How To Make Twisted Fringe on Brain Tan Leather

After spending considerable time studying museum dresses, I began to recognize a pattern to the fringing that was not just the result of time and wear.
I had also noted, upon cutting the fringe on my dress that the straight fringe strands were very weak and prone to tearing, becoming fuzzy and tangling. Perhaps this is not a problem with modern tanned hides, but with brain tan it is.

What had they done to improve the strength and appearance of the fringe?
The answer was simple and logical. Any backwoods girl who went to bed with wet braids would see it right away. They had dampened it and braided it!

This gave the desired result of not only adding a softer look to the fringe but gave the additional bonus of making the fringe stable and strong!

After twisting, braiding and allowing to dry thoroughly, the fringe is almost impossible to tear.

I started by cutting my fringe the thinnest I could while still retaining the integrity of the fiber. Thin fringe was in, as far as my research went. I practiced on scraps until I got a handle on it. Each part of the hide requires a slightly different width to retain integrity.

Right handed Folks should cut left to right, lefties right to left. Hold the fringe to be cut in your left hand and slide the scissors up the strand pulling the fringe away as you cut.

I used my sewing shears and cut each fringe one at a time, some use a rotary cutter, I am not that proficient with this tool. If you are good with shears you can start the cut and slide the scissors up the fringe without having to chomp away at it, but it takes really good, sharp scissors.

Clean you scissor blades and oil often, make sure no oil remains on the blades to stain the leather, (impossible to ever remove, better stiff scissors than a permanent oil stain!)

Keep in mind that when you cut your fringe, it is going to increase in length at least on quarter of the length, after wetting it, it will be at least on third longer and thinner.

Here is the fringe all cut and laid out ready to start braiding.

I then separated the fringe into manageable strips of three, it takes some experience to know how many strands to use, if you use too few it will not kink, if you use to many it will never dry! Practice on scraps.


I then wet down the strips with plain water til saturated and then pulled each strip starting at the top and evenly smoothing to the bottom without tugging. Dampen all the way to the top of the fringe(welt) as this is the weakest point where the fringe meets the main body of leather.

Also, make sure not to wet the main body of the dress as this will leave watermarks, you will end up with a little around the seam where the fringe joins, but you don't want puddle marks on the main body of the dress.

I then gently twisted each group being careful not to over twist at the top or at the ends. Do not over tighten, it will never dry and will overstretch the fringe!


At this point I began to loosely braid from top to bottom, making sure to keep the twist even as I went and using the traditional overhand braid.

Do not braid tightly! Make it loose like a braided bread roll. You can tell if it is loose enough when you are done if the braid itself does not kink up but lays flat and pliant.

When I reached the end of the braid, I tied the strands with a scrap of leather, tie loosely, as not to impede drying nor mark the leather. Cut these strips before you start to braid about two to three inches long and wet before tying, you will need a hundred or so depending on how much fringe you do in a day. use a simple knot, you don't need to get carried away or you will never get them untied!

I then took the dress inside and put on the dress form and let dry for 24 hours, making sure that none of the braids were still damp by loosening a braid and checking the inside of the twist to be absolutely sure it was dry.

After drying, I carefully loosened each braid and let hang without pulling on it or combing it with my fingers to make sure the kink had taken and the twist was thoroughly dry.

Here I am cutting and braiding the other side of the dress, one side is more than enough work for one day! 

How my fringe stacks up to museum dresses - Click to Enlarge!
And here we have the final result, a strong twisted fringe that will last several lifetimes!

It will eventually relax and lose most of its kink, but the strength and beauty will remain!

You can always re-braid and re-kink at a later date, just be very carefully to twist each strand exactly as it was done before, changing the twist will create an ugly look! Also, use less water the second time as the fringe is already seasoned.

Some fringe on the dresses I observed was not twisted, but all of it was water treated and stretched to improve its strength, an article I later found said they used saliva on the fringe, but I just didn't have a watery enough mouth for this attempt, and it would be considered a bit unsanitary in these days!

Modern Leather fringe is twisted using a solution identical to what is in windex, basically ammonia, just like a modern hair permanent! You are welcome to try this, but it would not be exactly traditional and windex leaves a bluish cast.

Hopefully you will find this helpful, it took me a long time to figure out what was going on with the fringe thing at the museum, but thankfully, I finally figured it out! let me know how your project goes, I would be glad to help out with any problems you have and would love to see your work or any feedback you might have!

