Saturday, December 13, 2008

The final step; hemming (ugh!)

I'm quite happy that I'm nearly done this gown, and just in the nick of time for the wedding. I have ironed and pinned the hems (some are less perfect than others - oops!) and my remaining 2 evenings in town before crazy traveling will be spent basting the hems in place so I can sew them invisibly on the approximately 12 hours of train rides I will be taking in the next 5 days. And the 8 hour plane ride. And the additional 5 hour flight to get from the in-laws to the wedding.

So now for the pics: front, back and side views...

Now for the project details; some are repeated from previous posts on this gown.

Corset: The custom corset pattern generator found here.
Materials: cotton canvas, rigilene boning and cotton bias tape.
Things I'd do differently if I were to do it again: I'd cut it an inch smaller at the bust because it expanded over time. Other than that I quite like it and would readily use this pattern again. I've never made a corset before but my husband *loves* it. That's saying a lot for how this pattern looks made up and in terms of fit. I refer you to previous posts for pictures.

Shirt: a pattern I found on the internet somewhere, linked to in a previous post.
Materials: Cotton lawn.
Things I'd do differently if I were to do it again: I would make the collar/neckline 0.5 inches (or so) wider. I would also NOT take the ruffles from the selvedge edge (because most fabrics don't have a real selvedge anymore, only fuzzy threads hanging from the long edges of the fabric which I had to trim away very carefully) and would instead have cut a strip of fabric twice the desired width of the ruffle and folded it in half along the long edge, thus making a ruffle with twice the thickness.

Underskirt: cutting directions from Your Wardrobe Unlock'd masterclass on a pirate gown, cartidge-pleated option.
Materials: Thai silk taffeta as fashion fabric, cotton muslin for lining.
Things I'd do differently if I were to do it again: I would NOT use muslin (unseen and ordered from the internet) for a lining because it was too lightweight. As much as I LOVE this taffeta (pure silk - yum!) it really dosen't want to be a skirt, it's too light to hang straight. A heavier lining would have helped. I intend to reclaim this fabric for another purpose - I'm thiking along the lines of a boned bodice. I also don't like the look of cartridge pleats. I doubt I'll use it again for this kind of skirt. They don't hang right with another skirt over it and I can see the pleating thread. I didn't repleat the skirt because Mom said it looked OK (thanks Mom!).

Overskirt: cutting directions from Your Wardrobe Unlock'd masterclass on a pirate gown, knife-pleated option.
Materials: Silk-blend taffeta as fashion fabric, middleweight linen as lining.
Things I'd do differently if I were to do it again: I woudn't line skirts unless they need more weight because the pleated waistband is very thick (couldn't get it into my sewing machine! ) and the skirt is very heavy. I love this fabric and I know it hangs well as a skirt on its' own. This 30-70 silk-rayon blend taffeta is now available from many internet retailers in the UK and is affordable (less than 5 pounds/meter everywhere I've seen it), comes in more colors every season, is washable, relatively wrinkle-free, is an excellent weight for dressmaking and drapes better than papery thai silk taffeta or dupioni silk. This will be my go-to fabric for dressy gowns.
Leave a comment if you want to know where I got it. Oh, and I love the look of the knife pleats. Yay for knife-pleats! YWU explained it better than any other internet site I looked at...

Bodice: Fitted English gown on page 79 of The Tudor Tailor.
Materials: Silk-blend taffeta as fashion fabric, middleweight linen for interlining, nasty cheap Thai silk-blend taffeta which lost its' color in the wash as lining (can you tell I'm bitter?).
General comments: I like it and it fits. Pattern drafting was tricky but I managed well enough with some fitting advice from Claudine on the Tudor Tailor Reader yahoo group. Thanks Claudine! You rock! Because I'm paranoid about wardrobe malfunctions I added a modesty panel to the bodice following the method outlined in the YWU instructions for the pirate bodice.
I also added rigilene boning up the center back to have a dramatic standing collar. I think it's a bit too dramatic now and may get a raised eyebrow or two from conservative family members, but at least they won't be raising eyebrows at the lack of modesty in my outfit. My husband said that he thinks I look like a puritan. (I know, puritans frowned at such 'manly' clothes on a woman...) I also put boning on the sides where the bodice fastens to prevent gapping. It works - 'nuff said.
I added ribbons for decorative effect and may have gone a little overboard...

Grumpy side-note: the silk-blend taffeta I ordered from Thailand is nasty nasty stuff. You can hardly sew it without damaging it so it's barely even fit to be a lining. If an e-bay deal seems to be too good to be true, it probably is. :(

Sleeves: taken from the Doublet Bodice pattern on page 83 of The Tudor Tailor.
Materials: silk-blend taffeta, nasty taffeta lining, linen facings on sides of sleeves fastened with hooks and eyes
General Comments: I chose this sleeve (as opposed to the numerous other options from the book) because I wanted a front-side seam that is partly open to show the white shirt underneath and this seemed like the best candidate. I also found the curved shape intruiging. My mom helped me with the assembly (from Skype) and it all came together nicely. I like the puffiness of the sleeve head and my husband says the sleeve is what makes the outfit look historical. I tried to fasten the sleeve with hooks and eyes but was unsuccessful so added ribbons instead. I also wanted detachable sleeves for several reasons; 1. I get sweaty. 2. Given the number of gowns in the book, it might be nice to have some mix-and-match-ability. I doubt that this choice is historically justifiable, but I don't think it's worth losing sleep over. I attached the sleeves to the armscyes by sewing 5 ribbons to each sleeve head (equally spaced), and sewing in thread loops in the armscye to tie the ribbons to. This detail was also taken from the YWU masterclass on the pirate gown sleeves.

I'll post more pictures of the gown being worn at the wedding in the new year. If only thrace would post pictures of her red silk wedding dress! Oh the anticipation!

Happy holidays,