29 November 2012

The Ikea Cotehardie, Revisited

It's been over a year since I made my grey linen cotehardie (Ikea's linen, which, sadly, my local Ikea no longer carries, the bastards).  

at Coronation, October 2011

I've worn it 3-4 times, and loaned it to a couple of other women for events when they had nothing to wear.  I've gained weight and lost it since then; and in the last few months I've been toning up and building muscle like crazy (I hula hoop a lot).  

The dress no longer fit properly.  I could wear it, but the arms were too tight across my new biceps so I couldn't really bend my arms much, and the bust wasn't the same shape any more.  Also, I was pretty much done with having a light grey cotehardie.

Last week, I tore it apart.

First, the sleeves came off, and I opened up the side seams so that I could add a gusset at/under the bust on the sides.

I still love this lining, hehe.  It's just a cotton print that looks like eyelet.  Not period, but nobody sees it but me. :)

The long gusset I put in.  It's 2" across at the top, and down the top 3"; then tapers sharply to 1" and stays that way all the way down the side, in sort of an elongated Y-shape.  (For a tiny bit more space in the ribcage, but a lot more space in the bust).

Oh, that's waaaaay better.  It's actually comfy now.

Honestly, looking at these sleeves, no WONDER they were too tight across the top. They're practically straight!  This was one of my first cotehardies, and I hadn't quite gotten sleeves figured out yet.

I removed the top half of the lightweight upholstery fabric lining the sleeves, and kept only the part lining the bottom half where they unbutton.  The lining had NO stretch to it, and was part of the problem.

The second problem with the sleeves is that they cut into my armpits, so I deepened the curve here and on the dress itself.

The third problem was the shoulders, which didn't really move all that well, especially the more developed my upper arms and shoulders become.  In this case, though it's hard to see in this small picture (click on it for a larger image), I added a wide gusset to the back sleeve seam, making it similar to the gore you'd find in a grande-assiette style sleeve; but without some of the other components, and without being set into the back of the garment.  This is basically just a regular sleeve with a big gore in it, hehe.

The dress works!

And I'll stop here, because there are two more MAJOR steps in making over this dress (hint: notice the sleeves aren't buttoned in this picture), but that'll be a blog entry of it's own.

Assuming I don't screw it up!  (^_^)



  1. And now you know how those dresses they find get all in pieces like that... :D

  2. Hello Laura, I just stumbled upon your blog while looking for cotehardie & cotehardie patterns and I am wondering... could you please tell me, how did you make/get patterns for this dress? (And any advice you'd give a noob dress-maker)

    thank you very much :)

  3. Hi! I learned to pattern them by looking at the tutorials on this website: http://cottesimple.com/tutorials/straight-front-seam/ She has very nicely-illustrated tutorials for patterning both straight-front and curved-front seam cotehardies. (And here's another page with similar pictures and method: http://www.mathildegirlgenius.com/DressFitting/DressDemo.htm)

    It helps to have a friend to help, like in the pictures; but when I started out I used this pattern http://www.pinterest.com/pin/261560690830106812/ and then altered it to fit and changed the side seams to be more like a "real" period cotehardie.

    I hope this helps! Good luck!


Hooray, comments! Be nice to each other, and to me. Or I shall boot your ass and then mail you a dead fish. :D