When I decided to make my Elizabethan Whovian costume, I decided to make an undershirt instead of attach the sleeves to the gown. The reason is because I wanted the sides of the gown so it will still fit me as I loose weight.
You can see the lace up sides in my sketch of the drawing…
I don’t think it’s historically correct (For the 1570’s at least) to put lacing in the sides of the gown. Despite this, I’ve seen lacing in the sides of dresses in patterns for 10th through 14th century dresses and there is lacing in the sides of one of the dresses from season two of the Outlander. Since this costume is supposed to be worn during weight loss, I though being able to take in the sides by tightening laces as I loose weight is a very practical idea.
Although lacing in the sides solves my sizing problem, another problem popped up. The pattern I’m using for the costume, Simplicity 3782, calls for the sleeves to be attached to the gown. If I make the gown with the sleeves attached to it, tightening the laces on the sides will cause the sleeves to get distorted. There are ways around this, but all the solutions I though of are complex and I wanted to make the costume’s construction more simple. So, I decided to solve the problem by making an undershirt with the sleeves attached. That way the laces can be tightened on the gown without distorting the way the sleeves look.