Wool gown finished

Friday evening, while at NASFiC, I finished the wool gown. I wore it all day Saturday.

Now, the end result is not exactly what I wanted. The sleeves are narrower than they really ought to be, because I was a smidge short on fabric. I had to piece them. But, they fit.


A white woman with brown hair done up standing in a tight-fitting dark red dress with box pleated skirt and long sleeves
Me, posing in the completed dress
view of the inside of the waist, where single and triple box pleats are whip stitched to the bodice. Burgundy wool with dark red silk stitches.
Up to 8 layers of fabric are whip stitched together in each pleat

Backing up a bit, on Wednesday I stayed up til 2AM pleating the skirt on. The fabric turned out to be 63″ wide, so after seams to connect the two 45″ panels (cut edges at waist and floor), there was 124″ to pleat down to 26.5″ of waist. I put normal box pleats in the front and triple box pleats in the back. I had already hemmed one cut edge of each panel, so I pinned the hem to the bottom of the (hemmed) bodice, then whip stitched it all together with the same matching silk thread I used to hem the bodice. Doing things a little out of order, I sewed one thread-cut-worth of each skirt seam as I got to where I needed to incorporate that seam into one of the pleats and used scissors to cut the starts of the side slits while I was still pleating.

burgundy fabric with three hand sewn eyelets visible and a white fingerloop braid through one of them
Hand sewn eyelets

Thursday, I got up early and got the house ready to be left for a few days (cleaning the kitchen, mostly), got snacks for the trip, etc. then cut the pieces that became cuffs on the sleeves. On the first flight, I finished seaming the sleeves, but during the layover and on the second flight I was eyeleting. I have a bone awl, which gets through airport security easily.

burgundy fabric on a white background revealing two hemmed edges reinforced with a buttonhole bar of dark red silk
Buttonhole bar, worked in tiny silk stitches

Friday morning, I took my eyelet tools to the sessions I was attending and kept working. Then I cut the side slits to the same length as on my other gowns (good for pocket access), hemmed them, and did a buttonhole bar. Finally, I could work on the hem! I popped out of a session into the hallway to throw the gown over my head and make sure the hem didn’t need to be taken up, then went back inside to sew it.

And on Saturday, I wore it all over the con and got many compliments. I was asked if I was entering the masquerade, but I knew they weren’t using a rubric to judge, so I did not. I don’t think a lack of rubric is fair to either entrants or judges, which is why I got involved in updating Atlantia’s judging criteria. I’ve tried judging an A&S entry without a rubric. It’s exceedingly unpleasant and results in all the judges working from mismatched scales.

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