good reproduction overall for the quick and dirty category.


Stick to LINEN or WOOL fabrics boys!  Stay away from bright brocades, polyester, and upholstery fabrics. You are not portraying an 18th Century Macaroni (word for fop), but more importantly this faire will be in July and upholstery weight or polyester fabrics will make you sweat WORSE. You are the salt of the earth - Villagers, sailors, and yes. . . pirates, so go with earth tones and earthy natural fabrics.

A great resource for linen and wool fabrics, which I use exclusively are found in the links below:


Linen is a FAR superior fabric than cotton. Trust me! If cared for properly - and by that I mean NEVER, ever machine wash, use bleach or bleach for colors, fabric softeners or harsh detergents and never machine dry, your garb will last years longer than cotton. I recommend OxyClean in warm water - not hot.

7.1 oz or Heavy weight:

Heavy weight is good for frock coats and jackets.

5.3 oz or Middle weight:

Middle weight is great for britches and waistcoats and britches.


Wool Gaberdine is best. Coating wool will be far too thick.


2.8 oz or Handkerchief weight Linen.  This "Optic White" 100% linen has a very nice hand. The weave is a bit tighter than the "Bleached" version and makes wonderful shirts and neck ties.

For those who cannot DIY - or mayhaps need something more economical than having a customized, tailored piece Jas. Townsend can hook you up!




Next piece to add:

A necktie!  But wait!  - Neckwear for the 18th Century were not the same as your grandpa's neck ties! 


Here is a link to a video that will educate you on 18th Century neckware:

You can purchase neckerchiefs through Jas. Townsend or make your own!

For our time period at the Northwest Pirate Festival, this particular neckerchief is a standad - but they are made of silk which might not be practical:

Neckwear for this time period were not just limited to white!!  Here is a beautiful print in cotton:


Burnley and Trowbridge have some gorgeous neckerchiefs. You can fold them up and use them as a men's kerchief like seen in these following picture:

They are also great for women's neckerchiefs:

They are 36 x 36 inches, but if you find some smaller cotton kerchiefs you can wear those as well.  Stay away from the "bandannas" you see used in Westerns.


So there you have it guys. With just a couple of additions you can take your Renfaire garb forward to the 18th Century!

Questions?  Commissions?

Find us on Etsy!!

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Outlander American Duchess Simplicity 8161: TUTORIAL BODICE "B"

Hello Time Travelers!

I'm starting this working class bodice and stomacher commission soon for a client who wants me to reproduce the Outlander costume in the picture to the left.

I will be using the American Duchess Simplicity 8161 as a base, but will be making my own alterations, or "Hacks" as Lauren calls them, to make the pattern more historically accurate - But because my alterations to reproduce this look are rather extensive, I won't be including them here. I'll save it for ANOTHER tutorial for more intermediate sewists and costumers.  THIS tutorial is for the Novice or someone who is new to costuming, and new to historical fashion.

In addition to MY own alterations, I am including Lauren Stowell (American Duchess') "hacks" which are available in PDF form in a link. Once you become more familiar with some of the techniques you see here, you may wish to take up the challenge and REALLY take your historical accuracy further using Lauren's instructions.

Why am I writing this tutorial? Basically, for those who are new to costuming, and even newer to sewing. Some have expressed difficulty in following the Simplicity instructions. Since they stopped offering Home Economics, many of the upcoming generation of sewists are not familiar with many of the terms in the instructions. But, more so, they, like me, are visual learners. We learn by doing! I struggled in college with "book learning." How I maintained a 4.0 is beyond me. I had to work extra hard. I learn better by listening to lectures OR visual instruction. My auditory recall is excellent - which is why I excelled as a medical transcriptionist. I am severely left-brain challenged. No seriously! This is why I found learning to flat draft patterns using measurements ONLY very challenging. It took me a YEAR before the light bulb finally came on. Reading from books to me sounds like the teacher in Charlie Brown cartoons.... "Wah...Wah...Wah...Wah...Wah?" This is a challenge indicative to right-brained dominant people. So, I have offered to write this tutorial to assist those of you who need more visual instructions and less "technical" jargon to construct the Outlander pattern with some historical touches added here and there.

