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Hello from England!
June 24, 2013
1:53 pm
shigatsuhana
Sutton Coldfield, England

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Forum Posts: 26
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June 24, 2013
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Hello! My name is April. 

 

I am an American lady living in England for the past 13 years. 

 

I have been sewing in earnest for about 6 years. I used to work at a museum and made my Regency dresses for my job. I had never made a dress before and found the Regency dress a good place to start. I used either the Butterick or Simplicity patterns. All turned out nice. I then moved on to sewing my own costumes for the theatre group I belong to. 

 

I am attending an event in July here in Leamington Spa called Austen at the Abbey. I am using one of my previously sewn gowns but decided I’d like to splurge and make a silk gown. Hence my visit here to Sense and Sensibility. I bought the Elegant Lady Regency Dress pattern a few months ago, but have only now just got around to completing the dress in cotton first before I cut and sew in silk. I’m very glad I have done this as I have found a few problems with sizing. Maybe complications in UK/US sizing? I measured and made the size I thought would best suit me. As it turns out it is quite a lot larger than I was expecting. My alteration skills are minimal so I am going to glean the forum here to find out where I have gone wrong. I would like to sort out my problems before I cut out the silk for the next dress. I am large busted so bought the larger size supplement. As I’ve found in the past, empire lines suit smaller busted ladies. :)

 

I have also purchased the Spencer jacket pattern but may wait to make that for an event in September as the weather will be cooler for it. 

 

I hope to learn a lot here so I can make a decent dress for the event! 

 

~April

June 24, 2013
2:24 pm
sistersuzi
London, England
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October 25, 2012
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Just a quick note re sizes. American sizes are usually one size larger than English sizes. In other words, an American size 14 is an English size 16. However, with vanity sizing rampant all over, it is best that you make a mock up or toile of your chosen pattern, in a cheap fabric and alter that before you cut your silk. (Check out charity shops and get old sheets or curtains for your toile.)

(Example of vanity sizing – I am English, and generally wear an English size 22 – but in my wardrobe I have clothes from the same shop ranging from 18 to 26!)

Suzi

Web site www.suziclarke.co.uk
June 24, 2013
4:00 pm
Geneece
Texas
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November 5, 2012
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Welcome to the forum!  You’ll find a lot of helpful ladies here!

 

As Suzi said, it’s always best to make a toile.  It sounds like some of your work is already done for you, since you’ve already made one garment from the pattern and know it’s too big.  You could try sewing the seams a bit deeper if it’s just a little too big, or going down a whole size or two if it turned out to be quite a bit too large.  It is also helpful try on the bodice before attaching the skirt, so that you can make adjustments as you go.

 

Edited to ask if you are making the drawstring gown, or the crossover gown?

http://www.sewmanytreasures.com
June 25, 2013
12:59 pm
shigatsuhana
Sutton Coldfield, England

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Forum Posts: 26
Member Since:
June 24, 2013
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I tried the drawstring gown. But now after reading it sounds like the cross over is better suited for a larger bust. I will buy some cheaper cotton and try again before cutting the silk. I measured my bust and used the larger size but as it turned out it was several sizes too big. The only part that fit right was the arms. So will be using the larger sized arms on a smaller sized dress. I am usually a size 18-20 in the UK, so thought it was really strange when I used the measurements for the bust on the pattern that I was a size 26. I will try using a 22 and if it is still too big I should be able to alter that easier. I did try the bodice on before sewing the skirt but was not sure how it would look when finished. I do love the big skirt though. I love a very full dress. Thank you ladies! :)

June 26, 2013
8:47 am
Marva
Oregon

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March 14, 2013
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Hi April,

Welcome to the forum.  Leamingtom Spa sounds like an interesting place.  Is it a resort town like Bath?

How fun that you could work in Regency dress!  Good luck with your special dress for Austen at the Abbey. 

Marva

June 26, 2013
5:12 pm
shigatsuhana
Sutton Coldfield, England

Senior Member
Forum Posts: 26
Member Since:
June 24, 2013
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Hi Marva,

 

Yes, Leamington Spa is much like Bath, however, a more modern version (19th Century), not as big or well-known. ;)  Much of the event will be at Stoneleigh Abbey where Jane Austen spent time visiting. http://www.stoneleighabbey.org/

 

It’s an exciting year for Austen fans as many places are celebrating the anniversary of Pride and Prejudice. I hope to go to Bath in September for the annual gathering of the Jane Austen Festival. http://www.janeausten.co.uk/fe…..tivalhome/

 

 

June 26, 2013
5:21 pm
Geneece
Texas
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November 5, 2012
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April,

Sizing on sewing patterns is definitely not equal to ‘off the rack’ sizing.

