Step four: Assemble the gown!
Since I had used this pattern before, assembly went fairly fast. In just a couple nights, I had a close-to-completion gown:
Since I am (hoping!) having a baby here in a few weeks, I mentioned I decided to make some modifications to the bodice for ease of breastfeeding. I stitched the front and the back as two separate pieces — opting to put ribbon ties across the shoulders — and have the gown lace up the sides. I found an example of a Florentine gown that had side lacing to support my cause, and since the Italians seemed to favor ribbons for tying on their sleeves to the shoulder of their gowns, I figured the addition of the extra ribbons to tie the shoulder straps together would hardly be noticed.
Step five: applying trim and finishing stitches!
Other hand-finishing I did included using ribbon to protect the seams in the skirt at the side openings (covering the serged edges for a tidier look), and tacking down the bodice lining where it met the skirt (so it didn’t ride up, and I didn’t have to fight with machine stitching through all those layers).
Once all of that was completed, I stitched in the lacing rings. I had some small plastic ones on hand, and while, to be period-correct, I should have used metal, I decided plastic would be kinder to the fabric in the long run. Plus, they are hidden just under the edges of the bodice so they aren’t easily seen.
I love how the corduroy gives it that lovely, soft, must-pet-the-fabric look… and how the silky taffeta shines through the opening in the split front. But wait! I’m still missing something…
On to the next installment…
Step six: sewing the sleeves!