Now, if your goal is for a higher degree of historical accuracy, this tutorial won't accomplish that. What I am offering are some doable alterations that a novice can use to alter the pattern that will make your American Duchess Outlander costume a bit more passable. If you're looking for historical accuracy, I recommend J.P. Ryan or Larkin & Smith patterns. Some have expressed that they cannot afford these patterns; so if that's the case, then it IS possible to make alterations to the American Duchess Pattern, but it will take some rather extensive redrafts. This tutorial is a good stepping off place.

But before we start! . . . PLEASE do NOT cut your pattern out of your fabric yet! There are steps to take FIRST!  If you have already done so, well?. . . you won't' be able to make the alterations for historical accuracy. :( But you can keep reading, as there is valuable information you will glean.

By the way, please feel free to post any questions you may have in the comments and I will do my best to answer them as you follow along!

First - A little pep talk:

The most important thing to overcome when you start out is CONFIDENCE. Some may feel it is counter productive to learn via short cuts. I know that because I was taught by my grandmother who was an accomplished seamstress and a perfectionist, but a very gracious and positive teacher. I picked out more seams than I can count with her gentle admonition to "do it right the first time." However, not everyone wants to produce a completely historical garment. They just want to have a fan-girl moment and geek out with the rest of the Outlander enthusiasts. The historical accuracy and pattern drafting and construction techniques will come as your confidence grows! Pretty soon, you will be purchasing those expensive patterns as well as adding to your reference library.

So, for those of you who are here to learn - - PLEASE don't skip ahead to the construction section. I KNOW it's a lot of READING, but the information and the order in which we proceed is critical to your success.

So. . . let's begin by gathering the supplies you will need in addition to the fabrics and notions the pattern calls for.

  • Swedish Tracing Paper 24" wide. (I buy it on Amazon)
    American Duchess Simplicity 8161
  •  Ruler
  •  French Curve (See link below)
  •  #2 Pencils
  • Scissors (for paper)
  • Scotch Tape - Wrapping Tape
  • Plain Muslin (about 2 yards) for toile.
  • Measuring Tape
  • 2 yards 100% Cotton Stayflex Fusible Interlining*** (See link below)
  • 12 to 16 Grommets (1/4 inch)
  • 2-skeins of embroidery thread in matching color of your bodice.
  • Tapestry Needle (sharp pointed not blunted)
  • 4 yards Synthetic Whale Bone 10 cm wide, or 1 pkg of 125 Lb PSI Plastic cable ties 14" long (sold at Lowes).
  • 1 pkg 75 Lb PSI Plastic Cable Ties (You will use these on the stomacher as well)
  • Slide Ruler.
  • 18th Century Stays.
***I order Stayflex Fusible Interlining from the UK. It is the equivalent of fusible linen batiste, which sells here in the States for up to $20 a yard!!  Highway robbery! Macculloch & Wallis have been in business since the early 1900s. They are wonderful to work with.  The conversion rate to USD is about $4.00 a yard. carries it for $7.50 a yard. But I purchase it in bulk from Macculloch & Wallis. The shipping isn't all that expensive and I actually save money. But if you don't have a couple of weeks to wait for shipping, then you might want to purchase it elsewhere, but it will cost more, especially when you factor in shipping on top of being $3.50 more a yard.

Why Stayflex?  Why not the polyester Pellon iron on stuff? In a word - - It's an inferior product. Because it's made of nylon polyester, it isn't as pliable. It's made of synthetic material rather than cotton or linen. It also doesn't fuse a well as Stayflex which has a low temperature adhesive. No, it's not historically accurate, but it's a better product. Stayflex gives your fabric needed support without making it look too stiff. Pellon products also give an "orange peel" effect to your fabrics (especially silks and cottons) that no amount of pressing will alleviate. I flat line each pattern piece with Stayflex before sewing my garments together. It is a wonderful stabilizer for fabrics that might stretch, like linen or wool, but it is useful for cotton chintz as well. 

What's a French Curve??? 

It's a tool that is used for pattern drafting; specifically curved lines, neck and armholes.

Purchase a Lance 9" French Curve $5.99 Here.


  • Elongate the bodice point in the front.
  • Joining Side Back piece to the Front piece for more historical accuracy.
  • Add a Small Peplum to the bottom of the bodice.
  • Optional: Add a Princess Seam to the bodice Front for a more contoured look.
  • Altering Shoulder Seam Placement for more historical accuracy.



