Tuesday, March 7, 2017

18th C Ensemble for Riley's Farm

This is a quick review for an 18th C ensemble I did last year for 
Riley's Farms 18th C  Colonial Faire event.

It was going to be very warm, even though the event was to be held indoors with air conditioning.  I knew I wanted a breathable fabric that was light weight cotton, silk would have been even too hot for this 100+ weather.  I had the inspiration, I had the fabric, I had the pattern.  Time to make it happen!

My inspiration gown and fabric closeup:                                                     
My Pattern and Fabric:

The fabric was a find at a local thrift shop, Ralph Lauren, Cotton Sateen, King Size sheets, six of them, for three dollars each for a total of $18, in perfect shape.  The pattern was $10 off ebay.  We all know Wingeo is more of a "Wing and a prayer" sort of pattern company, but this one for anyone with at least an intermediate sewing knowledge, should be fun and easy.  There are some light math calculations involved in the skirt yardage estimations, just as an FYI.
What drew me to this pattern was the back of the gown:
Very different from anything else I had seen out there, because who wants to spend all this time and effort to make a gown and have it look like everyone else's?  The pattern is based off an extant pattern the company owns, though no photos are provided, only noted in the instructions.
On the back of the gown, from the neckline to the hemline, is one solid piece of fabric with three giant darts/tucks/pleats, whatever you would like to call them, at the waist for fullness.  Pocket hoops are requred for the proper effect:.

Link to my blog post on making mine: http://vintageattirew-dnalof2007.blogspot.com/2014/08/18th-century-pocket-hoop-panniers.html

There are pleats from the front of the bodice around to the sides, but not in the back.  When pressed, it looks like two giant box-pleats when pressed flat.  It is very pretty and very unique.
The front of the ensemble has plenty of hand-cut ruching throughout, plus vintage lace at the sleeves.  The Stomacher was the easiest thing to make, but this was my first try with straight pinning a stomacher in, and I have to say, it was kind of scary, even knowing my corset was a protective layer of sorts.  Once I was all pinned in, I will say everything held in place perfectly, nothing came loose even while dancing, and I was never stabbed by my pins. Though I will say, I kept expecting to be for the first fifteen minutes or so, after that first initial concern, I could relax more comfortable knowing my gown was not going to draw blood.
The fabric was perfect for this ensemble.  The cotton sateen had just enough shine to it to make it shimmer with movement.  It was lightweight and cool to wear.  I had also make a very sheer cotton batiste 18th c chemise to wear underneath, again as a cooling layer against the heat, that worked very well.
Start to finish took approximately ten days.  I used my own hair, no wig, and did my own makeup, both of which took much longer than expected, even with practice.  I also made up some modern shoes to look the part!  Such fun!  Enjoy!

This ensemble was for Riley's Farms 18th Century Dinner Dance Masquerade in Oak Glen, California. They do a very nice job of this event, and have a great facility.  The 18th Colonial Faire runs several weekends in the summer.  Only down points for me, distance and it is right in the middle of summer and can be a bit warm.  Another interesting tidbit, if an attendee does not have proper 18th c attire, RF has a costume department that can dress them from head to toe in historically accurate attire for both men and women, and this includes hair and make-up included in the price!  Well worth the price for the amazing 18th century entertainment, stage show, historically accurate dinner, and dancing for a magical evening!
Link to photos of the day: http://dnalofdesigns.zenfolio.com/p677353493/slideshow

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

18th Century Round Robe, C 1795

I had an 18th century event looming on the horizon, when the temps started to soar upwards of 90 degrees.  At that point I knew I needed to make a new lightweight cotton gown to be as cool as possible.  I had some wonderful white Dotted Swiss muslin that I was saving for an 18th c gown, and a friend of mine had recently posted about an 18th c gown she had made that I just loved.  As luck would have it, I was able to purchase a graded up pattern from her in my size!  On the down side, she did warn me that there were no instructions, other than the overall gown description as follows: 

*I could not find any other information about this dress beyond what is in the Waugh book. I could find no images. 
["Round Robe, c. 1795.
A round robe of very fine soft white muslin with frills of self material. The bodice lining is of firmer cotton, and the backs of both lining and bodice are cut the same. The bodice and skirt are sewn to the waistband, except the left side from, which from the center front to the side opening is gathered into a narrow band 5.5" long."] - Waugh, The Cut of Women's Clothes, p.307.

