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Italian Ren 1

This dress is based off of the instructions posted by Mistresses Leona Khadine d'Este and Enid d'Auliere.

My husband helped me record my measurements, but when the time came to cut out the pattern, he wasn't here to tell me not to deviate  from the instructions, so I did.

I made the patterns in halves because the idea of taping a whole bunch of paper bags together was making me  crazy.  I may come to regret this decision, but it's what I did.

I can't  figure out what the "F" measurement is for.  It looks like the shoulder of the bodice is the difference between E and H.  Oh - since I'm folding the pattern in half, I don't need F to position H properly. OK.

I worried about getting the curve of the armhole exactly the same again, so I traced it onto the back piece.

I think I'm going to need to straighten out the dip under the bust that makes an hourglass - 15th century Italian ladies seem to have preferred the cylinder look more than the hourglass look.  That and I'm going to make a side-laced gown, and how am I going to get the boning around that curve?!

Looking at the pattern diagram on the instructions, I think they expect my bust to be larger than my waist. Yeah, I wish. :-/

*examines boning* Oh, it'll flex around that curve. Good.  I'm still straightening out the back, though.

After comparing the two pieces of pattern, skeptical cat is skeptical. (Real Cat is squawking about it being food time. :P)  Well, time to cut out the muslin.

So ... this is going to be a side-laced gown.  I'm not going to be lacing up the muslin, so why am I cutting a seam allowance on the sides?

Wait - how the heck am I going to make sure the lacing works out OK on the muslin?!  :-/

After pinning the sides shut while the muslin is on me, I feel inspired to ask Santa for a dressmaker's dummy. Ow.

Well, I was wondering why the front part of the pattern was 4" longer than the back, and now that it's pinned on me, I have concluded that the front shoulder-to-waist measurement must be way off.  That's solved easily enough - I'll just cut the extra off of the front pattern piece.

I have just come to the horrifying realization that since my usual costume is a t-shirt and jeans, I'm not sure how to tell if an actual dress fits well. Yikes.

I think a measurement of distance between the bottom of the armhole and the under-boob measurement would be helpful, maybe.  That way I would know where to put the B measurement.

So if the shoulders are going to be sewn together anyway, why not just flip the back pattern over and attach it to the front at the shoulder and cut it all out as one piece? I have a fair amount of the bodice fabric, so I think I'm gonna find out.  (This fabric does not have a nap, and the pattern is bi-directional.

Crap.  I didn't buy enough interfacing. Well, I knew it was inevitable that I'd be going back to the fabric store. 

I gave up on the interfacing.  The material I'm using for the bodice is pretty heavy, and the interfacing I saw in the store didn't look like it would do much good.

While cutting out the bodice, I forgot to leave the seam allowance on the front of the neckline. >.<  This means that it'll be a bit lower than I had originally intended.  My husband approves. *rolls eyes* ;)

Now that I'm putting boning in the sides, it occurs to me that the whole bodice might need to be a little wider to accommodate the space that the boning takes up.  Well, the chemise is supposed to show through the sides anyway. :P

I have discovered a tip: When sewing a square neckline, it helps to mark out the corners that you're going to be sewing on the fabric in chalk.  This helps you not sew over the stopping point, which messes things up when you flip the lining under. 

I'm feeling pretty thwarted by the lining. :-/  Trying to figure out how to sew the seams on it now that it's right-side out is making my brain ache.  I guess I'll go wiggle it around until it looks like it will work. 

I decided to go with ribbon attachments for the sleeves.  The directions were very emphatic about not machine sewing the armholes, so I'm not.  Wow, this is gonna take a while.

Time for the sleeves. I have irresponsibly decided to utterly disregard the instructions.  Well, I read them and took them under consideration. :P I did also get the overall shape from the instructions.  High school geometry is quite a ways behind me now, and I never thought I'd need to use a compass again. Well, a pencil tied to a string functions more or less like a compass without all that measuring stuff. ;)

So I think I discovered all the wrong ways to put the sleeves together. :-/  What a mess.  Thank heavens for seam rippers!  For the record, the long floppy part of the ribbon goes on the right side of the outside of the sleeve.  Then you sew the top of the lining to the top of the sleeve.  I think you can maybe sandwich the ribbon between the exterior fabric and the lining and sew it all at once, but after making a gabillion mistakes I decided to break the steps down so that I would hopefully have less of a disaster!