  • Rubberband two #2 pencils together for a 1/2" seam allowance. 
  •  Rubberband three #2 pencils together for a 5/8" seam allowance 


Taking Your Measurements:

PLEASE READ: It is very tempting in our excitement and enthusiasm to DIG into a project and start cutting out our pattern in our fashion fabric and ignore taking our measurements. We know our dress size, right? Unfortunately, this is not the way you judge your appropriate pattern size.

Any pattern, including Simplicity, McCalls, Butterick, etc., will not be an accurate dress size. In fact, dress sizes in retail clothing are all subjective. No fashion house has standard dress sizes. A size 12 in one line will be a 10 in another. You cannot go by a standard dress size, especially when sewing with commercial patterns!

Go by your measures! - Even if it means you will go up 4 or 5 dress sizes! I wear a 12/14 dress size but I had to cut my stays to a size 20! WHY?  Because the size 14 measurements were way too small, and the 20 was the closest to my actual measurements in THIS pattern. For instance, my professional dress form that is a size 16 is actually more accurate to a women's size 10 dress!! Now, with stays, you want to allow for a little reduction so you could possibly go down one size (if you're using the American Duchess pattern), but not with outer garments.

Many women nearly faint when I tell them the dress size I actually cut out for them. So, I usually just withhold that information. Up-sizing your dress size in a sewing pattern  means absolutely nothing about you! The clothing industry is WHACK! Don't let a silly NUMBER dash your self confidence! Chances are, you've invested in rather pricey fabrics, especially if you choose 100% wool, and you want your Outlander costume to fit properly and comfortably. So, please, IGNORE the dress size on pattern packages and use your actual measurements!  Be gracious to yourself!


First - - You will need to lace yourself into your 18th Century style stays. If you don't have your stays yet . . . Stop here and either purchase some; or if you plan to make your own, wait until you've finished your stays before you proceed. This will be absolutely necessary in order to ensure a proper fit of your bodice and petticoat, and avoid cutting the wrong size!

Client Commission
If you don't feel confident enough to attempt a pair of fully boned stays, you can custom order a pair on my Etsy page.

I offer payment options: A LAY AWAY with either a 40% deposit and the remainder due upon completion; or, four automatic monthly payments of $74.50, or 8 bimonthly payments of $37.25 via PayPal through my website:

MY Current Stays W.I.P
If you are able to make your own stays, and have your 18th Century chemise or smock that you plan to wear, you will need both of these before taking your measurements.  

Please do NOT wear a bra when you put on your stays to take your measurements! It is best to take your measures wearing the exact stays and smock you plan to wear with your completed costume. If you do NOT have your smock made, but you DO have your stays, you can wear a thin camisole or thin, snug fitted tank top. It isn't going to be exact, but since this particular bodice (View B) does not close in front, you can get a way with some minimal variation.

Second - Don't lace your stays too tight! Lace them to what will be comfortable but snug and offers support, especially if you plan to wear them for more than an hour! They should not be so tightly laced that you can't breathe or movement is uncomfortable or painful.

PLEASE NOTE:  It is important that your stays are laced to the exact amount they were when you took your measures or the bodice may not fit properly when completed. So please avoid too much reduction.

Now, wearing your smock and stays laced up comfortably you will use your tape measure and record the following measures(see below).
  • Bust
  • Rib Cage (Under Bust)
  • Waist
  • Hips
  • Back length from the base of the neck to the waist.
These are your basic measures that you will need, as well as those provided on the pattern, to choose your appropriate pattern size to cut. Now if you find a two inch variation (smaller than your measurements) cut a larger size and make adjustments to your muslin toile.


Pattern Alterations:

Using your basic measures wearing your stays you now know what size pattern to use. :)

Now, you will need to trace your pattern. You can make alterations on your original, but these will be permanent. I like to work with a tracing. That way, I save the original pattern for a base to make other styles. I also don't cut my patterns out by individual size so that all the sizes are intact for later use.

You will need a flat, hard surface to work on, i.e., dining table, or fold out table - Whatever area you have. Carpet is not recommended.

Now you will need the following supplies:
  • Swedish Tracing Paper
  • Straight Ruler
  • French Curve
  • Pencils
  • Scissors (For paper) 
  • Scotch Tape - Wrapping Tape 
  • Slide Ruler
Ready? Let's get started!!