So, following along on the basic pattern pieces, I determined what the skirt length should be, used the pattern pieces to create the bodice section, and then started with the guesswork of putting it together.  Prior bodice construction knowledge always helps when you are trying to guess how to put something together without instructions.  I made one error, in that I cut the center back as two separate pieces, when it should have been on the fold, but I was able to work that one inch of fabric back into the mix without problems.  Another error was that I really only gathered it at the shoulders and part way down the bust edge, and I should have gathered it evenly all the way across all edges.  I was able to play with the fabric to get the same look, but that is something I will do differently next time as well.  Lastly, it called for a weird waistband lining, and well I just flat lined it and then pinked the edging and serged it.  It could probably be worked to encase both edges, but that would take a lot of hand sewing, and well hand sewing always makes me bleed and I did not want to get any of that on my white gown!

Overall, the entire construction took only two days.  Once I figured it out, it went pretty quick.  I did construct it a little differently than my friend did, in that I did a "dog-legged" hook and eye closure on the left with a button closure on the right, which hides under the belt, sight unseen.  I also chose not to line the sleeves, as some of the 18th c gowns that I have researched do not have sleeve lining, and I was going for as cool as possible.  The ruffled edge around the neckline, sleeves, and belt was all pinked to save time, and I like the overall look.  The belt is boned center back, lined, and is hand sewn to the gown only on the top edge of the back from side waist to side waist.  I used 3" white satin ribbon for the front closure for a more romantic look.  I can wear it with, and without, a corset depending on the temps I am wearing it in.  With the blousey top it's hard to tell either way, so it makes for a nice alternative on a hot day.

So far as I can tell, this gown design was a precursor to the 18th c Round Gown and the Chemise a la Reine.  It is wonderfully comfortable to wear, and very feminine. I used a pure white "hailstone" dotted Swiss muslin, which has a much more 3D look and feel, and I loved working with this fabric!  I wish I had bought the entire bolt!  I paid $2py at the Golden West Swapmeet, and I know this was a really great deal!

For my hat, I was lucky to also find it at the GWS for $2, it still had the $170 price tag from Nordies on it!  A beautiful wide-brimmed, steel grey/blue straw!  It needed some TLC, which was not a problem.  I shortened the crown, added trim, re-blocked it, straightened out the wire edging, added white swans down feathers, and it was done!  I based the hat look off some of the really big 18th c hats.  My hair was in a simple bun underneath with a couple of big sausage curls hanging on one side.  A small drawstring handbag, some flat white shoes, petticoats and a chemise, and I was all ready to step into the 18th c for the day!  Enjoy!

Myself and my friend, Ms Gina, at the Riley Farm 18th century faire event in 2016

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

2016 "An Evening with Ms Terri Dresbach" at FIDM Los Angeles

The Artistry of Outlander: 

Well, what can I say, I was one of the lucky ones, I got the Golden Ticket!  After two failed email attempts to request a reservation, it was nothing short of amazing to receive an email from FIDM saying that I was indeed going to be invited to attend "An Evening with Terri Dresbach" on Wed, July 20th to hear her talk at length on her Outlander Costumes!  Wow!

There were instructions that were to be followed and as such, they were.  I filled my extra early arrival time with a little bit of shopping and looking around in the downtown garment district and then a little more in the FIDM scholarship store.

