Recreating a 1570’s English Gown- Ellynor Redpath Check in #6

We ended the last post with me starting the sleeves for the overdress, I did get one done, but my wrist started acting up from sewing all the trim, so I took a break to work on the skirt. The skirt for this gown is cartridge pleated, which essentially means it’s a rectangle. A really, really, long rectangle. In this case, about 6 yards of rectangle. Unfortunately, 6 yards of skirt is heavy, so I reinforced it by sewing a line of ribbon along the top of the skirt to keep the fabric from tearing under it’s own weight.

Then I marked gathering guides every inch down the length of the ribbon. I also rolled the top edge over, so we will be gathering through two layers of velvet and 2 layers of ribbon.

To gather, I cut a length of heavy linen thread twice the length of my waist, then took long running stitches through the guide marks.

Because the skirt is so long, after a few feet it starts to fold on itself like this.

Once the whole length of the skirt is gathered on, i tie a knot at the end of the string. Then I run a second thread through the other row of guides for security.

Now the skirt is actually “overgathered” for the bodice, so I have to spread it out as I pin. I started at the center back of the bodice, and the center of the skirt. Then I matched the center fronts. From there I was able to distribute the pleats across the bodice and pin each one.

Then each pleat is securely stitched to the bodice with two or three stiches.

Then I got excited, so I put the dress on my dressform- sans hem and sleeves.

Now, because my brain is basically a pinball machine, I’m back on the sleeves. One is complete, with lining sewn in. The other is currently getting ready to have the trim stripes sewn on.

Once these are done, I can move on to the shoulder rolls, hats (yes two), ruffs, and hemming.

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4 Responses to Recreating a 1570’s English Gown- Ellynor Redpath Check in #6

  1. Beatrice Domenici della Campana says:


    What sort of thread are you using for your construction? Is it the same for the skirt attachment as for the bodice construction?

  2. Ellynor Redpath says:

    The sewing is all done with modern cotton sewing thread.

    The skirt is gathered on heavy linen thread

  3. Fionna Goodburne MacNicol says:

    It looks like you folded the top edge straight down before cartridge pleating the skirt to the bodice. This means your hem won’t be on the straight of the grain. Is there a reason you did it this way?

    • Ellynor Redpath says:

      That is correct. I prefer to sew the top on the grain when I’m doing a front split gown because it causes the edges of the split to “kick out” and show off the forepart. Also, the gown has a small train so there was going to be part of it on the bias regardless. I’m compensating for any stretch by letting it hang on the dressform for a week or so before hemming

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