In the 2004 film "King Arthur," Keira Knightly played Guinevere and, on her wedding day, the leading lady wore an early medieval-style gown. The dress featured ornate embroidery, a wide, V-shaped neckline and a very full skirt. Guinevere's wedding gown also had floor-length sleeves with cuffs that began at the elbow. When searching for a pattern, look for gowns with such features to create the most accurate copy. Additionally, look for pale, sea foam-coloured material in silk or fine cotton to create a gown that flows gracefully when you walk.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- Tape measure
- Pale sea foam-coloured fabric
- White fabric
- Sewing machine
- Embroidery floss
- Embroidery needle
- 2-inch wide trim
- Ivory cabochons
- Hand setting tool
Measure the circumferences of your bust, waist and hips and search for a pattern whose size corresponds with your measurements. Medieval-style patterns resembling Guinevere's wedding gown are easily found in historical pattern groups. However, if you cannot find one exactly like Guinevere's dress, remember that several gown components, such as the neckline, sleeve length and waist fitting, are easily altered or exchanged with those of another pattern.
Purchase your material in accordance with the amount required by the pattern. This information is found on the back of the pattern envelope.
Cut out your pattern pieces in the size you need. Fold the material in half lengthwise and pin the pattern pieces to the material, using the blue fabric for the bulk of the gown and the white for the sleeve linings.
Baste all the pieces together in accordance with the pattern's instructions and try on the gown. It is always best to use a wide stitch first, as such stitches are easier to remove and incur the least amount of damage. Adjust any ill-fitting seams symmetrically and sew over the seams to set them in place. Trim the excess material away and finish off the edges.
Sew the gown's lining in the same way that you sewn the dress and sew the two together at the neckline, keeping right sides together. Turn the lining to the inside. This will give the neckline of your gown a clean, smooth finish.
Add the embroidery or 2-inch wide trim to the neckline and sleeve cuffs. In medieval times, the trim on Guinevere's gown would have been hand-embroidered. However, selecting a decorative trim will have much the same effect.
Connect the sleeves together at the shoulders and biceps using the ivory cabochons. These are sewn on like buttons, and medieval women and men wore them to show their status and enhance their clothing.
Mark the points on the back of the gown where the grommets will lie. Ensure that the rows are symmetrical from right to left and use the stamping mechanism in the hand-setting tool to cut holes through the material. Place the grommets inside the holes and hold the grommets inside the hand-setting tool. Hammer the grommets in place and thread the cord through the holes to finish off the lace-up back.
Tips and warnings
- If you are using very expensive or delicate material, consider making a muslin mock-up of the gown before trying the pattern out on the desired fabric.
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