Not Easy Being Green 1870-71

Drooling over Janet Arnold's Patterns of Fashion 2 (Amazon Associates link), I quickly determined that a gown from 1870-71 would be my first challenge.

This was made for one of my LARP (Live Action RolePlaying) characters, so I made some changes for in game reasons. One change was the amount of fabric I used. One of the game mechanics is the "Certificate of Authenticity." You can see two pinned to the front apron of my skirt. Basically, no matter how fancy your outfit is, unless you have a certificate/tag giving it an in-game value, other characters won't view it as especially special. Many characters don't care about this kind of thing, but mine is a British Aristocrat, and when playing the society game, that kind of thing is important! After all, it isn't enough to be fancy if people don't KNOW you're fancy! Oh, and she does have a robotic hand. Keystone LARP is a weird west alternate history LARP, and tons of fun. And yes, I did pick my character background based on how I could be the MOST fancy.

Oh yes. Back to the certificate of authenticity. My character had obtained one worth "1kg of silk." I didn't use actual silk. I used a sythetic taffeta I found at the amazing $3 a yard Auburn Fabric Outlet (773 Southbridge St, Auburn, MA 01501).  I knew I'd bought too much, so I cut off a yard and weighed it on my baking scale. Then, I did the math to make sure I used no more than 1kg of fabric.

The oversleeve bits aren't as full as I'd have liked, and I had to skip the ruffle on the bottom skirt hem, but I REALLY enjoyed the challenge. And I even left enough for a hat! I followed the tutorial from one of my favorite websites ever: I just need to finish it, with either peacock feathers or discarded feathers from my friend's gorgeous parrot! 

This was the first time I used Titchy Thread's Inkscape PDF Generator to make my Inkscape patterns into PDF patterns. (Oh yeah, and while I am an Amazon Associate, and would earn a small commission if you purchased something through one of my Amazon links, I don't earn anything else I link to at this point.)

I had some growing pains with figuring out how to make this work, so there are a lot of files! Bear with me, and please reach out if parts are missing!!! I was just diagnosed with Cervicogenic Headache and Dizziness, and have been dealing with visual tracking dysfunction for almost two months, so my time on the computer is pretty limited at the moment. Otherwise, I would proofread these better. I may need to re-export some of the pattern pieces.
Also, I used these to do fittings in muslin, and the bodice is a VERY tight fit. You'll need to do a lot of your own customization! 

More pictures. . ..

You know what I love? Ruffles. You know what I hate? Manually gathering stuff. The Janome Universal Ultimate Ruffler  is the best thing in the history of things.The reviews are only 3 stars, but ignore them.

 It is also amazing for pleats. I made a dress basically centered around pleats. I was going to post it later, but I want to make sure you know how much I love that sewing machine foot!



  1. Hi! It's such a lovely color on you! How many yards of fabric did you use for the
    Janet Arnold 1870’s Gown bodice and skirt?

    1. If you like, I can look through my notes to see if I can find the weight of the fabric. This is kind of a weird way to measure the fabric, but it was for a LARP character and I got an in-game item I got to represent with this dress. I believe the tag said 1 kg. Would it help you if I find some of my scraps and estimate?