You may very well find that the cross-over bodice fits better.  I’ve made it for a couple of larger busted women and they’ve been pleased with the results.  I do it differently than the pattern directions though.  Instead of the smaller front lining piece, I cut a complete second set of bodice pieces from lining fabric and fully line the bodice.  Here is one that I did.

 

http://www.sewmanytreasures.com
June 26, 2013
5:41 pm
sistersuzi
London, England
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October 25, 2012
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April, we take a group to the Bath festival most years from this forum. We shall be there this year. Nearer the time, make yourself known and see if you can meet up with us. There will be at least 16 of us, one young man, and my DH.

Many years ago I was at school in Warwick, and we went over to Leamington to have swimming lessons – I never did learn properly! My Grandmother used to like shopping there too – we lived in Stratford!

Suzi

Web site www.suziclarke.co.uk
June 26, 2013
9:38 pm
ladydetemps
UK
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Forum Posts: 248
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October 25, 2012
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Geneece said
April,

Sizing on sewing patterns is definitely not equal to ‘off the rack’ sizing.

You may very well find that the cross-over bodice fits better.  I’ve made it for a couple of larger busted women and they’ve been pleased with the results.  I do it differently than the pattern directions though.  Instead of the smaller front lining piece, I cut a complete second set of bodice pieces from lining fabric and fully line the bodice.  Here is one that I did.

 

That’s pretty fabric  would love to see full size pic of the dress.

 

"Resign yourself, Catherine! Shops must be visited! Money must be spent! Do you think you could bear it?" - Northanger Abbey Read about my sewing ups 'n' downs on my blog http://stitchintimeandspace.blogspot.co.uk/
June 26, 2013
10:59 pm
Geneece
Texas
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Forum Posts: 601
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November 5, 2012
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This was a fun project because the client was to be Lady Catherine de Bourgh in a theatre production of Pride and Prejudice!  I wish she would have sent photos. 

http://www.sewmanytreasures.com
June 27, 2013
12:43 pm
shigatsuhana
Sutton Coldfield, England

Senior Member
Forum Posts: 26
Member Since:
June 24, 2013
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I love it Geneece! I love the chinoiserie fabric too. Pretty! And yes, I’m going to try a crossover. I’ve ordered some cotton lawn so it should be here any day and I’ll just try the bodice out as I know the skirt is basic and easy. 

 

Suzi, 

I live in Sutton Coldfield, just north of Birmingham.  I have never been to Leamington, apart from passing it on the train from time to time so this will be quite fun I think. I’ve been to Stratford and Warwick many times. 

I think it will be great to meet up with you all in Bath. I suppose you’ll be taking part in the parade of the city. I heard rumours that they may cancel due to health and safety issues, but that seems to be resolved and all is going ahead as planned.

My husband will most likely accompany me, but I don’t think he’ll dress in Regency dress. I am not a skilled seamstress enough to make him a costume. He is a keen amateur photographer so will be delighted to take a lot of photos.  He has been involved in a group playing 18th century chamber music and dressing in appropriate costume, but the costumes belonged to the group. He plays French horn. Sadly, due to medical problems of the group’s leader, the group no longer plays. They have played in the most interesting venues around the country. Most notably Holburne Museum in Bath. It’s a lovely place to visit if you haven’t been before. 

June 27, 2013
1:34 pm
shigatsuhana
Sutton Coldfield, England

Senior Member
Forum Posts: 26
Member Since:
June 24, 2013
Offline

I looked at the itinerary for your trip to England. Wow! That’s sounds like a fantastic trip. You are staying in some very lovely places. I visited Kensington Palace two years ago when they started the refurb there. It was a fantastic collection of art. Vivienne Westwood had even done something for it. The dresses and tiaras were quite something to see. I think the exhibit changes from time to time. I’m sure a wonderful time will be had by all! Hope to meet up with you in Bath over the festival weekend.

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