My Two Hide Dress Comparison With Museum Dresses

I changed my mind about fringe and such after seeing the two hide dresses at the Chicago Field History Museum.

Most of these dresses were post-contact and were made from mountain sheep hides. This you can tell by the tail in the front and back at the yoke.

This means the hides were thinner and much smaller.

My hunch has always been that Women began to use Mountain Sheep Hides because they were easily available post contact and had no value for trade with the Europeans.

Also, the great Elk herds had dwindled due to over-hunting and the introduction of European stock, which brought a form of Tuberculosis to the Elk and Buffalo. This caused Women to use what was more readily available to them, yet acceptable, for their clothing.

Since my hides were prepared sans tail and haired hide edge on the belly and legs, I had to improvise. I used deer hide for the tails and the leg and dew claws for the neck edge, sleeve ends and the gusset edge on the hem. This is cheating, I must concede, but after looking over more than a dozen dresses, under close scrutiny, I found that there was much improvising going on all the time.

I saw mountain sheep yokes on elk dress bodies, deer dew claws on the sleeve edges, entire beaded yokes cut off original dresses and re-sewn onto new hide bottoms. Every dress had some type of patching along the hem as well as other areas. Most had the fringe sewn on and then cut. Entire areas of sleeve were patched and or replaced.

In fact, the more dresses I examine, the less I buy into the notion that all dresses looked more or less the same. In basic shape, yes. In design I couldn't even find two that were similar. In most cases a silhouette was sought, but to get that shape, just about any kind of patching, gusseting and improvising was allowed.

Certain ideas followed tribal custom, but for every rule I have found an exception. This was a true yesterday as it is today. Some women are followers, some are leaders. Otherwise fashion would have never evolved at all.

A case in point would be the Crow dress on the right. No one would say it followed any rules other than it was made of 3 hides. This Woman followed her own heart. There are tribal hints in the cut of the garment and the wool patches, and some of the bead work could only be Crow.

But from there it takes its own journey into a garment that was never seen before, and perhaps, since. This Lady marched to a different drummer and had the courage to wear what she had created.

It reminds me of a Powwow I attended at Nett Lake, Minnesota several years ago. The Jingle Dress Dancers came out in the dresses that have remained relatively unchanged in design since the 1940's, namely a sort of pocketed shirt dress, for lack of a better description. But one Girl stood out. She had fashioned a modern A Line dress that more or less followed the curve of her body, in a modest, yet fashionable way.

I can still remember the snorts of disgust I heard from all the Elders around me, the whispers and the general attitude of disapproval. Yet, that young Lady danced. I hope she is still dancing in that dress today, or has passed it along to her daughter. I haven't seen one like it since, but I have noticed the loosening of the "dress code" that has shaped Jingle dresses now for two generations. I'm sure she played a large part in that change.

This is what fashion is all about. As times changed, so did the ideas about what would be worn. There was always the first one who was brave enough to try and change things.

My struggle is that I can't make a Pre Contact garment no matter how hard I try. The only way for me to truly create one is to go back into the past and make it. Since time travel is impossible, I have to do the next best thing.

Create a garment that is similar in shape and design using the old methods, and even here I have to cheat, I used a sewing needle, scissors and a cutting wheel since I have no training in using an awl or stone cutting tools, my project would have been a travesty if I had tried to make the garment in ways that I had no training in. So this was my first compromise.

My second was in using Brain Tan Elk hides I had not created myself, nor could I get them made with the hair on the edges, legs and tail intact. Perhaps someone will make these hides for me someday, but for now I must work with the materials I have, or forgo the project altogether.

So I had to use deer tail on my Elk Hide, but I have seen post contact dresses improvised this way in museum, so I can assume when the proper tail or edge was not available, a proper substitute was found even Pre Contact.

My third compromise is yet to come, having no Pre Contact Two Hide dress available to study, other than the one Arikara dress, (on the right), which was simply painted, I have to make some assumptions as to how the yoke was decorated using pre contact materials.

One Nez Perce Dress comes close. It features rows of Dentalium shell, which I have already acquired. It also has bead work. This is my dilemma.

I have no pre contact dresses that feature beads of any kind, but there are resource materials that list pre contact Women having stone beads of many types, Jasper, Obsidian, Jade, soap stone and pipe stone. There is no description of how they were arranged or even if they were attached to the dress or strung as necklaces.