Step One:

  • Lay your tracing paper flat on your work surface. 
  • Cut out a manageable width of paper to keep the roll from rolling off the table - or rolling back and getting in your way! 
  • Starting with the FRONT bodice piece (Pattern Piece #1), place it underneath the sheet of tracing paper. (My work table is black. I find a lighter color surface works better for tracing).
  • Pin the pattern to the tracing paper so that it does not slip. It's best if your pins are in the center, otherwise they can get in the way of your ruler and french curve.
  • Using your French Curve, ruler, and a single pencil, trace the front piece pattern all the way around (according to your size determined by your measurements) onto the tracing paper.

  • Mark all DOTS and diamonds (notches) on your traced pattern according to your size.

  • Now, unpin the front pattern piece underneath and remove it.
Step Two: 

  • Now, find your "SIDE BACK" (Pattern Piece #3). 
  • Slip it under the tracing paper and match it up to the Bodice Front, overlapping the side seams as you would if you were to sew these pieces together. 
  • Scoot it over to the right just enough to allow for regular seam allowance, approximately 3/8". If you don't take away the seam allowance here, your bodice will be that much too big. It may not seem like alot, but by the time you add 3/8 to 1/2 inch on each side you will notice it.
  • Now, transfer all the dots and diamonds (notches) from the original pattern to the traced Side- Back piece (#3) that you have now joined to pattern piece #1.  
 NOTE: Combining these two pieces now provides a more historically accurate pattern. Lauren's pattern alterations go a bit further - See the link. I am doing "minimal" alterations. It's not exactly 100% on point, but these changes will make your garment more passable. 

Now, if you are making View A of the American Duchess pattern, you will need to follow Lauren's Hacks to make the bodice fronts meet and to change the neckline. If you need help . . . just holler . . . and I can post a demo on my Facebook page: Historical Costumes by Designs From Time. This particular tutorial is for View B for the Lady Broch Tuarach costume.
  • I also traced my seam allowance on the side back (Below - Left Side) with blue pen, so it's not as visible. But you will need this as a reference in a bit.

  • I traced a seam allowance on the bodice waistline of the pattern so that it grows narrower near the side back/front side and front piece. I like it to be a little longer and 5/8" seam allowance, I find, is too much. The Simplicity pattern sits a bit too high for my taste. If you want a larger seam allowance, you can add it to the bodice pattern so that you don't lose that length.  

Step Three:

Now, we are going to lengthen the "point" on the front of the bodice.

  • Using your ruler, extend the front traced line (see the pink ink?) That's the line. You can see the original pattern underneath by the darker shading.

Picture #1
  • I've lengthened this line about 1 to 1-1/2 inches. 
You can make the bodice point longer, wider, and more squared for other bodice styles.
 (See the picture below for examples of other/later 18th Century styles). 

1785 to 1790s

NOTE: You can also alter the neck and front of the American Duchess Pattern to be more like the cream gown above. Those instructions are in the PDF handout.

Continuing on with the bodice point . . .
  •  Now using your French Curve, join the bottom curved edge to this extended line to elongate the point. See picture #2 below.
  • The second line underneath the first is for "seam allowance." See picture #2 below where the arrow is pointing. If you don't add some seam allowance here, when you make your seams your point will not be as noticeable. You WANT it to be more elongated to look more like Claire's bodice.
  • Check to make sure your line is drawn evenly. It looks like mine might have slipped a bit. I will need to redraw this BONING CHANNEL line and lacing holes. They are a little off here. See how the line for the boning channel at the bottom looks wider?  It should be even to the original point on the pattern. 

 Picture #2

Step Four


Now - I'm going to offer you an OPTION.

If you want your bodice to fit exactly like the reference picture (See Right) you will need to make an alteration to the front of your bodice.

Basically, you'll be adding a "princess" seam.

If you do NOT add this alteration your bodice will fit more flat against your torso. If you want a more sculpted bodice, like Claire's, then make these change.