I had walked by the entrance once, and no one was there, I had approx 15 mins before we were to be allowed to start lining up.  So, I headed over to get an iced coffee as the day was extremely warm.  Upon my return the line had exploded and there were dozens of people already inline ahead of me!  Where they all came from so quickly was a mystery!  However, I then discovered there were two lines by last name alphabetically, luckily I was in the correct line!  My friend Tracy then met up with me and we were set for registration.  She was able to get some underground parking, but I parked just across the street.

During our short bit of waiting, we took turns wandering into the FIDM gift shop to peruse the Outlander swag being offered for sale, and I picked up a couple of pins and a cool writing pad that was an exclusive FIDM goody - it has a TD drawing of the 18th century Dior Bar Suit inspired gown on the cover!

Doors opened promptly at 5:00 and the check-in process when very quickly and smoothly.  Wristband on, we headed to the elevators, and then to the fourth floor!  We were lucky to find a pair of seats in the sixth row, center, - it was very exciting!

Up at the front of the stage on the left side was the Dior Bar Gown and on the right side, was the Floral Gown. center stage had two chairs.  I was happy to snap a couple of pictures of each gown to add to my Outlander at the Paley photo set:


Promptly at 6:00 Mrs Terri Dresbach and her husband, Ronald Moore (director of the Outlander series), walk in to an enthusiastic round of applause from everyone in attendance.  We were told tonight that Ms Dresbach just received notice that she had been nominated for an Emmy for her costume work on Outlander!  Everyone went crazy with more applauding! The presentation was originally scheduled for a class room, but they moved it the school cafeteria, which allowed for several more people to be able to sit.  The slideshow had a few bugs to work out, but once that was seen to, Ms Terri Dresbach began her talk.

She stated that it all started with a script and the book.  She had a budget and she never went over it.  She told them she would need a year to create everything.  She originally estimated ten thousand individual items would need to be created, she said it ended up being closer to thirty thousand (30,000).  She knew the principal actors/actresses garments needed to be completed prior to filming, and they were.  Most of the work was done at a facility in Scotland by a crew of seventy-five people.  She stated that she researched for months before she started sketching.  She shared the actual inspiration paintings for several of the gowns, suits, and shoes.  Once the sketch was determined to be the final item, it was sent to be made into a pattern, then into a muslin mock-up, then the mock-up was handed over to a team for fabric placement, and then sewn together and finished with many fittings for each actor/actress.  She said while the process sounded simple, it was very arduous, as most of their 18th century fabrics had to be created from scratch by them in-house. She said there was a bank of six digital embroidery machines that worked for hours to create the embroidered fabric they needed.  Hours went into the just the research to determine the perfect embroidery designs.  She said she loved the red banded shoes that she designed that match the Red Gown, and wished they could be sold publicly!  She had nicknames for several of the ensembles, such as "Fruit Bowl" for one of the suits.  She talked about how everyone worked together as a team to make this TV series come to life in the costuming.  She said for the "extras" they would have a week to fit them, and for the fancier extras "Countess #3" or "Duke #7" they would hopefully get thirty days to make that piece.  She shared that she wished there were more full length shots of all the attire (we could not agree more!) that so much can not be seen, the attention to the smallest detail, the dedication to create as perfect an item as possible.  She said that when she was designing for the 1940 attire, it was very special to her as that was her mother and fathers era and she especially wanted to get that exactly right.  She said that she knew there were a lot of fans that truly appreciated the technical difficulties of each ensemble and she wanted to create the best that was possible because she knew it mattered to the cast members, but also because she knew the fans of the show demanded it.  She said she knew she would hear about it via social media if something was not up to par.  She said that each item of clothing was "aged" and or "distressed", sometime as simple as a tea stain dip, or run over  by a car repeatedly, or her most popular effort, by blowtorch!  She said all the wool fabric edges and hems received this treatment especially.  She laughed and stated that they did loose one ensemble, it caught fire and burnt up!