I have to borrow courage from a new Artist friend I met lately, who had the daunting task of recreating a completely feathered Palanquin for an exhibit in a museum in Moundville, Alabama. He had sketches and descriptions, but no detail as to how feathers were arranged. He found resource material on the proper attachment method, but he still had to arrange the feathers in a probable pattern. For this he had to use his imagination or give up the project entirely. He spent many sleepless nights, but finally, in a dream, it came to him what he should do and he did it.

According to him, better he did something than he abandon the project and not allow a reasonable representation to be built for people to admire and learn from.

This is where I find myself, looking at thousands of pictures and examining hundreds of dresses and trying to figure out what was done before trade beads. I think the Nez Perce dress comes as close as anyone will to a pre contact pattern, but the question still remains as to what the bead work would be composed of.

I have stone, bone and wood beads to chose from, (but can find no real documentation as to massive numbers of them being sewn to dresses), as well as copper cones and tube beads, (common pre contact), quill work and pearls.

Note Pearls on legs, arms and just about everywhere else, and this is just one modest example
Since pearls are present pre contact in huge quantities, I am leaning in that direction. No other bead shaped item is as prevalent in all tribes as the common freshwater pearl. Thousands upon thousands have been found in graves. They are shown on garments as well as wrapped around arms and legs.

If copper made it all the way from Northern Michigan and Minnesota to Florida in great abundance, I'm sure trade went the other way and pearls were traded to the Northern Plains.The problem being that the Northern Plains Peoples did not build mounds to bury their dead, preferring platform disposition.

This leaves us with few clues as to their dress, other what has been handed down orally from the peoples themselves and the few post contact garments that follow the custom of the past but the materials changed with the introduction of trade beads.

The Woodland Mississippian Mounds as far as Wisconsin have abundant pearls in them, but few remain intact as they were worn because of inherent damp soil burials. The few that do remain do so because of their closeness to copper plates found in graves, which chemically helped to preserve them. This means that there were probably even more than we could imagine, as they are easily degraded to nothing when deposited in the soil for any length of time.

The Plains People were a wealthy People who traded far for their adornment. They had dentalium shells in great abundance, even though they originated off the Western coast of what is now Canada. The idea they beaded with pearls before trade beads is a logical conclusion. I can't imagine them going without such a beautiful item when their next door neighbors, (the Ojibway and Mandan, as well as many others), were literally dripping in them.

At the same time, I hesitate to create a dress with no solid foundation in evidence. It is obvious that pre contact Plains Women used dentalium shells to decorate their dresses. But what did they use for the bead work?

ReCutting and ReSewing The Yoke on My Two Hide Dress

I came to the realization the other day that the yoke on the top of my dress was not only slopping around constantly when I moved, it just felt...odd and out of balance.

The was no getting around it, by cutting the yoke on my dress form without proper arm padding, the yoke sloped terribly, causing the dress to feel weird when it hung on me.

The only solution was to wack it off straight and start again.

Thankfully, the stitching I had across the top was temporary anyway and I knew I would have to resew it with the welt in place, I still worried about the fit after I did my irreversible slashing.

But I knew it should be straight across to be traditional, so I trusted in Tradition and cut away....

Even the sleeves had a strange sort of swoop upwards from using a curved bow as my dress form arms, these I slashed off too.
 I was then left with a nice straight line, as it should have been in the first place.

The picture doesn't show it, but I further trimmed until the cut neckline was flush also, I wanted to start completely fresh.

If I had cut too much I could always add a 1' or 2" gusset with welts on either side evenly across the shoulder to the sleeve, I saw this on one dress at the museum, but my dress was also too long so trimming was in order.

 I then added my welts between the layers..and whip stitched all together, then turned, flattened the seam and trimmed the welt to be flush.

The leather across the top is very thick and spongy, very hard to sew easily. This also creates a stiff yoke that adds structure to the dress line itself, but is a total pain to sew and forces you to sew a thicker seam to penetrate to the stable leather.

This will be important once beads and dentalium shell is added, the shoulders must support a great deal of weight without shifting or pulling, but makes the shoulder seam heavy and bulky. Trimming the welt close helps to ease this bulk as well as using an equally thick and spongy welt.

I always match my welt thickness to the leather on the seams, this creates a uniformity of tension and weight that is noticeable. You must always be certain to have your seams very straight, or pucker and sway will translate into a ghastly bulge or swoop when done.