  •  Draw a curved seam in the front of the bodice as I have done in the picture below using your French Curve and ruler. (See Picture Below)
 (Insert Picture)
  • Now, cut the pattern out on that new line. You will need to either tape enough tracing paper to your original tracing to add your seam allowances, or retrace new pieces. This will give you an opportunity to clean up your paper pattern and make any notes or additional marks or sewing instructions. 
(Insert Picture)

Step Five:
  •  Now - Find your Back Piece (pattern piece #2).
  •  You will now need to trace your size as you did with the other pieces. Make sure you mark all your dots and diamonds (notches). 
  • Slip the Bodice Back piece under the tracing paper and match up your DOTS from the Back to the Side Back as you did before. 
  • When I matched the bottom piece to the side back it was longer. However, you will need to allow for "ease" here. What that means is that you must allow for the "curve" when sewing these two pieces together. When laid flat next to each other your pattern will appear longer. This is why I usually make a muslin toile (mock up) before I cut out my fashion fabrics. BE PATIENT. This step will save you from wasting fabric! 
  • If the back piece and side back pieces don't match after you sew your toile together, THEN you can adjust your pattern as shown below - or trim the excess.

Step Six:

Now we're going to draft the peplum! The narrow little "bodice" skirting piece.

  • Cut out your traced pattern, combining the new front Princess Seam, new Side front/Side back, and slip them under a fresh piece of tracing paper. You don't need a full sheet. I used some scraps to conserve paper. 
  • Take your Back Piece and match it up to the side back curved seams. Overlapping for SEAM ALLOWANCE - Reducing it just like if you had sewn the pieces together.

  •  Pin your pattern pieces together. (I forgot to trace the back piece! So I just used the original for example purposes). See picture above. I lined up the correct size and overlapped them to allow for seam allowances so that your peplum pattern will be drafted to the finished waist circumference.
  • Next, trace the seam allowance of all three pieces along the bottom edge (waist seam). See picture Below.
  • Trace the seam allowance where your Center Back Seams will be joined. See horizontal pink dots/slashes? 
  • Now extend your tracing of the bodice waist seam line along the bottom so that it meets the actual pattern edge underneath. See how it extends past the traced Center Back Seam Allowance? You can see the pattern beneath to judge where the actual edges stop. See picture Below.

  • Now connect these slashed lines (seam allowance for the bodice waist line) using your French Curve.

  • Next, extend a slanted line from where your waist line ends (matching the Center Back Edge). See how my blue pen line extends past the pink dots that I've marked horizontally (top to bottom) at the center back pieces? This is the edge of the true pattern underneath.  (See Picture Above). 
  • Now, using your French Curve, create the hem line of the peplum. It will curve, gradually narrowing as you extend it to the front piece. 
  • If you need more guidance for this curved line: Mark a dot at the end of your slanted line (approximately 3 to 4 inches).  Use a ruler and mark another dot 1 inch below the seam allowance about midway of the bodice. Now mark another about 1/2 inch below the seam allowance line near the bodice front about two inches from the LARGE dot near the grommet holes. Now, using your French Curve connect them. (See picture below for picture of finished pattern)
  • Don't take the peplum all the way to the front facing! The peplum sits back a little from the front point - As seen in the picture below.

You can make yours longer than 3" - My client wanted hers to be more subtle.

  • I have traced and cut the peplum pattern to the actual size it would appear if FINISHED.
  • Because we've linked the pattern pieces together as they would be when sewn together, taking away seam allowances, you do NOT need to add seam allowance to the center back of the peplum pattern. We've already drawn it to fit - taking into account the seam allowance for the center back, etc.
Swallowtail Caraco Jacket
NOW - You will need to decide here if you want the peplum to be two separate pieces so that it gives a mini "swallowtail"affect in the back (see picture to the right), or if you want it to be more rounded with both pieces joined in the middle with a little triangular "gussett" to achieve a a fuller or ruffled effect like the picture below.  Keep in mind, the swallowtail is much later than the time period Outlander is set.

Now in this picture (left) from Outlander the bodice doesn't really have a separate peplum sewn into the waistline; rather the bottom of the pattern pieces are "flared" so that when sewn together they creates a peplum. To do this would take some more extensive drafting, so I am just simplifying it for you by creating a separate little peplum.  

However, Lauren from American Duchess has given instructions in her PDF handout that shows how you can draft these flared shapes without having to sew a peplum into the waist. See her hacks for a Caraco Jacket without waist seams. The technique is pretty much the same as you would use to create this bodice, except the skirting of this bodice isn't long.

