Posted by: Aunt Magaidh | September 6, 2011

Frankendress…It lives!!!!

For those people who have been patiently waiting to see the modifications I described in my  previous blog, here they are.

Frankendress lives!!!

This picture shows the basic dress with 2 different sleeve treatments.  On the right, you have the English sleeve that ties on with handmade lucet cording.  On the left, you have the Irish sleeve that hooks on with hidden hooks.  Yup, I made the dress convertible!  All I have to do is wear a leine instead of smock, kertch instead of coif, and put on the Irish sleeves and then I’m dressed as Spinner Magaidh of Iain Abrach MacIain.

So, do you want to see the details?  Of course you do.

Here is a close up of the English sleeve for Spinner Margret Greene.

English sleeve with the cuff turned up for spinning (or warm weather).

And then this is the Irish sleeve for Spinner Magaidh:

Irish sleeve - attached by hidden hooks on the underside!

Now let’s look at the front where I had to make a 3 inch adjustment.  I had to cut off the dipping front and straighten the waistline.  I opted to not take in the seams yet.  I’ll wait until I lose another couple of inches.  Notice the buckling/wrinkling of the underarm area.  That shows that I have to make the adjustment at the seams next time I adjust this thing.

The bodice with offcenter front opening closed with hooks.

You’ll notice the lack of trim or decoration.  There was much discussion about trim with the costume maven of the English faire that I am participating in, and for which this dress was originally made.  There is some disagreement of what kind of trim I should use because of the “station” of Spinner Margret.  Since we’re unclear about where exactly I fall (not a contract/cottage industry spinner, not a wealthy merchant, but a rising artisan/artificer) and what my means are, we thought it best to hold off on the trim.  I think there may be some couched cording in the future, perhaps a simple tablet woven trim.  More discussion before it can be justified for Spinner Margret.  But then there is the Scots Spinner Magaidh…I’ll be talking with my guild costume goddess about what she thinks is appropriate for someone travelling with the Chief’s household on trade negotiations.


Next  is the skirt with cartridge pleating…oh, yes – I had to tighten the pleats before I pinned it to the adjusted bodice.  Oh, yes, I had to attach the skirt to the bodice with two rows of stitching (the outside and the inside layers).  Yes, it took forever.

Cartridge pleating that I had to tighten up before reattaching. Not fun.

So, there is the major modification project for the summer.  I might knock out a new skirt in the next week so that I’ll have another option, especially as faire gets the skirts dirty pretty quickly.   But now I’m focusing on birthday cake to take to the next faire.  After this project, I think I deserve it!

Aunt Magaidh

P.S. – if you want to see Frankendress up close, look for me at Ardenwood Renaissance Festival in Newark (September 10-11), Much Ado About Sebastopol (September 17), or Folsom Renaissance Faire (October 15-16).



  1. As I have said before. We are “poor folk” from up in the highlands. He may be a Chief, but he’s a poor Chief. Think small village. So, that being said I think simple card weave trim is perfect. How much length do you think you will need? I have some simple cotton weave that you can have if you want it right away, or you can have the weaving on my card when I’m done. Love you bunches for all the extra effort you are putting into this. ::contemplates hand sewing in fear::

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