The beginners account to sewing historical costumes.

If you follow me on Facebook or Instagram you will probably already know that I have dived head first into the world of historical costumes specific to the Regency era and all because I discovered the existence of a Jane Austen festival that you can read all about it here.

I have my first toile/ test piece of the short jacket done and I am currently waiting on the fabric I ordered to make the real deal that I will wear to the next Jane Austen festival.

I won’t lie I am genuinely shocked that the whole thing came together as easily and as quickly as it did. This pattern I used McCalls costume pattern M7493 that I had purchased a few years ago on a whim and I am now delighted to have not only the opportunity but a reason to make. Its view A that I have completed for anyone that wants to follow.

I am making test pieces first so that I can get a feel of how the pattern goes together and so that I can make all my mistakes with cheap calico fabric rather than with the more expensive fabric that I will be using to make the real jacket. I am just following the instructions for the main pattern I am not using a lining for the test piece.

Feeling a smidge intimidated right now.

Its at this point for any professional costumers or dress makers I apologise in advance for my lack of skill, finesse and knowledge on all things fabric this is my is the second garment I have ever tried my hand at making. The first being a wrap skirt I haven’t had the courage to wear yet. This is the process that I took to make the jacket and while there is probably alot easier ways of doing these things I am self taught so please bear with me.

As with anything that you make you are supposed to go through the instructions first. I find alot of it makes absolutely zero sense unless your in the process of making it. So as not to get over whelmed I limit my instruction reading to what the pattern pieces are and the pattern marking instructions and the pattern layout on the fabric. Anything more at this point and it just doesn’t make any sense.

Yes, I iron my patterns

Next I take out the pattern sheets and Iron them flat. I know it sounds utterly mad but it makes the next stages cutting the pattern and laying it out on the fabric so much easier. You can cut out just the pieces that you are going to use but I like to cut out everything just because.

When the pattern is pinned to the fabric, don’t forget like I did to measure the grainline, then get your pins and some coloured chalk and mark out the pattern markings. I really only discovered how important these markings were when I went to match up the pattern pieces for sewing…… because Ive never done this before. Then be brave and cut.

As far as patterns for beginners go this costume pattern is pretty easy to follow. However I woke up stuck in idiot mode and sewed the same 2 jacket panels together wrong not only once but twice. After that false start, twice, the jacket panels came together pretty easily and once the seams were ironed flat I could really see the jacket structure which inturn got me really excited to finish.

I was given a pro tip from a dressmaker and that is before you fit the sleeves make sure that the bodice of the jacket fits first. Its easier to make ajustments this way than when the sleeves are attached.

Sleeves are not really as daunting as I made it out to be in my head. This is where your pattern markings really come into play along with alot of pins. What caught me a little with this part though is the pattern doesn’t really show the gather at the top shoulder of each sleeve. This make me think I had fitted something wrong until I pinned and tacked the sleeve to the bodice just to see how it would work…… again this is one of the many reasons that test pieces are important so that you can see things like this without damaging your expensive fabrics.

Button holes. I seriously have no idea what I am doing with them as you can clearly see in the photo but again….. test piece….. I need to practice some more before I do the really thing. If any one has any pearls of wisdom with regard to sewing button holes or any of this by all means do let me know. I can not stress enough how beginner I am to dressmaking and historical costumes so I do appreciate all help and advice given.