The layout of the rest of the pattern will be essentially the same as that illustrated in the full pattern instructions. You will want to play around with the pieces a bit to ensure the best fit on your material. The only difference is that you will need to double your material in order to cut out the supplemental short sleeve as illustrated above (since it will not fit across 45” wide material). If you are using 54-60”-wide material, doubling is not necessary.
1. Bodice - Follow the instructions given in the full pattern.
A. Short Sleeve instructions are the same.
B. Long Sleeves - To enlarge the long sleeve/undersleeve pattern piece, simply add 3/8” to the seam allowance on each side of the sleeve for each size above 18. For example, if you are a size 22, you will add 3/4” to each side; if you are a size 24, you will add 1 1/8” to each side; etc. You should also add a bit to the bell curve of the sleeve, as illustrated below:
4. Skirt - To enlarge the skirt front, simply add the same amount to the side seam that you find from the 18 line to your size line on your supplemental bodice front piece. Measure out from the 18 line on the skirt and cut down from there, keeping the same distance as you cut down the entire length of the skirt. If you are not the same size from the waist to the hips (as most of us are not), just grade out from the waist, adding more room in the hip area. For example, if you are a 20 in the waist and a 24 in the hips, you will start cutting down at the 20 line you’ve marked and grade out to a 24 line as you reach the hip area. Then follow the 24 line all the way down to the bottom. See the photographs below for an illustration of this grading method:
You will not need to add size lines to the skirt back piece. Simply cut the pattern piece out as wide as your yardage permits. If you are over a size 22 and do not want a columnar skirt (one with little fullness in the back), you will need to add another skirt panel to create the full gathered skirt back. Cut your skirt back piece open down the fold first. Now measure your skirt back piece from top to bottom along the center back. Cut a rectangular panel from your material, using this measurement for the length and making the panel anywhere from 12-18” wide (cutting on the fold). Now cut your center back opening in the fold of the panel, following the marks indicated on the center back pattern piece. You will sew this new panel to the skirt back pieces (between the halves you just cut).
4. Making a waistband with drawstring - To make your gown fit like a glove at the empire waist and look absolutely stunning, you need to be able to tighten the empire waist below the bust so that the gown doesn’t “blouse out” at the front. You will create a waistband with a drawstring ribbon that ties either outside the gown in the back or inside the gown before it is buttoned. Adding a narrow waistband to your gown will create a wonderful period look and will really make the fit superb. Complete instructions follow:
A. To determine how long a waistband you need, measure your (un-sewn) skirt front all the way across the top (subtracting 1 1/4", since that will go into the side seam allowances-it’s 5/8" times two). Next, measure the back of the bodice (which you have already made) from one side seam to the back opening. Add those two numbers together, then add 3/4" to that measurement, since that's the amount you'll need to fold under at the center back opening (3/8" times two-you really don't need 5/8" to fold under). Let me give a sample of how this works: Say your skirt front is 18" across at the top. Subtract 1 1/4" from that to get 16 3/4". Say your bodice back is 16" across. Add those two figures together, and you get 32 3/4". Now add 3/4" to get 33 1/2". That's the length you’d need to cut your waistband. If you’d like a fairly narrow band (no more than one inch wide when finished), cut it 2 1/4" wide to give yourself a 5/8" seam allowance on each side. Cut out two waistbands, since one will be used for lining. (You can cut the waistband lining of lining material if you like.) If you are using a striped fashion material and want the stripes to run around the waistband, cut it vertically on the material (with the grain). If there isn't a print you are concerned about, you can cut the waistband straight across the material. Don’t cut on the bias, because that makes the waistband too stretchy, and it will tend to pull itself out of shape with frequent wearing and washings.
B. With the bodice sewn together, go ahead and pin the waistband onto the bodice and bodice lining, matching center fronts and the back opening (folding under the back of the waistband 3/8"). Pull up the gathering stitches in the bodice front and pin them in place, then sew the waistband to the bodice. [Note: The reason you will catch the bodice lining into the waistband with the bodice is that you will be lining the waistband and will cover up the bodice and skirt seams with that-no need to leave the bodice lining free as shown in the full instructions.]
C. Once the skirt is sewn together, pin it to the waistband, making sure that you've matched center fronts and side seams. Make your back pleats or pull up your gathers, pin and stitch.
D. Now, since you will be running a ribbon through the waistband to act as a drawstring, you need to make openings in the waistband so that the ribbon can be tied on the outside or inside of the gown. If you opt to have the ribbon tie on the outside, you will be making small eyelets (the width of your ribbon) in the waistband itself. If you decide to have the waistband tie inside your gown, you will make small eyelets in the waistband lining before hand-sewing that article in place. The eyelets may be placed anywhere from the skirt side seams on back, although for the inside-tying ribbon, you will want each eyelet at least two inches from the center back opening so the ribbon isn’t caught in the overlap. You can stitch the eyelets by hand or by machine, using a buttonhole stitch. Once you have your eyelets made, it’s time to line the waistband and cover up those unsightly seams inside your gown. You’ll run the ribbon drawstring through last.
E. Iron under 3/8" at each end of the waistband lining, then iron under 5/8" along the top and bottom lengthwise. Take this lining and pin it over the seams on the inside of the bodice waistband. You can whipstitch the waistband lining in place, but I recommend slipstitching the folded under ends at the bodice opening so no stitching shows there at the overlap. Once the waistband lining is in place, cut your ribbon drawstring (which should measure two or two and a half times larger than the measurement around your ribcage at the empire waist). Now feed the drawstring through the waistband by pinning a safety pin to one end and pushing that through one eyelet, around the waistband and out the other eyelet. That’s it! Your waistband is finished. Your only other consideration will be the length of your skirt, since adding a waistband adds one inch to the length. You may want to trim the excess from your skirt when you try the gown on to mark the hem, or you might just want to make a deeper hem.
5. Finishing the Dress - Except for the waistband, you will finish your dress almost exactly as shown in the full pattern instructions. The only other possible change you may wish to make is in the number of buttons that fasten the back closure. Because the supplemental bodice back piece is longer, more buttons will be in order if you wish to space the buttons closely. I recommend using five 5/8” buttons or six 3/8” buttons, but you can certainly use more if you choose. Space the buttonholes evenly down the back (usually about 1 1/2” or 1 3/4” apart). The rest of the instructions are the same.