Sunday, October 26, 2008

One step at a time...(do I need to say it? More sewing!)

I finished the shirt last weekend and started the underskirt. It took less than a week to finish! It was really easy and although I consulted a few websites for construction tips, I did not need a pattern. First I cut out 3 pieces of my 40" wide fabric 41.5 inches long. (I measured from my waist to the floor and added 2 inches for hemming.) I did the same for the lining although I had to piece it together to be the same width. I sewed the pieces together along the selvedges forming a giant tube except for one edge where I left a 7" long gap (in order to get into the thing). I sewed the lining tube to the fabric tube along the bottom edge, turned and pressed, then basted them together at the top. Then I cartridge pleated the skirt into a waistband (some cotton ribbon with diagonal ribbing - I don't know what it's called) following the instructions here. I added a hook and eye to the waistband, and voila! A large flouncy skirt!

Now for details on the fabrics....ooh the fabrics. I love fabric as much as I love yarn and I prefer both to contain natural fibers. Does that make me a fabric snob as well as a yarn snob? Anyways, the skirt outer fabric is some silk taffeta purchased on eBay from Thailand. The price was okay (about $10/yard) but now that I've made something from it I think it was totally worth it. It was washable and didn't lose its dye (had a bad experience with some other cheaper Thai silk recently...) and retained its papery crisp texture with some ironing. It was easy to sew too. I LOVE the way it catches the light and the feel of it. I will definitely buy again when and if the occasion arises and if the prices don't creep up too much on eBay. Also note that this is a smooth silk, not a slubby silk. Some people care about this stuff when it comes to peiod costuming, i.e. slubby silks were considered inferior and were generally not used (though they did exist in the Renaissance period).

Now for the lining. I found the muslin to be a terrible lining. It static-clings to everything! And the stuff I got was too lightweight. I used it anyways but obtained an alternative lining for the overskirt and bodice. I don't want my overskirt static clinging to my underskirt! And the costumer I linked to who claimed to use muslin as a lining for everything? I found out that many Americans refer to calico when they say muslin. Calico is a heavier weight, tighter weave and stiffer cotton fabric. In the UK it is generally left undyed. Geez louise! Why are there numerous conflicting names for these things? It's very frustrating!

At least Boo likes it and thinks it's coming along OK. He also said it looked quite Victorian so far (it's supposed to be Elizabethan) but I figure the bun I typically wear as well as the wire-rimmed glasses contribute to that end result. I think he's a bit jealous, he asked me to make him an outfit too, but I won't have time until the New Year. Good thing I picked up a copy of the Tudor Tailor!


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