Here is the result. The yoke is noticeably shorter. This is caused by the cutting off one inch overall on each side of the yoke, (front and back), but the added seam welt and tight whip stitching have gathered up the garment at least another half inch and made the yoke more rigid and therefore less floppy and stretchable.

New wrinkles have appeared at the armpits, which will ease themselves out as the dress rests on the form and me, as all leather garments do with time.

It now fits like a dress. It is truly more comfortable, and is at least one inch shorter at the hem, allowing for the future fringe that will reside there.
The waistline also moved up and inch, but it looks more traditional that way, the long waist was a bit too long in retrospect.

 It was the scariest part of making this dress so far, it looked great, but it didn't feel right, most of the time I felt like I was wearing a heavy sheet or potato sack, every time I bent over I had to re adjust the yoke as it would slip from one side to another.

Now it stays put. I had to fold the neck in front under and inside about and inch and will tack it into place with a few stitches, most people could tolerate the flap but I have a surgery scar on my neck right where it touched and it bothered me. I can't wear turtle necks either because of it.

Here is the dress now as it stands, I am so grateful to my husband for being patient with me as we were taking pictures, I'm sure I drove him crazy with all my jumping up and interrupting his reading to snap a few more pics.... 

The fringe welts at the side add a real bulky look to the garment yet, but once they are cut into very thin fringe and are tortured, (my word for the distressed, kinky look on most Old World dresses fringe), I'm sure it will have a slimmer line, or off it will come!

I will be sharing my distressed fringe technique when I get to this part soon. The sleeves will also be fringed heavily to get rid of the bell look.

The side silhouette is looking great, I want to be able to wear this dress without a belt or with one, and the hang looks very nice.

It still has a bulge in the front caused by pinning the dress front up to the shoulders when I colapsed the dress form for travel, I won't be doing that any more, she now rides laying down on our bed as we go down the road, so the bump should ease out with time.

I am leaving the train long in the back, and will also be adding side "feet" as an extension to the gussets I sewed in in the previous post, this will be an exciting addition and will pull the sides of the dress down for a slimmer look.

The dresses I studied had these "feet" covered with hundreds of brass cones, I will be using copper cones as is proper for pre contact.
Also, as a side note, I had to switch out dress forms, my size C is now too big for me, I am officially a size B now, and had to move to my smaller form. I have lost 45 or more pounds since I started this project.

I was gluten intolerant and since giving up all wheat products and MSG, the weight has just fallen off of me. Women of Native Descent take note of this! Most diabetes and other illnesses including arthritis would improve if we just laid off the wheat.

If your heritage does not include several generations of wheat consumption, you too could be gluten intolerant!

My Husband thinks I look lovelier the closer I comes to honoring ancient traditions and living out my lifetime dream of recreating a precontact Two Hide Elk Dress! He may have something there, I have never been happier, although my fingers are so sore I can barely type!

Good Medicine!

Shaping Sleeves and Waist, Adding Gussets and Fringe to Side Seams of Dress

After finally making the decision to shape the dress on more traditional lines as per my visit to the Chicago Field History Museum, I marked and cut the side seams to the waist, leaving about 1" extra room for getting in and out of the dress.

I cut to just above the natural line of the waist to accommodate a belt, or "girdle" as it was sometimes described by early explorers.

I then made a 1" cut towards the body of the dress, through both edges, which allowed the dress to hang free and gave me the ability to join the side seam without pucker or pull of the leather, creating an easement of the under arm.

I witnessed this "dart" on several dresses I examined and is illustrated in the third photo. Without this cut, the fabric tends to bunch and pull, one cannot effectively raise ones arms without it. 

One inch cut towards body of garment
This is a key adjustment to the proper fit of the garment, some had this, some did not, but those that did were the better garments by more experienced seamstresses and the dress hangs and moves much freer with this addition. This also creates the open armpit witnessed on many garments that is traditionally left open to the elbow or wrist, or left entirely open altogether.

You can demonstrate this to yourself by cutting out a paper dress in a T shape and trying to match the side seams. Now make a cut right at the intersection of the armpit and sleeve towards the body of the garment at a 45 degree angle. Now match you side seams and flex the sleeve. Mobility improves 100% and the paper dress hangs better.

I often used paper models to experiment with things I observe on garments, but can't get my mind around how they did it. In this case, it made such a tremendous difference, and reflected exactly what I saw on the dresses I documented.