Here's the link to the American Duchess PDF handout once more:

NOTE:  If this is just too much, I DO offer this bodice in my Etsy store with these more extensive pattern alterations to create a more authentic reproduction

Here are some more options for a peplum - Which are offered in the American Duchess Handout:

Peplum shown here in profile

 This is the stage where your muslin toile will be crucial!! Work out your final "shape" and pattern in muslin and make changes as needed. Trust me! You will save yourself a lot of grief if you work with a toile FIRST and perfect your pattern, making adjustments to fit your shape, etc. You can then mark your toile, pick the seams out and retrace your pattern using the muslin for an exact fit. You will then have a customized pattern that you can use in the future, knowing it will fit without a lot of alterations.
Even if you weren't going to make pattern alterations, making a toile for a pattern you've never used is a wise decision. Yes, it takes a bit more time, but it gives you the opportunity to make your mistakes on cheap muslin rather than your fashion fabrics which are costly.

Step Seven:

Continuing to Draft the Peplum:
  •  We need to add our seam allowance to the top and bottom of the peplum pattern. Using the trick I showed you in the beginning (rubberbanding two pencils together) draw your top and bottom seam allowance using your french curve as a guide.
  • If you have a dress form, you can pin your finished pattern pieces onto your dress form. This will allow you to see how the peplum will lay. If not, you can work out the peplum on your toile. 
  • The bodice pattern for Simplicity #8161 is peaked or pointed in the back. (See picture below) You may need to make some adjustments to the slant of your back peplum points if you choose a swallowtail. Once you've sewn your toile together (use basting stitches on the machine) you can trim these pieces so that they lay properly. 
  • If you DO trim your "swallowtails" you will need to retrace your pattern to 'ADD' your proper seam allowances once more. 
Simplicity 8161 Bodice Back View:  Pointed
Step Eight:

  • Now trace your sleeve pattern to the appropriate size. Taking care to make sure you've added the pleat marks, dots, seam allowances, etc., and cut out your paper pattern.

NOW - Before we continue. . . I am going to go over one of Lauren Stowell's (American Duchess') pattern hacks available in her PDF handout.  You can either use the simplified version that we've already drafted, or you can take your pattern alterations a bit further to make it appear more historically accurate. It's YOUR choice. I've written this tutorial for those who are newer to costuming and haven't done much pattern alterations or drafting. So those of you who are more accomplished, please keep that in mind. This is my attempt to break down these alterations to bare bones and make it basic enough that a novice can experience a feeling of accomplishment, and perhaps go on to study draping and pattern drafting like I DID!

Altering The Shoulder Seam Placement.

  •  FIRST: Before you go any further, pin your back piece and your combined front/side back-side fronts pattern together at the shoulder seam
  • Now, lace yourself into your stays and gently, without tearing your pattern paper, smooth it down against your torso to check where it will fall at your waistline.
  • You will get a better idea how it fits with your muslin toile, so you can SKIP THIS if you wish to work any fit issues out in your muslin toile. But if you find your paper pattern or muslin toile rides up too high (especially if you're longer waisted) you will need to make alterations to your pattern to lengthen either the waist length of all pattern pieces, or your shoulder straps. I usually start with the shoulder seams as it's the simplest fix. 
  • However, if  after lengthening the shoulder strap a little and the bodice is still too short you will need to alter the waist or torso length on your pattern pieces. You cannot just cut it longer at the bottom, you have to find the waistline on the pattern and elongate it by cutting the pattern piece in half, then add length by inserting a strip of paper and taping the pieces back together. You will need to make sure all your pattern pieces line up evenly after making any additions to the waist length.
  • Before you make such drastic alterations, try adding a little length to the shoulder strap. It will be easier to just take away that little length than to alter ALL of your pattern pieces. (See Picture Below
 (Insert picture - How to lengthen Shoulder Straps)

  • Adding length to the straps will affect the size of the armhole (or armscye). So if you lengthen your straps you will need to alter the sleeve pattern width as well - adding the same amount to the pattern as you did to the shoulder. So if you added a 1/2 inch of length to the straps, you will need to add that same amount to the sleeve width; otherwise, the sleeve will be too small to inset it them into your bodice's armholes. 
  • Rather than to just add width on the seam allowances of your sleeves, you need to split it straight down the middle lengthwise and widen it by spreading it apart to the same measure you added to your shoulder straps. 
  • If the sleeves are too loose around your upper arm after adding width, you can always adjust the fit in your muslin toile then redraw your pattern from your muslin toile.
(Insert Picture - How to widen Sleeve Pattern)

  • Now check the fit once more on the bodice with the altered shoulder straps. If it solves the issue, GREAT! We can move on. 
  • Now that you've checked the fit for your overall bodice and shoulder straps pattern, lay your back piece and your combined front/side-backside to the new Front patterns flat on the table and overlap them at the shoulder seams to take away your seam allowance on the princess seams. Now over lap the seam allowance of the shoulder seams.  Now tape  shoulder seams together with scotch tape.
  •  Next, you will REDRAW the shoulder seam with your ruler as shown in the picture below.  

