Monday, May 6, 2013

Period Impressions: 1770 Polonaise & Petticoat

I'm way behind on posting about this costume. It seems like every weekend in sight has a costume requirement. Luckily it's a 1920's weekend on the way, and I am covered. So I finally have a chance to not sew, and share a creation or two.

This is my first try at a more "historically accurate" pattern. All the instructions on one page. No zippers. The phrase "to be an accurate reproduction this garment should be totally hand sewn" on it. I was fairly terrified.

So here's my try at Period Impressions 1770 Polonaise and Petticoat:


(pattern matching is no fun)

(simple gathered trim)

(detail of curtain *ahem* apron bottom)

(without apron)

(adding junk to my trunk)

TIME: Approximately 20 hours. There was hand sewing that could not be avoided, and I am amazingly slow at hand sewing. I also had a lot of fray checking to do (all the trim on the bodice and the flounce on the petticoat). Pattern matching the fabric also slowed me down. But the time also includes sewing the apron and bum pillow.

ALTERATIONS:  Instead of steel bones, I opted for the budget friendly zip ties. I used a different trim (just gathered strips of left over fabric cut with pinking shears and fray checked down both sides). I changed the length of my pettiocat, too. I went for walking length, since this was made for a Fort Fred trip. I was told muddy fields were to be expected. Luckily it was a lovely dry day, but I was still happy with the length. I had worn my red Kensington shoes from American Duchess, and those babies popped!

EASE OF INSTRUCTIONS: The instructions were a little tricky. Mostly because the bodice is bag lined, and that is probably a little weird to describe how to do in words. Initially I had trouble with the facing around the neckline, but that was resolved when I found the pattern piece folded up in the petticoat piece. Something I would suggest if you plan to do the flounce at the bottom of the skirt: don't run one long gathering stich. Run four (one for each pattern piece). The instructions called for the flounce to be pinned in four places *then* gathered. I had a lot of trouble with that, and my thread broke until I did the four seperate stitches.

I forgot to compensate for the room my bum pillow would take up, so I had to wear it outside of the petticoat (but it was hidden by the polonaise back). The apron is made from a cutrain at Target. It's from their Shabby Chic line (and I have plenty left to make myself a fichu!).


  1. Your pattern-matching is fantastic! I had to hunt for the seam.

    1. Thanks! Next time I think a less busy pattern is in order. Matching up all those little vines and leaves was a nightmare.

  2. Looks great! I love your floral fabric, and the self-trim. Great job!

    1. Thanks! I'm all about the gathered trim now.

  3. Very cute and colorful! It's always nice to see pretty flowery gowns that stand out in the midst of a lot of drab colors at an event, I'm sure everyone at the fort enjoyed the fruits of your labor :)

    1. I was rather easy to pick out of a crowd! There were a lot of more mutted colors. Is that more common to the era? Or do you think most people were preparing for a field of mud/dust?