The side seam was sewn buy putting right sides together with a "welt" in between, then after sewing with a shallow whip stitch the fabric is pulled to a flat seam and the welt trimmed flush on the right side of the garment.

Gusset triangle on right, fringe welt on left
Next, after cutting off all that glorious extra leather from each side of the dress, I trimmed two triangles off the excess leather from the side that was closest to the body of the dress from two of the widest extra strips.

I used these to create gussets which I trimmed to a more regular wedge shape and then pinned them back into the side seams of the dress. this was generally done by dressmakers to give more freedom of movement and will allow the attachment later of "Foot Flares" which I will show later on when I get to that point.

I then used the four pieces of leather from the outside of the side seams that was left over when trimming the side seam as a welt, on both sides of the gusset which will be cut into glorious fringe at a later time. (or cut down to a flush welt if I chose not to fringe).

But first, how the gusset was done...

The most important part of placing the gusset is to get the bottom where you want it then ease it in up the dress until it sits flush and unwrinkled.

Then you turn the dress inside out and place right sides of the gusset and body together with pins on both sides of the dress, checking to see that the dress has not become distorted before placing the welts between the seams and re pinning.

Then you carefully unpin one pin at a time and wedge the "Welts to be fringed" between the gusset and side seam facing each welt right side to right side with the dress body proper. So your layers are, Gusset edge, welt edge, dress side edge, in that order.

Gusset pinned in place right side out
Gusset eased into place Right side out

Inside out, gusset and welts pinned in place

Here are the seams properly faced and pinned with the dress inside out and the welts extending into the right side of the dress on the inside, (you can't see them, but they are there).

This is a good time to make a sharp critical inspection of the dress and placement of the welts by peaking under the dress and making sure they are matched and hanging straight, also I make sure the welts are right side facing right side of the dress for a "finished" look. (You can turn the dress right side out to check this, but it can upset your pinning, I do it by crawling up under the dress on the dress form and looking around, or gently turning up the edge of the skirt).

You want to make sure your welts are symmetrical from side to side, (although you can adjust this late by trimming).
Other side, gusset in place

Checking for proportion and proper hang

 Now step back and check to make sure your dress is square and true, that one side flares and drapes as nicely as the other before sewing. Measure from the floor to the bottom of your gusset, nothing is worse than having your gussets knock the entire shape of the dress off.

How the gusset meets at the top

 Here I show the top of the gusset where the two sides of the gusset meet, showing three layers on each side of the gusset, namely, left side of gusset, welt sandwiched in between and right side of gusset.

The next picture shows me sewing a whip stitch with real sinew close to the raw edge just far enough in to get a firm bite of each layer...
Here I am whip stitching the left side of gusset

Gusset sewn and pulled flat
 Here is the left side of the gusset sewn, then pulled flat. It's barley visible on the left, the raw seam still pinned and ready to sew on the right. This way of doing seams makes a flush seam allowance on the inside of the dress and a flat rounded look to the seam on the outside of the dress, the welt either being trimmed close to being invisible, or fringed. this is a strong, stable seam that will last several lifetimes without shifting of coming loose and was used on every garment I personally examined. there may be exceptions to this, but I haven't seen it yet.

Front of the dress with fringe welts showing
 After cutting off all that leather, here I have sewn it all back on again! But now the extra leather is sewn in as welts on either sides of the gussets and will be cut into tons of lacy fringe.

You may ask why I did all of this welting, gusseting  and whip stitching when I just could have sewed a running stitch down the edge of the side seam where I wanted the fringe to start and be done with it.

Because that's not how it was done on the dresses I examined, I didn't find a single example of just a running stitch side seam, although I have seen plenty of it in modern reenactment and powwow regalia.

The dresses I examined where Crow, Sioux, Ute and several other tribal representations and every single one of them was done this way. I'm sure there are exceptions to this rule and someone in this era used a running stitch seam, but it was the exception, not the rule.

Tribal Women took great pride in their sewing work and knew that by doing things this way the garment would move better and last longer. A Woman who would spend several months beading a garment also take the time to construct her dress properly also.

Back of dress with fringe welts
The advantages are clear, the seam is strong, stable and will not shift with time. It creates an almost invisible seamless line that "marries" the hides together in a way that gives conformity to the joining, you really can't tell from a short distance that there is a seam at all unless the hides are of varying color.

