Things I learned making this gown~
1. Hand sewing a simple straight seam takes about 7 x’s longer than using a machine.
2. Use a thimble if you can master it. Your fingertips will thank you. (I ended up using the finger
tip of an old leather glove.)
3. Approximately 29 hours spent sewing.
4. Approximately the same number of threaded needles used.
5. Back stitch! If you have to cut the fabric and have used a back stitch you won’t lose all your
6. Run your thread through bees wax. This helps the thread from snarling.
7. It is EXTREMELY hard to rip out when sewing lace. All the threads look alike.
8. It is surprisingly hard to sew in a straight line.
9. My best running stitch was 14 stitches per inch.
10. I now have arthritis in my pinkie finger.
11. Good lighting is paramount! Not easy when you are trying to sew by candlelight. Seamstresses
must have had very tired eyes.
Things I learned wearing this gown at the Beau Monde Soiree~
1. It is surprisingly comfortable.
2. These light gowns must have been lovely in the summer, but brutal in winter in a chilly castle.
3. You have to be aware of the blasted train at all times! I would think it’s much like driving;
you have to watch out for not only you, but the other drivers as well. (I can’t imagine
negotiating a crowded ball room. No wonder there was always a maid installed in the “ladies
retiring room” to m
end ripped hems.)
4. Country dances are exhausting but great FUN!
5. You cannot do a darned thing when wearing gloves. And taking them on and off can be a
At the Beau Monde Soiree, L to R: Ann, Sir Reggie, Jess
I made the over-dress out of an old bed canopy. Re-purposing this piece of lace inspired my blog called “Trash to Treasure.” Each month I transform a thrift store find into something new and exciting! You can find me at://jessrussellromance.com/
For a sneak peak here is my Mid-century evening coat re-made into a 19th century Redingote!
The Dressmaker’s Duke was a double finalist in the National Readers Choice Awards for Best First Book and Best Historical and is available at Amazon, iTunes, and BandN.
Thanks so much for having me share my love of sewing! Jess Russell
Victoria again. Thanks so much for sharing your experiences, Jess. And just to remind readers of this blog and not incidentally myself (!) — all us us who thinks this might be easy — Jess adds:
I have been sewing since I was very young. So when I embarked on my first novel the phrase “write what you know” came to mind. Well, I know sewing. Here is my wedding gown. The pattern I made out of newspaper and the rest I made up as I went along.
Jess in her bridal gown
Again, all I can say is wow!! Even if I were an experienced stitcher, I could not begin to imagine creating such a fabulous dress!! Brava, Jess.