Sew-Along with Mrs. Parks: Week Two

Undergarments. Pattern Prep. Pattern Mock Up.

From Mrs. Parks

First things first, I want to talk to you about UNDEGARMENTS!  Scandalous I know.  I touched on this Topic in THIS post . The Regency era was a wild departure from the fully boned stays of the earlier generation (image stays 1) But with a very few exceptions ladies weren’t going around unsupported.  From my experience I have used everything from a modern bra to a set of short stays  to a bodied petticoat and everything in between.  You basically want to just raise and separate the bust.

This is an EXCELLENT article on Regency undergarments over at the Oregon Regency Society 

This link is to the “Sense and Sensibility” Pattern Hack to making a Bodied Petticoat is highly recommended, if you’re looking to make one. 


For petticoats, you can use a regular petticoat or a petticoat with shoulder straps like this extant example:

Image 4 strapped petti 1

Regency era strapped petticoats


I have decided to go with a petticoat on straps to avoid adding layers to my bosom. Here is what I came up with:

Image 2 petti coat with straps 1

Mrs. Parks’ Strapped Petti – Front

Mrs Parks Strapped Petti - back

Mrs Parks Strapped Petti – back

I didn’t have a pattern.  I sort of just improvised. For a regular petticoat, you CAN use the skirt section of the pattern and your mock up as a petticoat, if that works for you. You just put it on a waistband.  

Comment here or on Facebook if you all are super stumped about petticoats and I’ll come up with a “recipe” for you.

Why all this blathering on about undergarments? Because you must fit your dress OVER your undergarments or the dress just won’t fit.

Pattern Sizing Chart

Pattern Sizing Chart

PDF DOWNLOAD CHECKLISTS WEEK 2 – Undergarments and Measurements

UNDERGARMENT CHECKLIST – the basics you’ll need:

  • bra/corset
  • petticoat

Extras if you have them:

  • shapewear
  • chemise
  • stockings/nylons



Measurements checklist:

  • bust
  • underbust
  • Arm length (from underneath the arm)
  • Bicep
  • Waist
  • Hips
  • Skirt length

image 6 imogen with pattern (1)The Laughing Moon Patterns have really great, specific sizing instructions in the very extensive instruction booklet that comes with the pattern. But they are not like the normal Big 4 Patterns, so read the sizing and construction instructions and follow them.

Remember: Measure OVER your undergarments.  Certain measurements increase with them on and certain measurement decrease, so put on the underthings you plan to wear to the Rout. Measure twice to be sure, but in the end TRUST THE TAPE.

A word of warning here: Be sure to take your measurement from the high waist right under your bust shelf.  Your natural waist is dead to us.*


*UNLESS your natural waist is larger than your underbust measurement in which case the pattern tells you what to do when selecting which pattern size to cut out.



Cutting the Pieces:

I had a carbonated beverage and perused the whole pattern booklet before I cut any of it out.  I will be going through View C with both the bodice that dips in front and the Bodice that gathers for the Sew Along.  Since this dress is for dancing I will be making a non trained version (well VERY SLIGHTLY trained).  I will also be doing the short puffed sleeve as seen with View C and I hope to explore a couple easy variations of that sleeve as well.

When prepping a pattern I do a rough cut out of each of the pattern pieces I’ll be using for my specific view and then put the rest back in the envelope.  I then cut out along the outside edges of the pattern pieces so ALL pattern sizes remain intact.  

IMG_2010 (1)


Then I trace the size I am using, blending sizes as need be, following the pattern instructions, onto some large gridded paper I have. 

IMG_2011 (1)

Afterwards I leave the original pattern pieces out of the envelope and in my “current project basket”. I do this because I am rubbish at transferring pattern markings so I inevitably end up needing to refer to theses again.


Man, do I hate pattern prep! If you ever work in my shop for a show, cutting out and prepping a commercial pattern is the first thing you learn, so then I don’t have to do it! 


Sweet Imogen decided to "help"!

Sweet Imogen decided to “help”!