(Insert Picture - Redrawn Shoulder Seams)

  • Next - add seam allowance to the new shoulder seam placement on both pattern pieces. T
Now . . . back to our Peplum:
  • We added seam allowances to the peplum pattern we drafted.
 (Insert Photo)
  • Next, cut out the peplum in muslin (Cut 2).
  • Fold your seam allowances over at the center back seams (slants) of the peplum as seen in the photo below. I pressed them over so that they would stay.
    (Insert Photo)
  • Now, lay them on the table with the left and right pieces facing each other as seen in the photo - with your  "swallowtails" meeting at the center as they would if finished or sewn into your bodice waistseam.
 (Insert Photo)

  • Lay a sheet of tracing paper over your left and right muslin pieces (peplum). 
  • Next, use your french curve and trace a curved line at the bottom of the triangle or gap - joining them.  
(Insert Photo)

  •  Now, trace your seam lines (where you've folded the muslin over) and trace the triangle at the sides joining them at the top most point.  (See Photo)
(Insert Photo)

  • Now, remove the muslin pieces and widen the bottom of your triangle. This will allow a bit of fullness and add a little ruffled affect. (See picture) 
(Insert Photo)
  • Cut out your paper 'gussett' (triangle) and pin it to your peplum pieces.Make sure your edges meet on both sides. If not, true up your lines.
  • If you like the shape, then cut it out of muslin, and proceed to Step Nine
  • If you want to make a longer "skirting" than the peplum we've drawn, then follow the "Handout" I've linked you to for American Duchess.

Step Nine: 

Since you have lengthened the front of the bodice, you will also need to lengthen the stomacher.

  • Fold the stomacher pattern in half. 
  • Now match up the bottom seam allowance to your newly drawn bodice front. The stomacher will sit just below the point of your bodice.(See the picture at the beginning of this blog post for reference).
  • Lengthen the top of the stomacher so that it sits where the dots have been traced.


Fitting Your Muslin Toile:

  • Now, cut out your pattern in muslin and stitch up all side seams and your shoulder seams, and sew in your sleeves, AND your peplum. 
  • Now, Lace yourself into your stays and try on your muslin toil inside out so that the seams are facing outward. This will allow you to make tucks and minor adjustments to side seams etc. That will be particularly necessary if you have made your front bodice edges to meet in front.
  • Tug the toile up around you so that it sits properly and pin it in place to your stays.
  • Check your shoulder seams to make sure your armholes aren't too tight or too loose. 
  • REMEMBER: This particular bodice will NOT meet in the front! There will be a gap where it will be laced and your stomacher will show through.

PART FOUR -  Bodice "B" Construction:

Step One: 

  • With your new and altered pattern pieces traced out on paper once more, including any fit or alterations you found necessary in the muslin toile, lay out your bodice pieces on your fashion fabric. Follow the arrows to cut on the proper fabric grain.
  • FOR BETTER FIT:  Lay your lining fabric underneath your fashion fabric and pin pattern pieces to all four layers. Cut out each pattern piece this way. This will ensure exact matches for each pattern piece. You will need VERY sharp sewing scissors that have not been used on paper - Just fabric.
  • Cut out two sets of Stayflex cotton fusible interlining for each pattern piece - one for your lining and for for your fashion fabrics. You will be using it to flat line both your fashion fabric AND your lining pieces. 
  • Carefully match up each interlining and with its corresponding pattern piece. If your fabric doesn't have an obvious RIGHT side, make sure your pieces are laid out properly so that you don't fuse your interlining to the wrong sides. With your iron, fuse each interlining piece to its corresponding fabric pattern piece.  
  •  Now, carefully trim any excess edges of the Stayflex. This is IMPORTANT for accurate seams. 
 Step Two: 

  • Stay stitch about 1/2" to 1/4" along the edge of the back pieces at the neckline of your fashion fabric, as well we the front neckline pieces. (As shown below)

