How to Make a Choctaw Dress

Published on August 18, 2014 by Amy

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Choctaw Dress
Choctaw Dress

Choctaw dresses are traditional dresses worn by women of the Native American Choctaw tribe of Mississippi and Oklahoma. The dresses are loose-fitting garments made of a brightly colored cotton that is green, blue, purple, red or yellow, and have hemlines that fall right above the ankle. They are embellished with ruffles at the yoke collar line and have three layers of ruffles on the skirt. According to Choctaw Nation, the decorative ruffles symbolize the paths or trails that flank majestic mountains. Traditionally, the dresses were worn with aprons on top, and handmade Choctaw moccasins.

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1. Measure body measurements with a measuring tape. According to body measurements, draw the following patterns on pattern paper: the yoke, (a piece of material at the collar,) front and back bodice, and sleeves. Then, cut out the front and back of the yoke, two of each; the front and back of the lower bodice, two of each; and two sleeves.

2. Measure with a tape measure and draw the following on pattern paper: two cuffs to go at the end of the sleeves; waistbands (2 each); the front and back of the skirt; a 2 inch bias strip for the neck; 3/4 inch decorative trim for the neck; decorative trim for the skirt hem that is 1 1/2 times the width of a hem (a hem is normally 1 1/2 inches to 2 inches); and three 3/4 inch-wide strips of skirt ruffles.

3.Pin the the wrong side of the lining to the wrong side of the yoke and waistband. Use the sewing machine to baste (large stitches) the lining to the edges of the yoke and waistband.

4.Sew the top edges of the front and back of the yoke together. Sew all dress materials together at a 1/4 inch seam allowance.

5.Baste the top and bottom edge of the front and back bodice pieces together. Sew the top edge of the bodice onto both yoke pieces.

6.Gather and pin the decorative trim onto the neck of the yoke. Sew the trim onto the inside edge of the yoke.

7.Sew the bias strip onto the neckline.

8.Gather and pin the cuffs to the edge of the sleeves. Sew the cuffs onto the edge of the sleeves.

9.Sew both sleeves onto the yoke and bodice by sewing the edge of the sleeves around the inside edge of both armholes.

10.Pin the bodice onto the waistband. Sew the waistband onto the inner waistline of the bodice.

11.Pin the front and back of the skirt together and sew along the edges. Baste the top edge of the skirt. Remember to leave an opening at the front or left side of the skirt to place the zipper.

12.Pin the bottom of the skirt under 1 1/2 inches to 2 inches. Baste stitch the decorative trim to the edge of the hem. Gather the ruffled trim and sew it onto the edge of the skirt hem with regular sewing stitches.

13.Pin the three skirt ruffles 3 inches apart, going up the skirt from the hem. Baste each ruffle trim onto the skirt, gather, then sew with regular stitches at the ruffles’ edges.

14.Gather the skirt edges and pin onto the waistband. Sew both sides of the skirt onto the waistband.

15.Pin the zipper to the opening in the side of the skirt. Stitch and backstitch the sides of the zipper onto the skirt.

Source: ehow Unabridged
Based on the collective work of, © 2015 Native American Encyclopedia.
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