This was the second dress I made for 1860s reenacting. I used the Past Patterns darted bodice with the modified pagoda sleeve. But - I used the wrong fabric for this 'fancier' style - a pink plaid homespun. (I know 'homespuns' aren't the most period either - but sometimes when one is on a budget...) I also didn't know about piping then, and the bodice was finished with binding. Oh- and the dress had plastic boning. So, several problems there. After about a year the dress went into the farby museum - aka the storage building.
However, several years later I found myself in need to a new dress and no $$ for fabric. I decided to raid my old wardrobe and see what I could come up with. I ended up taking apart the bodice entirely - replacing the darts with tucks, and squeezing out enough fabric from the old sleeves for new short puffed sleeves. I also did buttons instead of hooks and eyes at the front, and put tucks in the skirt for a good walking length. I pretended it was my 'mid-war' make do dress during the blockade of the South.
The dress went through several years of reenactments before I decided I was too old for short sleeves during the daytime. :^(
Last week my sister Aspen reminded me that her dresses were all getting too small. Again - no time to get fabric and limited budget sent me out to the storage building. She tried on several of my old dresses and we decided this was the best bet.
All I did was shorten and take in the bodice a bit, re-arrange the tucks to fit her figure, and shorten the skirt about 6 inches at the top, then replaced the pleats with gathers. She's happy that it looks more 'grown up' than her old dresses, and I'm happy that it was an easy fix.
I think it turned out quite nice! The pink plaid dress in it's third life......
I think its fun to see how long one can keep making an old dress new again. That's what they did in the period, after all!