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Sewing Tutorial:
Noblewoman's Sideless Surcote
With Side Gores And Back Gore

Re-enactors can also use this pattern. This is an overgown and always has something with long, fitted sleeves underneath. This pattern has side gores and a gore in the back for fullness. This is not a day-wear pattern for working class people, since generally speaking the richer you were, the more fabric you could afford for clothes and it is quite impractical to work in.

Made for fancy formal events, it can be cut away quite a bit to show off your beautiful undergown. I recommend a long train and making two of these so you can line it with a contrasting colour. This is almost identical to the Sideless Surcote pattern except there are more gores and it can be trickier getting a gore in the back.

Step 1
You need: your fabric, pins, scissors and a cotton shirt for sizing. I use about 6m depending of the fabric width.

Don't use a stretchy one as it can give a false sense of how it will fit you.

If you don't have a cotton shirt, get thee to an Op Shop and spend a couple fo dollars and get one.
Step 2
Fold your shirt and your fabric in half lengthways.

The good side of the fabric is on the inside.

If your fabric is very skinny, you will need to fold your fabric double (two runs of fabric instead of a folded over piece) before you begin. Your folded shirt matches the side with the folded fabric.

Fabric fold check! Your fold is on the left side. Your loose sides are on right. Your shirt is sitting right in the top left hand corner ready to mark out your surcote.
Step 3
Marking out your pattern.

If you haven't done this before, it can sound hard. It's not. This is a loose garment, so there is room for error.

Always ALWAYS cut the seams a bit bigger than you think you need. You can always take a dress in but it's really hard to add pieces in once it's cut.

You mark your seam from the edge of your shoulder straight down to your belly button and then curve out to your hip where the dotted red lines are and then out to the fabric edge for the skirt.

You will need to mark out 2 of them. One for the front and one fo rthe back. You can cheat by cutting out one and simply tracing around it to make the other one.

The bottom one will be longer at the bottom to make a train.

To get the size of your skirt, draw a line from the hip (the bottom of the shirt) to the very edge of the fabric. The wider your fabric, the more skirt you'll have. Your centre seam is as long as you are to the ground. If you want a train, allow more.

You have room to also cut some triangle gores.

Okay, start pinning!
Step 4
Just double check again that the fabric is folded the right way before you cut anything.

... it should look like this...

Allow seam space for sewing, then cut your new surcote out.

Unpin the sides now that your surcote is cut. Take away the excess fabric.

Your triangle gores are updaise down.

It looks like this.
Step 5
Swing your triangle gores around so the top of the triangle is at the waist and the bottom of the triangle lines up with the hem.

Check that you have front and back.

Don't pin anything just yet.
Step 6
Unfold the surcote and the gores so you can clearly see your pieces.

It looks like this.

One piece is longer at the bottom. This is your back.

You have 4 little triangle gores which are at the sides.

Don't pin anything just yet. We need to shuffle the gores around a bit.
Step 7
Okay- On the back of your surcote, that's the one with the train, put one triangle gore on each side and pin them on.

Don't do anything with the other two gores just yet.

Your surcote should look like this.
Step 8
Your top two triangle gores are going to be inserted into the back of the train in the middle.

They will go where you see them in this picture.

Obviously, when you get to the bit where you pin them, they will be set into the hem properly, not hanging out like this pic.

This pic is just to show where you will put them.

If you have more fabric to cut more gores, this is also where you add them, and if you're really keen, you can add another small one in the front centre seam (not shown).

Sew your little side gores onto the main body of the surcote. Remember the good sides of the fabric go face together.
Step 9
If you have cut your surcote out on a fold, you will need to make a slit up the back of your fabric the length of your triangle gore so you can sew it in.

Pin first one side like this picture, then pin the other side, then pin the centre together.

Remember, the GOOD side of the fabric faces the good side of the fabric. You are pinning on the underside, so the seam is inside when you're finished.

Before you sew anything, check that it's sitting nicely and you haven't sewn any of the triangle gores on inside out. They will be sitting weird if you've accidentally done that.

Now is the time to make adjustments.
Step 10
Swing one piece around 180 degrees so the shoulder pieces are touching. Make sure your fabric is the right way out so you have the two good sides together.

When it's spread out of the floor, it looks like this.

The side you want to be the front is the one without the train. Cut the neckline a little lower. Just a little. Remember, you can take more off, but it's really hard to put it back on.

Okay so now you have a front. You will want to adjust the front of your surcote so it is not as wide as the back. Do that at the very end so you are allowing for hemming.

Pin the shoulders together, remember to check the good side of the fabric is facing the good side of the fabric. You want your sewing on the wrong side, so the good sides face inwards.

Step 11
Okay, now fold your surcote so it looks like a surcote. It looks like the pic.

Turn it inside out and pin, pin, pin those side seams all the way from the hem to the hip.

Once you're happy with the fit and you've adjusted your neckline, sew your two side seams and you're finished!

Now is the time to trim the front of the surcote (to roughly nipple width) if you want a really cutaway garment. Remember, you need to allow enough fabric to do a rolled hem around the side openings.


The finished product!

You can also line this surcote with a contrasting colour.

All you need to do is cut two of these together and sew them together. If you are doing this, just be aware that sewing the armholes can be a bit perilous. Do them one at a time. Do the neck seperately. Do the hem last of all. ALWAYS pin and try on before you sew. It beats the heck out of unpicking later on.

This surcote is lined with white silk and has gold metal thread bands and embroidery like the inset picture (not shown in this photo)

Happy sewing!

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