After the final slide, and a thirty-seven minute presentation, the format changed over to question and answers.  Ms Dresbach was warm and endearing with her fans and her answers.  I left feeling like I had just had a nice chat with a good friend!  It was a perfect "in person" presentation and I wanted to share as many of these thoughts as I could remember before that all fell away with other interesting thoughts.  I took a few pictures, not as many as I might have, as I did not want to miss her actually talking while trying to take a picture behind the camera.  I hope for those of you that did not get to attend, you will find this little post of interest - Enjoy!

Add caption

Discussing her inspiration for the Dior Bar Gown (on the left)

Discussing the handpainted Muslin gown


Saturday, July 9, 2016

2016 The Artistry of Outlander Costume Exhibit at The Paley Center

I was recently able to travel up to Beverly Hills to The Paley Center for Media to see The Artistry of Outlander Costume Exhibit.  The Paley Center is one block off Rodeo Dr, has underground parking, and offers free entrance with a`suggested $10pp donation.  I never found the underground parking, so I parked on the street and had to run out every hour to re-up my parking time on the meter.

All that aside, the Outlander Costume Exhibit far far far exceeded my expectations.  If you are going to be in the area before the exhibit ends,June 8 thru August 14, 2016, I highly encourage you to stop by and enjoy this amazing collection.

From a Costumers perspective, each article of clothing is a masterpiece.  The attention to each and every detail is exquisite, the metallic lace trims, the hand-painted fabrics, the hand stitching - was breathtaking.  In my opinion, these modern day creations can rival some of the most beautiful extant pieces of the same era!

I came to view the hand-painted muslin and then noticed that there were four other pieces that were also hand painted!  I am very curious as to how they achieved such exact definition.  I think they must have used some sort of "resist" in the paint liquid, such as what is used for silk scarf painting, and a tipped painting implement.  There was no bleed over of the paint and the lines are very precise.  As much as everyone will love the Red Gown, my heart was with the Hand-painted Muslin.

Here is the link to my full photo library, something like 140 pictures:


Here is the information on The Paley Center:

465 North Beverly Drive, Beverly Hills, CA 90210


310.786.1091 for information on scheduled activities Wednesdays to Sundays,
noon to 5:00 pm; 310.786.1000 for all other information.


Mon. . . . . . . .Closed
Tue . . . . . . . .Closed
Wed . . . . . . .12:00 to 5:00 pm
Thu . . . . . . . 12:00 to 5:00 pm
Fri . . . . . . . . 12:00 to 5:00 pm
Sat . . . . . . . .12:00 to 5:00 pm
Sun. . . . . . . .12:00 to 5:00 pm
*The Paley Center is closed on these holidays: New Year's Day, Independence Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas.  
Here is the details for The Artistry of Outlander:
Here are a few of my favorite Pictures:

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Fabric Referrals and Such

It’s days before your next costume event, things are not coming together on your sewing table, it’s time to rethink your project or maybe even start over.  How many of us have been there?  I know I have, and just recently with last month’s Titanic Tea event.   I am going to share the following information for the benefit of the OCCG members and others. 

Hidden fabric locations with the lowest prices (better than the LA fashion district):

1)      Jenny’s Fabrics
8984 Warner Ave
Fountain Valley, CA 92708

M-F     10-8pm
Sat       10-6pm
Sun      12-5pm

Notes:  4.9 star review; 17,000 square feet of fabric shopping, mostly cottons at $2.98py, but they carry everything from cotton to silk at prices as good or better than what you can bargain for in LA.  Look for the “flats” of fabric and be prepared to do some digging.  The staff is very knowledgeable and helpful.  Sometimes I have stopped off here on my way to LA and found exactly what I needed, and saved myself the time and traffic.  Jenny’s is located right off the 405 at the Magnolia exit in Fountain Valley.