  • For more accurate seams, take your pencil and your ruler and your french curve and turn your pieces to the wrong sides - the sides where you've fused the interlining. If you use a ballpoint pen, make sure and test it on a scrap of fabric to make sure the ink won't bleed through to the right side of your fabric. 
  • Now, take a slide ruler and measure out either 1/2" or 5/8" seam allowance. Mark the seam allowance at the bottom, middle, and top of each pattern piece seams - both the fashion fabric and your lining pieces
  • Now, using either your straight ruler and/or your french curve, connect these dots and carefully MARK your seam allowances. You only need to mark ONE side rather than both sides. 
  Step Three:
  • When you are ready to sew your pieces together, if you've taken care and marked your seams neatly and accurately, you can use these lines as your stitching guide on the machine. This is especially helpful for novices who don't quite feel confident in sewing a straight seam line.  Go slow and relax. Keeping your needle on that drawn line. If you want to practice first, draw some lines on scraps of fabric and practice keeping your needle straight. Try not to tense up. If you do your seams will turn out crooked.
  • Now find your Back pieces in both your fashion fabric and your lining pieces. It saves time if you sew both your lining and your fashion fabric pieces at the same time, rather than sewing up the bodice and then having to start from scratch with the lining.  
  • If you want to be really efficient, you can feed each piece one right after another under the feed dog, following your stitching guide, and making a chain of your pieces. When you're done, trim your threads. This way, all your pieces will be sewn at the same time and with the same seam allowances.
  • With RIGHT sides of the fabric facing each other, pin your fabrics with the pin heads laying horizontal. Don't sew over our pins if you can help it. It bends them, and can also break your sewing machine needle. 
  • Now stitch the center back seams together and press the seams open with your iron. To save time, you can wait and press all your seams open at the same time. 
  • Now, follow suit by pinning your curved edges of your side-back/front-side piece to your back pieces. Start at the bottom and work your way to the top; easing the curves together. 
  • Now follow your seam allowance guide and sew these pieces together.  
  • Now, move on to the front piece (if you redrafted a princess seam in the front).  
  • Clip your curved seams and press open on both your fashion (outer) fabric and the lining. 
  • Now, matching the pieces with the right sides together, start at the bottom front and stitch up the front facings, around the neckline, neck, and stop at the bottom of the front facing on the opposite side: 
  •  Next, make a stitch line about two inches long along the bottom edge of the front piece. Remember the peplum will sit back a bit from the point, so you want to finish this small area by stitching it, then turning. However, where the LARGE DOT is located, leave a small space open. This is where you will insert your boning for your lacing bars. 
  • Clip your curved seams, turn right side out and press with your steam iron. 
  •  Now, mark your boning channel with your pencil on the inside of your lining. I take a piece of boning and draw a line the same width, then make it just a little bit bigger to allow room for the boning to slip easily into the channel once it is created. 
  • Now, starting at the bottom, make a tack with your backstitch, then follow the traced stitch line you drew inside the lining. Staystitch it at the top as well with a tack, making a back stitch 
  • Now, measure the length of your synthetic whale bone, cable ties, or a light weight metal stay. 
  • If using plastic, cut your length with wire cutters or heavy duty scissors. Make your top slanted a bit to better fit in the slanted shape of the bone channel. 
  • Wrap the ends in a small piece of duct tape to smooth out your sharp corners. 
  • Now, slide the stay from the bottom until it meets the top.  
  •  Close the "hole" where you inserted the casing with a needle and thread. Take very SMALL, neat stitches so that it is not visible. 
Step Four

Now we will sew the peplum pieces together and then attach it to the waist of the bodice, and hand stitch the lining closed.

Step Five

Next, we will sew our sleeve pieces together and line them, then install them into the armholes.

Step Six: 

Grommets Installation & Couching them with embroidery thread.

Step Seven: 



The next thing I wanted to include is the skirt or petticoat.

The Simplicity pattern calls for only three panels, but for a fuller more accurately pleated skirt you need 4 to 5 panels.

Another addition I like to make are facings to the pocket holes so that there isn't a gap that shows your smock underneath.  The pattern just calls for "slits". The instructions in the pattern that Simplicity wrote are just not what I find to an optimum technique. My technique may not be historically accurate, but it is a much better alternative.