May 11, 2004
I have been sewing, but I haven't been journaling. I'm a bad, bad journaler.
A long, long time ago, I cut all of the bodice pieces out of the cut velvet, satin and organza. I sewed all three layers into one layer, then serged the edges. I sewed all of the pieces together (all seams in the right place the first time--woohoo) and made the darts. I made some changes to the neckline and the bottom edge of the bodice. I'm rather concerned that they are not period accurate now, but I like the lines better.
In putting together the bodice, I followed the advice on demode to flat line and use a piping trim. The link to demode is on my links page.
The sleeves were a bit tricky. I didn't fit them at the same time as the rest of the bodice on the muslin. It was wrong. I have no excuses. When I sewed one sleeve together and attached it to the bodice, it was far too large. So I took it apart, took 2" off both sleeves and then sewed them both to the bodice. Now, this is my proud part. These were my first sleeves ever and I think they turned out very well (once the fitting issue was addressed).
Before and after changing the neckline and bottom edge.
I hand-stitched the boning channels onto all of the seams of the bodice and I have the finger-callous to prove it. I ordered bones and had the exact same problem I had with the corset. I measured the channels, rounded down to the nearest half inch, but the bones are still a bit too long. They will work, though.
I sewed piping trim to the edge of the bodice, turned the raw edges of the trim to the back, folded the trim to cover the raw edges of the trim and the bodice, and hand-stitched it down. For a complete description and some illustrations of piping trim, visit the demode website.
My devious "procrastinating" strategy worked. I put aside the underskirt until one day I wanted to hem. I accosted the skirt and hemmed all day. I used a handkerchief hem and hemmed the two layers separately. I also added a loop on the back of the train. I have learned much from the experiences of my fellow costumers: trains get in the way and are stepped upon. See the Journal Main Page for photos of the finished underskirt.
My sewing class has a Style Show each year so we can show off our projects to one another. Normally, we see the in-progress work, but never the finished outfit. For my part, I--well, got dressed. I went out in my chemise and drawers (how scandalous) and added each layer of the costume up to the underskirt, which is the last thing I've finished. I bought an Edwardian-style blouse just so the outfit would look nice. They were awed and amazed and complimentary. *sniff* I love my class.
March 15, 2004
I made the waistband and sewed on seam tape to create the channels for the string that gathers the back of the skirt to create the tie back look popular from 1878 to 1883. I machine stitched the seam tape to the white satin, then pick-stitched along the channels to tack the cut velvet to the satin.
Cherry placed pins where the fabric touches the floor. Now I just have to hem the skirt. This is going to take awhile, so...I'll procrastinate by starting on the bodice.
The photos on the right show the narrow, column look of the front of the skirt and the gathering at the knees on the back of the skirt.
Since I'm procrastinating on the hem (for now), I bought some silk organza as lining for the bodice. The directions call for fashion fabric, underlining and lining. I think the cut velvet and the satin will be sufficient for the outer layer and underlining. The satin has a rayon backing and is fairly stiff.
February 13, 2004
I had to change the bodice pattern so the buttons will be on the back instead of the front, but other than that, I didn't have to adjust the bodice or underskirt much. Somehow, though, I goofed and only marked one dart on the front of the bodice. So I had had to take in a lot at the front dart on the muslin. I went back and added the second dart to the bodice. Much better. Alas, I forgot to take a photo of the corrected bodice muslin before I took it apart.
I also cut a new piece of muslin for the overskirt. I used the muslin I already had for the back train and I used the new square piece for the front drape. I pinned them both onto a dress dummy and fiddled with them until they resembled the overskirt I want.
I drove everyone off an entire table in sewing class, and cut out the bodice and underskirt pieces. Each fabric has its own personality. The satin is stiff, easy to cut, but even easier to ravel. Cutting the velvet was like trying to cut a straight line in a pile of wet noodles, but it doesn't ravel easily.
Both fabrics leave fibers everywhere. Everything white has black fibers all over and everything black has white fibers all over.
I decided that I wanted the layers of the underskirt to be separate at the hem. I did a zigzag stitch around all of the edges of the satin to stop the raveling. I sewed the satin pieces together, then I sewed the velvet pieces together using french seams. That way, the seams won't be visible even though the velvet is partially sheer. I made the pleats at the back of the skirt separately to increase the bulk, but I put the layers together in order to sew the darts.
I love the part of a project when you can start to visualize what it will look like finished. It's still early yet, but I'm already getting the idea with just the underskirt. Even if I couldn't see it, the gasps and dropped jaws in my sewing class would be a sufficient hint. And I shoosh. With the petticoats and underskirt on, I have the proper shooshing effect.