So, in early April I volunteered to be a pattern tester.  The main requirement were that I need to follow the directions and be able to express any problems and identify typos, etc.   Also I need to do it sooner rather than later.  The pattern that I’m testing is the Laughing Moon Pleated Wrapper (#120).  On Saturday (4/27) I received my pattern in the mail.  After much squeeeeing and jumping up and down, I started reading to find out how much fabric I need etc. leading to the following post:

April 27:  So with complete lack of forethought, I volunteered to be a pattern tester. For some reason my stash does NOT have 8.5 yards of cotton calico. I have taffeta, velvet and muslin. No calico.

 I went to the local fabric store (Joann’s) to search for fabric, unfortunately every fabric I liked was not enough.  It did not help that most bolts in that section are 8 yards… nonetheless, I found a pretty fabric (only 6.5 yards) that I think I can use.  I will need a coordinating fabric for the yoke and maybe some of the hem and the belt.  Those are however design choices that will necessitate deviating from the instructions a bit.

I started cutting out the pattern pieces and noted any differences in labeling etc from the printed instructions. after a search for scissors that are allowed to cut paper, I set forth!  LM provided a lovely cutting layout diagram, but as I didn’t have the proper yardage, I had to make some changes.  The first was that if I cut out the sleeves first, then the skirts, I could use a coordinating fabric for the yoke, belt and piping.  Also, I’m thinking of a hem treatment that wasn’t in the original design so that will go on last.

April 28th:  Its the silly things that save fabric. For example the finished length of the dress is 64 inches. My CB to Floor measurement is *only* 57.5. I have a habit of making my Dickens dresses floor length without petticoats and letting my hoops/petticoats raise it to walking length. So *some* of my worry about fabric is dealt with from the start. I need to lop 6.5 inches off EACH skirt panel. I can save 2/3 of a yard this way! woohoo!

I should amend that thought as the dress progressed, belted the un-hemmed length is 2-3 inches off the floor.  (Live and learn I always say.)  Unbelted tho – it just hits the floor.  So maybe I should have only taken out 3 inches.

April 29:  not feeling well so I stayed home. I decided in my random moments of feeling better to cut out the main pane of the dress. Because I didn’t buy enough fabric, I’m needing to be careful I know that I will have to piece at least some of it. I cut out the front panels first so I could get them in one piece. The back panels only need 9 more inches. woo-hoo! That’s easily made up in the left overs from the side from cutting out such long pieces!

The dress is going together quickly and I think that I’ll be done by Sunday making this a 7 day dress, most of which was done in the evenings after work.

Some places where I deviated from the pattern and instructions.

1. I hand pleated the skirt into the yoke instead of following the markings as I used a size 26 skirt and a size 22 yoke.  I *did* try to keep as close to the diagram as I could.

2. I used coordinating fabric for the piping, belt and sleeve lining.  I like that it breaks up the print some and (to me) looks more authentic as I can’t imaging making a work dress out of new material.  A morning dress for upper class ladies sure!  That is not what I’m going for.

3. I’m adding a hem treatment.  I am using the coordinating fabric to add a band around the hem.  This was common during the period for a number of reasons.  It hid old raggedy hems.  It allows a longer hem.  In the correct colors it hides dirt.  And (most importantly) breaks up the print again.

Other thoughts on the pattern

1. The pattern calls for stitching down the pleats at the waist.  I have not yet done that, but I can see how it would keep the pleats nice in the bodice area.

2. I believe with piecing that it would be possible to get this dress out of the 6.5 yards of fabric I had.

3. Everyone needs to know their belted CB to Floor measurement.

PS.  I stalled a bit on the dress as my hands gave out on the buttonholes… also, I haven’t completed the belt (I find I like the look of the dress with my leather belt)  I will continue to work to finish it so I can wear it at CosCo.

essentially done (except for buttons and button holes and a belt)

PPS. – If I can get the button holes done by the end of August – this can be a HSF submission!!!

PPPS – I promise to post more photos when done.