Do you dream of being a medieval heroine in a Waterhouse painting? Are you going to attend a Renaissance Faire and need a costume? Or perhaps you just want to feel like a pretty princess? A velvet medieval gown is the perfect garment for all those occasions. There are lots of medieval dress patterns available commercially that have the same basic shape and construction. Butterick B4827 was used for the dress in this tutorial, but the instructions are applicable to many other patterns.
Sew the long seams together as shown in the color-coded diagram above: the side fronts attach to the front; the side backs attach to the back; and the side fronts attach to the side back. Velvet fabric can creep and slide, so pin or baste your pieces together before machine-sewing. If your fabric is prone to fraying, you may want to use a serger.
Sew the shoulder seams of the front and back together for both the right and left sides of the dress.
Try on the dress to see if any seams need to be adjusted for fit before adding sleeves or sewing the back. Have a friend hold the back shut and determine if any extra fabric needs to be removed.
Sew each sleeve together by having the long edges meet. The way to not mix up your right and left sleeves is to notice which side is larger, which should be sewn into the armhole towards your back. In the photo below, the dark green is the "right" side of the fabric and the lighter green is the "wrong" side.
Sew the sleeves into the armholes as directed in the photo above.
Put a zipper (at least 22" long) down the center back. The rest of the seam below the zipper should be sewn together. If you prefer to use eyelets instead of a zipper you will need to reinforce the edges of the back with a facing (a long strip of fabric down the edge).
Roll the edges of the necklace, sleeve cuffs, and skirt bottom, and pin into place. Stitch down to finish the edges of your dress.
Right now your dress can be worn as is, or you can make a belt and sleeve decorations using the instructions in part 2
To make the belt cut out a long rectangle of jacquard fabric 6" wide and 115" long. (You may need to make it longer or shorter depending on your height and waist size. This measurement is for someone that is 5'6" with a 28" waist).
Sew the long edge (right sides together) to make a long tube and iron it flat.
Tuck in the raw edges of the ends and whipstitch shut.
Optional: sew fancy buttons or beads onto the belt.
For the sleeve tippets, cut 4 "T" shapes as shown in the diagram below.
Sew 2 pieces together, right sides together, as marked in the diagram above. Repeat to make your second tippet.
Turn inside out, tuck in the raw edges at the top, and whipstitch shut.
Iron it flat to make 2 T shapes with no raw edges.
Overlap the sides of the T to make a tube that is slightly larger than your bicep and sleeve measurement.
Sew the cuff of the tippet to your dress sleeve just above the elbow. The belt is worn by wrapping it around your waist twice and tying in the front.