2)       M & L Fabrics
3430 W Ball Rd
Anaheim, CA 92804
714) 995-3178
*mention you are an OCCG Member to save an extra 10%!!!

M-F     9-7pm
Sat       10-6pm
Sun      12-5pm

Notes:  4.7 star review, 23,000 square feet of fabric shopping, the BIG sister of Jenny’s Fabric!  Same owners!  Same great saving, but an even BIGGER selection of fabrics and all things sewing related.  Look for the “flats” of fabric starting at $2.98py and remember to check out the room at the back of the store for more great deals.  The carry a full selection from basic cottons, voile, lawn, batiste, to quilting cottons, all the way up to silk bridal satin and everything in between.  They have two major sales per years at 50-75% off their prices.

3)      Dorrell Fabric Outlet
10870 Spencer Ave
Fountain Valley, CA 92708

M-Sat  10-6
Sun      11-5

Notes:  4.5 star review; fabrics start at $5py and up, lots of upholstery fabrics.  Located right off the 405 freeway at Euclid/Ellis in Fountain Valley.

4)      Fabric Outlet and Crafts
10450 Beach Blvd
Stanton, CA 90680

M-Sat  10-7pm
Sun      12-6pm

Notes:  Looks just like a shop in downtown LA with bolts and rolls of fabric everywhere!  Fabric prices are okay, as is the selection.  Be prepared to do a little digging around for things.  Fabrics, trims, laces, etc are all here.  The shop help is not very knowledgeable, so you are pretty much on your own primarily due to a language barrier.  Sometimes I have gone in and had a good experience, sometimes I could not understand a word being said and had to use a translator.  Right down the street from the Stanton Indoor Swapmeet. 

5)      Golden West College  Swapmeet (GWC)
15744 Goldenwest St
Huntington Beach, CA 92647

Sat       8-3
Sun      8-3

Notes:  Sunday is your better Fabric selection day!  This is my new favorite place to buy fabrics!!  Saturday has some, but not nearly as many.  Fabric runs from $1py to $5py, and they WILL bargain!  Although, when someone is offering me fabric at $2py, I pretty much just hand them my money!  Rolls and rolls of fabrics, mostly stretchy, but some cotton, linen, and wool blends thrown in there, poly color change taffeta at $3py.  1000 yrd cotton cones at $1.25 each.  Edgings and trims starting at .05 per yard.  These prices are SO MUCH better than LA, and it can save you the drive time and traffic trouble.  The trade off is selection and service.  Service is basically measure and cutting, they really can not tell you much about the fabrics they sell, and there is often a language barrier.  I asked once about doing a burn test, and they had no idea what I was talking about, but for $1.50py I just grabbed it.  If you are comfortable with your own judgment on fabrics, you will do well here.  Beginner fabric shoppers, this might not be your best place to start unless you have someone along with you that can assist.  Also, if you see a fabric you like, you should bargain and buy it, at these prices fabric moves very fast, and it probably will not be there when you come back.  That has happened to me on more than one occasion.  Buyers come thru here and buy 30-50yrds of a fabric at a time. 

So, now you have your beautiful new fabrics and notions for your next project already to go, and you sit down to sew and your machine is not doing its job!  What to do?  Well, you can take it to your local Sewing Machine shop that will charge you $100 just to tell you what is wrong with it, and then another $50 or so to actually fix it, or you can call someone to come to you!

Ron Castellanos
Industrial Sewing Machine Tech

Works on: Brother-Consew-Juki
Union Special – Yamato
*also offers Scissor Sharpening

*He will drive from Riverside County to Orange County

I found Ron on Craigslist several months ago, and he has been a life saver, not to mention the money he saved me.  He came to my home and did a full machine tune-up for $70!!!   Very nice and respectful man, very knowledgeable and gave me some tips and tricks on how to better protect my sewing machine as well.  As you can imagine, he is very busy, so call him and make an appointment, but be prepared to wait a day or two until he can actually get to you, but his service and savings are certainly worth the wait!

