I started the first dress, Fig.1, from the 12/8/1889 issue of La Mode Illustree, and I think it just might be all right ;)
Tracing out this pattern was pretty simple. La Mode Illustree had well made patterns with good, clear markings and easy to read symbols (Unlike Salon de la Mode =P) I typically use plain white paper and/or Christmas wrapping paper with a plain back (great price after the holidays), which I then trace through with a tracing wheel. However, I certainly wasn't going to damage an antique pattern by punching lines of holes through it. So, I bought this 50 yard roll of art tracing paper. The stuff is AMAZING.
This pattern came out incredibly small. In the original, the waist is about 22". Now, I am terrible at scaling and/or upsizing patterns. I can increase a waist and add some to a bust easy enough, but when it comes to transforming a 22" waist petite into something that will fit a 30" waist average and still maintain the proportions and style of the original...mmm...my skills end up lacking. So, I just increased everything by 1/2" on all sizes and told myself that other tweaks would have to be made on the form.
For the fabric, I have decided to go with a pastel sea-foam green wool that I bought a few years ago for $4 a yard. Seriously, how could I NOT buy the entire bolt when it was 100% wool and $4 a yard? Below you can see my workup of the bodice so far.
|The antique pattern, which I could never bring myself to damage.|
|The roll of tracing paper with the pieces already traced out. I use a china marker (grease pencil), but you can use anything. Even a sharpy marker won't bleed through the tracing paper=)|
|I usually don't bone bodices because I want people to have the option to machine wash, and bones make that quite difficult. In this case, though, it is necessary. That center front dart there HAS to be straight to look right, so boning it is.|
|As you can see on the side there, my slap-dash method of increasing the size went a bit far, lol. I'll have to take that seam in by about 1.5", and on the other side as well.|