Leather is a different material than fabric, it has a grain that can be unpredictable, creating bulges and sways in seams where none was apparent at the time of sewing, the welt effectively cures this problem, stabilizing the seam in a flexible fixed position for the life of the garment.

The seam doesn't have a selvage that projects into the interior of the garment, so there is no abrasion of the sinew or wearer and the seam doesn't have to be forced flat because of this, like European garments.

In all the garments I examined the fringe was torn or the leather worn through in some places, but the sinew sewn, welted seams were solid and holding together, without bunching or shifting after more than a hundred years.

It takes more effort on the part of the seamstress, but there is great pride in knowing that you did something right. In fact, I plan on redoing the seams on my dress that I did differently....a great deal of work, but it would make my Grandmother smile. "Do it right, or do it again" was her credo and I Bless Her for giving me her stubborn ability to redo the wrong, even if it gives me much personal pain!

If you have a sharp eye, you will note I have completely re cut the yoke and sewn it using a welt in the top seam also, the next article will concern this new change and why I did it. I was still in the adjustment phase of getting it right so it looks a bit sloppy here, but I have since worked out the kinks and have it looking great!

Two Hide Elk Dress Sleeves Cut

 Big things are happening now! Sorry I haven't posted much, have been busy editing materials collected at the Chicago Field History Museum, which will not only turn out to be a documenting of the Cree Dress, but also I documented and took pictures of several Plains dresses from  head to toe that I am editing little by little and posting here.

We are also smack-dab in the middle of our annual migration South for the Winter, so my days are spent mostly in travel, my nights trying to get some sewing and editing done.

After what I learned about Plains dresses at the museum, I finally had the confidence to cut the sleeves on my own Two Hide dress as well as put some leather inserts at the bottom to even out the hem and trim the sides to traditional width.

It took much measuring, pinning and trying on in various poses to get the magic number of inches on my sleeve, which was 25". This way I can cut fringe on the sleeve and still have long sleeves.

From that point, I, using the natural shape of the hem with the legs of the hide as a guide, pinned the sides at the bottom and then pinned up the sides in a gradual angle to meet the new waist.

All this was done on the form, as I could then see how my adjustments would hang when finally cut.

Imagine my delight when I pulled the dress off the form, laid it out and found my pinnings gave me a flawless angel wing shape shown so often in books on how to make a plains dress.

I would never have just thrown the dress on the bed and pinned it up without pinning it first on the form, double checking it on me, then laying it out to see if there was something off in my adjustments before cutting. There is just too much at stake here to to skip a step.

As you can see, everything came out just wonderful and I can now get on to putting the gussets in the side seams and cut the sleeves, all of which I can do with confidence now that I have seen what was done with the actual dresses on display in the museum.

I went through and re-soaked and re-split all my sinew thread so I could do finer work, I learned a thing or two about sewing when I examined the Cree dress, one of the things being that she used hair thin sinew to sew the garment up, and it's still holding strong today, (most cotton and silk thread is deteriorating on historic garments after 70 years or so). I also noted she used a much smaller and tighter stitch to sew things together, which I emulated and will have to go back and resew some seams on the yoke to reflect this.

I learned about a way to sew seams that I knew about as a child, but thought the stitch was just for moccasins, now I realize it's a stitch for just about every seam. It involves sewing a welt in every seam.

You place both right sides, (outsides) of fabric together, then slip a leather thong sandwiched in between and whip stitch very tight and close on the wrong side of the fabric. When you finish you pull the seam open so the welt sticks up and you either trim it close to the seam or fringe it depending on what you want.

Just about all the dresses I examined had the side seams this way. Instead of stitching up the side or using thong closure, They cut the side extra hide off, (that normally would be left on and cut into fringe), then used the method above to reattach it. They used the leather welt they cut off, say 4 inches wide, between the two side pieces then fringed after whip stitching the seam on the inside.

Hope this makes sense, will add pictures to better show this later, I just wanted to touch base with everyone today and let you know I finally cut leather and am getting on with things, will write more as I have time!

I also noted many dresses had patchwork pieces sewn into the hem, (which we know about), and even on the rest of the dress into the yoke, (which we did not)! I felt better about sewing leather patches to even up my hem after seeing this.

I also finally figured out how they cut the armpit and sleeve so everything hangs right, it was a thunder stroke moment where I realized I needed to cut a simple one inch dart, which I did with my eyes shut and it just all fell into place, a simple one inch cut completely changes how the garment fits and moves...more on that later.....


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