Monday, April 25, 2016

Edwardian Tea Gown / Simplicity 8399

The Ladies of the Traveling Tea Society planned an Edwardian Tea on the Queen Mary this Month in Remembrance of the Titanic.  In support of this event, the Orange County Costume Guild had an Edwardian Sewing Challenge due April 1st.  While my first choice did not work out (a true vintage restoration piece – still in progress), I was able to cobble together an Edwardian Tea gown that I very much liked. 

I did not have a lot of time left for sewing and making a new gown after I tabled my original project, only about ten days, and that included buying the necessary fabrics!  I took a day looking at my pattern stash and deciding on colors.  I wanted something easy and pretty straight-forward, so I selected the Simplicity 8399 Titanic Dress pattern by Andrea Schewe.

Next, I was off to purchase fabric.  The night prior I had sat and watched a spectacular sunset, all corals, dusty purples, and peach, highlighted with pops of gold and white.  I decided right then and there, those would be my colors!  As luck would have it, I was able to pull together all the fabrics and colors that I needed.  A beautiful peach embroidered sheer, a pink Chiffon, a dusty violet Georgette, plus a coral Crepe de Chine.  The drape and hand of each fabric was in perfect contrast to the next color it layed against. 

This gown would need to be dry-cleaned due the fabrics, so I just pinned the pattern pieces and went for it.  There are three different layers on the skirt and four different layers on the bodice.  The embroidered sheer was lined with the Chiffon, the Georgette, and lastly the Crepe de Chine.  The bodice has all three of those, plus a white striped cotton underbodice that you can see just a little of.  Lots of seam sewing, hemming, and gathering for the skirt section, followed by lots of fiddling of fabrics for the bodice.  The pattern called for a big zipper, but no thank you, I went with a row of beautiful mother of pearl ½” buttons down the back instead.  Another change I made was I lengthened the sleeves to elbow length. 

One thing that I did not learn about this pattern until it was too late was the bust line.  If you are a smaller busted lady, say B-cup or smaller and short waisted, you should be okay.  This pattern makes no adjustment for cup size.  I should have done a full bust adjustment and added three inches to the length as I am also long waisted, but with a back closing gown, it is always so hard to fit yourself.  By the time I realized I had a problem, it was too late to fix it.  I just used my corset to flatten down the “girls” for a better fit, and made a wider sash to help cover my faux pas.  In my defense, I did cut a bodice mock up, but again, it is just so hard to fit a back closing gown without help.

While the pattern looks simple, it is deceptive, the layering construction can be challenging.  You have a lot of fabric to work with in all the skirts, approximately nine yards, plus another two yards or so of fabric in the bodice, for an eleven yard total.  I think I bought twelve yards total, and just managed to have a few scrapes leftover.  I bargained very hard for the fabrics and notions, so I think the entire gown cost me approx $28 to make as I already had the pattern.

I am not sure that I would personally use this pattern again unless making the necessary FBA bodice adjustments, as it was not really designed for my body shape, and there are just too many other patterns out there to try without all that extra effort.  However, I think this is a good pattern for a smaller bust sized person with beginning sewing skills that would like to give themselves a challenge.  Enjoy.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

1859 Black and White Vested Bodice with Split Skirt Ensemble

1859 Zouave Bodice with Tiered Skirt
This ensemble is all about the fabric!  It is a lightweight white cotton with an amazing black border print.  I had purchased 6 1/2yrds from Kansas City Mercantile Proprietress, Ms Peters several months ago.  It is not quite a sheer, but is a wonderful airy, lightweight cotton.  I wanted a new ensemble to wear at the San Juan Capistrano Swallows Day Parade, so I took up the “One week for One Dress” challenge, and this was my finished product!
The OC Costume Guild at the 2016 SJC Swallows Parade

I started with washing, drying, and ironing on Saturday.  Sunday was all about laying out and cutting.  Monday saw me start and finish the skirt.  Tuesday was start day on the bodice and I finished up on Wednesday.  Thursday was fitting and finishing day.  Friday ended with buttonholes, buttons, and bows and I was done!  I did work five of the days, so worked on the ensemble after I got home.  Each day I would set a goal of what had to be completed before I could go to bed, and this helped me stay on track in regards to meeting my “one week” deadline.