A couple things to be aware of:

  • When you get to the  the whole 16 A, 16 B thing…It is tricky but I finally figured it out by you know…reading the notes ON the pattern pieces.
  • The Band for the short puffed sleeve is labeled in actual inches.  Be sure to use the circumference measurement of your bicep plus at LEAST 1” for ease.  I can already foresee putting elastic in this guy. So much arm raising in dancing…We’ll see.


Further Pattern Prep & Mock Up Pattern:


The Skirt pattern has some extensions that need to be taped on (due to paper size restrictions) go ahead and do this.  Unless you have a giant table the floor is going to be easiest workspace (it was for me).


Here it is with that template rectangle shown.  I am delightfully full figured so my template rectangle (16c) goes all the way to the corner BUT if I were smaller I’d place it as indicated on the pattern. (image IMG_1956)

IMG_1956 (2)


Keep in mind that there is a RIGHT side and a LEFT side of the skirt! (image IMG_1958)

IMG_1958 (2)

Here is my “NOT quite a train but still pretty feeling” length marked.  (IMG_1959)

IMG_1959 (2)

The exact length of  the skirt is written ON THE PATTERN ( I just think this is the bees knees). Since I have already taken my High Waist to Top of Foot measurement I know how to add to that skirt. I am 5’10” in flats and require a very long skirt. Chances are you’ll be wanting to plan for either some tucks (very period), a deep hem (very pretty) or to shorten the pattern.


Here I’ve marked some reminders for when I cut my fashion fabric. (image IMG_1953)

IMG_1953 (2)

Set the skirt pattern pieces aside until later.  There is a caution written on the pattern about the side pleats adding visual width and I am thinking “AH HECK NO!” So I may be forced to mess around with a mock up after all…we’ll see.



There is a whole thing in the pattern on “if the Underbust VS Bust measurement is more or less than 5”” there are different instructions.  I don’t remember what they are exactly, so I’m just cutting out the size of my bust measurement, The mock up will help me figure out what alterations I need to do.


Bodice pattern laid out on a scrap of unbleached muslin. (image IMG_2018)


You’ll noticed that I taped the strap piece to the lining piece in order to only have one piece…this ended up being a stupid idea because I needed to make an alteration later. DON’T DO THIS.  You’ll see…


Since I am doing a darted version of the bodice I marked my darts on the Mock Up by literally jabbing the pin through the paper to mark the dart tip and then marking the dart ends (image IMG_2030)


Then I assembled the bodice lining for the mock up:

the back side seams

the back side seams put together



IMG_2032 (1)

the darts for the front fall View C


IMG_2033 (1)

Casings for the Gathered Bodice View


Then I put it on my dress form and started to tinker with the pattern.  If you do not have a dress form you will have to try the pattern on yourself and using a mirror, a friend, and/or some advanced contortion pin the alterations you need while you are wearing it (and your undergarments).  I suggest safety pins for this step.

Here are some of the alterations I ended up doing for my fitting:

I changed the shoulder strap angle to fix this gaping (image IMG_2026) (image  IMG_2029)

IMG_2026 IMG_2029 (2)

I added an additional dart (The Pattern told me I would probably need to do this) (image IMG_2039  and Image IMG_2047)  

IMG_2039 (1) IMG_2047 (1)

I decided on how low I wanted the dip for the View C look…(Image IMG_2049) and realized I’ll have to make the lining out of Fashion Fabric (Image IMG_2053) because the lining shows.

IMG_2049 IMG_2053

Looked at the gathered bodice version and decided it looked just fine (Image IMG_2059)

IMG_2059 (1)

And then transferred the changes back onto the paper pattern. (Image IMG_2063)


which left me with this (image IMG_2064).  


I don’t always do this step, often I recycle my mock up directly into the fashion fabric pattern. In this case, I thought I’d use the pattern again a couple more times, so it was worth this step.  I ended up taking the back up quite a bit so I am going to have to remind myself to add length to the back skirt.

Then I was left with a pile of NEW pattern pieces and a plan (image IMG_2067)


Next Time: Fashion Fabric Bodice and Sleeve Variations!

Back to the Beginning of the Sew Along!


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