Friday, 30 November 2018

Larkin & Smith English Gown - Blue Wool

Patterns: Larkin & Smith "English Gown" with en fourreau style back.
Fabrics: 100% wool, medium weight. 100% linen.
Time to Finish: About 4 days with hand top stitching.

Chest: 39"
Waist: 35"
Hip: Free
Hem: 36"
Sleeves: 18" from shoulder

I've made this gown a few times now, and one of the alterations I like to make it is with the shaping of the shoulder strap and front piece where they connect. With the pattern, the connection creates this sharp point high up, and the robings just barley cover the edge of it. I like the alter the shape so this point is eliminated. It really served no purpose. I'll just to upload pictures later of what I'm talking about.

I made the skirts on this one a bit fuller than the pattern recommended. I also omitted the pocket slit, which allowed me to eliminate that whole seam. In stead of cutting 4 pieces of 23" wide (two for each side), I just cut two pieces of 60" wide (one for each side). I get a fuller skirt and one less long seam.

Now, doing the back pleats for that en fourreau can be quite a challenge. The instructions have you placing the pattern over the back sections and pinning the paper itself to the fabric. You form your pleats using the pattern, pin them down, then carefully remove the paper and replace the pins.

Yeah, that sounds easy, but it's really not. If you're using a fabric that holds a good sharp press, you can iron from the reverse side and get some pressing lines for your pleats before removing the pattern paper. The wool I was using is terrible at holding any sharp press, so as I removed the pins and paper, I was completely losing my marks and pleat positions.

Solution? I ended up making another pattern piece for the pleat guides on tissue paper, the really flimsy sort used for gift packaging. I then tore the paper away without removing my pins. Then it was just the busy work of picking all the little bits of stray paper. I would also recommend transferring the pattern marks to the fabric with pins, if you are using a fabric that won't be badly marred by pin holes.

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