I originally wanted to try a full “one” length skirt, but the pattern repeat was too big and the top of the skirt looked off to me, so I flipped it into the two tier design using the Truly Victorian TV244 Double Skirt pattern.  This pattern covers the timeframe of 1837-1869, and would fit in perfectly with the era I was going for.  The pattern called for 6.5 yards fashion fabric and 2.5yrs of lining fabric.  After cutting the bodice pieces, I was left with almost 6.25yds.  To maximize the fabric, I did not cut it into panels as instructed, so I save several inches by having only one seam in the back that was used as the placket.  I split the border fabric right down the center making two tiers instantly.  The bottom tier is gathered and sewn onto the lining yardage.  The top tier was gathering and both tiers were basted together at the top edge then sewn into the fitted waistband.

The bodice is the OOP Simplicity 3791 “The Museum Curator” pattern by Deborah Woodbridge.  I only used the bodice pattern.  Now, we all know that the Big 5 always factors in a 2-4” ease in their patterns, however, that is not the case on this one!  I cut it to measurements and it was almost too small!  So, keep that in mind with this pattern!  I think as a “Museum” based pattern it is probably factored off an extant gown.  I do wish that all the Big 5 pattern companies would include the research and documentation on their Historic Patterns; it would really help with their overall pattern branding. 

This is a great bodice pattern.  It has the requisite double darts on each side in the front, the 2” wide center back width at the waist, the dropped sleeve seam, plus the dropped shoulder/back seam.  The Vested Bodice in this pattern does give you the restricted arm movement so associated with this era; it was eerie to really feel what women of that era would have experienced wearing a similar bodice.  I have worn a lot of vintage patterns, but this one was right on the nail in regards to making me feel like I was wearing a gown of the past ie: be it the fit or the pattern, the result was the same. 

The bodice pattern goes together quickly and all spots match up correctly.  Prior bodice sewing knowledge would be helpful.  I would say beginning intermediate level sewing skills.
Now, with only 6 ½ yds of fabric, I wanted to make sure I gave as much as possible to the skirt, so I only used approximately 1/2yrs for the front vest panels and the sleeve cuffs.  Proper fabric placement of the vest panels was key, and I cut them on the bias to help the print stay vertically in line with the skirt.  I used a lightweight white fabric for the balance of the bodice.  I also converted the sleeve “interior” facings into “exterior” cuffs to pull the darker border up onto the bodice.  This pattern does not call for any lining or piping, but I would certainly add it for any future sewing projects using this pattern.  The edges are all finished with the biased tape edging.  The pattern called for a “foldable” braid, but I opted for 1” cotton bias tape which I then folded in half, ironed, and sewed into place.  Note, there is a little notch on the neck edge of the bodice, do not overlook this.  It is needed to allow the two pieces to lock into each other and lay completely flat at the neckline center.  Also, I used a small black snap at the neckline edge instead of the button, plus a snap at the bottom edge to make sure all my edges would match up correctly.

The Vested Bodice was around in the late 1850’s to early 1860s, and I have always wanted to make one, and this fabric with the pattern seemed a perfect fit!  Enjoy!

It was a popular women's fashion in the 19th century in the United States. Colorful, braid-trimmed Zouave jackets became fashionable in the late 1850s and remained so well into the 1860s.” – Wikipedia 
Cindy P of "The Broke Costumer", Gina L, Val L of "Time Traveling in Costume" and Trudy F of "D'Nalof Design"