Franken-er-New wool Housebook Dress
I’ve been wanting to make my next German dress, also known as the Housebook Dress, in wool. I had made an over-the-head quick kirtle out of lovely blue wool over a year ago, but wanted to make it into something fancier.
I had even started the process of transformation
but got frustrated with the lack of extra wool, and the need to have a cooler dress overruled my obsession with fixing the wool dress. I made my first Housebook dress in linen, and it came out pretty well. There are a few issues that I am still working on in regards to construction: pleats, closures, and the grande assiette sleeve.
Here are a couple examples of the Housebook Dress as a refresher:
See the pleats in the front of the dress? I originally made my pleats using cartridge pleating.
Which looked *okay*, but after a few wearings and washings started to get all wiggly and weird:
So I thought I might recreate this dress and its pleating system a little differently. An awesome seamstress, pattern master, and all around awesome lady, Kass McGann, steered me toward a completely different approach: stuffed pleats.
Stuffed pleats are just what they seem they should be: little rolls of fabric sewn inside a pleat.
But first, a DISCLAIMER:
This dress is unofficially called “Frankendress” because of its piecemeal nature. I used a dress that was originally a simple over-the-head jobby, and I had maybe one yard of wool fabric left over to make additions/changes. Out of that comes my wool Housebook dress.
Here’s how I made stuffed pleats:
It was difficult to achieve full frontal closure on the linen dress, so I chose to sew the front closed and create eyelets in the side so that I could lace it closed.
For the wool dress, I am (so far, anyway) closing it in the front using handmade brass hooks and eyes for the top part, and just eyes for the lower part for lacing.
Grande Assiette Sleeves
The linen Housebook dress had 3/4 length laced sleeves that allowed the hemd (chemise) to show from behind/under the arm.
So that’s the progress for now. I am adding burgundy wool to the bottom of the dress and at the ends of the sleeve openings. The bodice is lined; the rest of the dress is not. I will wear a hemd and a skirt under the dress. I need to research whether they wore a kirtle-like garment under the dress, over the hemd, or if it was indeed a skirt. Any ideas? Please leave me some constructive comments!
I will also be adding my pleated steuchlein and gefrens projects soon!