Friday, June 7, 2013

 Butterfly Gown

 Renaissance Gown, 2013

Leaves of Lorian Original Design

By Leaves of Lorain

I know an amazing woman (whom I will call Bree) and I love her like an aunt. She has been wonderful to me and to many of the people I hold dear. She is a mother, a nurse, a friend, an amazing girlfriend to her man, and a queen.
And she makes amazing costumes.
I’m lucky to be working beside her this summer.

It also means I have to work especially hard to make some pretty spectacular gowns to set her off even better,
It’s suiting, really. Bree gave me the fabric for this gown.


I was mainly thinking medieval when I drew up the deign for this gown.
The original called for a sweetheart neckline, fur lined sleeves and collar, gold piping on the front, hat and veil and of course a more medieval over look.
What I ended up with is a renaissance gown (hoop included) with a square neckline. I don’t mind a bit.


Bree gave me the six yards of butterfly fabric for this gown. It’s definitely tapestry material. It’s like sewing butter- absolutely amazing and easy to work with.
(If all fabric was like this, I would have waaaayyy too many gowns!!)

I added four yards of matching gold satin and a yard and half of brown fur.
Which has far more of a grain to it on camera….it blends much much nicer in person.

And here I am, thinking ‘Seems pretty simple this time around, right?’


I have over four drawers (yeah, drawers)  full of patterns. And yet none of them ever seem to be just right for what I want to make.
I went through quite the debate over the pattern for this dress. I had decided to make it large enough to wear over a hoop, so I had to add that into my factoring.
Eventually, I ended up with four patterns

For the bodice and central panel of the dress I used McCalls pattern M6376.
For the skirt I used McCalls M6097

For the over sleeves I used Simplicity 2573, the bottom sleeves from the coat like dress.

For the inner sleeves I used my all time favorite pattern, Butterick B4827. That pattern has gotten so much use…sigh.

Go Time, Batman!!

Sorry, Robin moment…

First I cut the butterfly fabric….I had to squeeze a few things in due to the enormous size of the skirt panels - a single panel will go around my waist nearly twice.
As you can see, this is a slightly large skirt. And this is only three sides.

Look... it doesn't even fit on my chairs!!

Because of the enormous size of the skirt, I only used three panels(not including the front panel) and split the back panel a bit for lacing/dressing. I did put facing in the split.

It turned out there was so much skirt I could have put it around my waist over four times…I gathered it into the bodice with tucks, almost like pleats.

There were four pieces to the bodice; I centered the butterflies on the front bodice panels.

 The very center panel of the bodice is the same as the center panel of the skirt. I wanted it that way. It’s gold to contrast.
I sewed the bodice together and then sewed it to the skirt, adding the center panels.

The center panel does have gold piping down both sides.
I made strips of gold fabric about two inches wide and sewed them to the center panel before sewing the center panel into the dress.

At that point I could actually try it on and it looked like so…

Then came the sleeves….they were most friendly.

I did two sets of sleeves for this gown- an tight inner sleeve and an big over sleeve.
The inner sleeve was centered on a butterfly, and I pointed the tips. They ended up a bit short, so be ware of that.

The over sleeves where far more challenging… I cut and sewed strips of fur the same shape as the edge of the sleeves, then sewed them inside the seem of the sleeves. It was a bit thick, but worked fine. I top stitched the sleeves to make them lie flat.

(oh yes…they made very nice hats!!)

I don’t know if you can really see how thick this seem is, but it’s the best pic I have.

I found that Roll hemming the fur before putting inside the sleeve worked best.

In the process of experimenting, I made a little ‘Finger Dress’ and numerous family members tried it on…I’ve just got o get someone to wear it to faire…for some reason they don’t seem eager! (odd, wot?)

The outer sleeves do not quite reach all the way around. I started them just in front of the center seem in the shoulder and they wrap around to just in front of my arm pit. 

My wonderful Mommy helped me take up the bodice to fit my curves better - if you’re like me, no patterns ever fit right and having someone to help you take them us is such a blessing!!

The back of the dress is laced, so I have two strips of fabric with grommets in them. I put interfacing in the strips for a bit more stability. And I added a flap on the inside just in case there was a bit of gap.

And then my mommy helped me hem my dress…

And here it is!
Apologizes must be made for not having better pictures and for the decreased quality of this blog post...I have been too busy wearing my dresses to spend the proper amount of time on my blog...I hope to amended this fact later this summer. Hope to get some photoshoots done with this dress sometime this summer and will update photos then :)

Pip Pip, Cheerio!!


  1. ......And my entire family and I LOVE THIS DRESS!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Really gret job on this it looks amazing and I really see a butterfly theme in those cool sleeves! You triumph again in the world of sewing, and I must say, I love those hats!

  2. Why thank you, Cristi and family!! :D
    It's always nice to hear you like my work! I did enjoy making time I'll make an extra hat for you! ;)