Thursday, August 16, 2007

Making the Same Mistake Twice

Here we go again...
Having completed the mock up of the bodice, I set out to do the cutting of the real deal. Because M is so small I only needed 2 yards of each color of fabric. For the under dress (hereafter called the kirtle) I chose a russet brown-red linen/rayon blend, the overdress (hereafter called the gown) was the same linen/rayon but in a nice rich brown and black. The red in the image to the right appears much brighter than the actual fabric. Cutting the fabric out was much easier than I assumed it would be, basically the bottom 42 inches of the fabric became the skirt and the remainder was used to create the bodice. After I was done, there was very little remnant, something that made me quite happy. Because I didn't make any tabs in my pattern I encountered the mistake in piecing together the bodice that I had made in my mock up. Once again, the back center piece was upside down. So after going sew, sew, sew I went pick, pick, pick and then sew, sew, sew again. So this is important, put tabs on your patterns, or at least up/down arrows! After sewing together two identical bodices, one out of the red and one out of white linen/rayon, I set about to make the skirt. Basically this was just a tube that was box-pleated and attached to the bodice with enough of a slit in the back to fit over M's shoulder. To give the skirt a little body, I added a two inch band of cotton batting to the top edge of the skirt, where the pleats were rather than lining the whole thing. If you are a little iffy on the production of box pleats (which I used because cartridge pleats are no fun at all, a close up of the outside of the box pleats on the under dress is below and to the right, keep in mind the pleats are being pulled slightly open to make them more obvious) I recommend the Elizabethan introduction to pleats. the selvage edge which you can see to the left was eventually covered by red bias tape to help keep it tidy. The gown and kirtle were made in the same exact way, excepting of course the openings, for the kirtle the opening was in the back and laced closed, for the gown, the opening was made by not including the front piece of the bodice pattern and putting the back piece on a fold. This meant that there was about a 5" gap down the front of the gown that is laced closed with thin white lacing. The last thing I did with the kirtle before setting it aside for the night was roll the bottom hem closed. To make the gown, I followed the same procedure as the kirtle except that instead of sewing the two layers of the bodice together and then attaching the skirt, I attached the skirt to the bodice and then sewed the two layers together. Doing it this way made things a little unwieldy but it means that the gown will be completely reversible. The other difference between the kirtle and the gown is that instead of having two haves to the shoulder straps, I made just a single long shoulder strap for each side and plan to tuck it in the back. Tomorrow I will take these pieces in to work and fit the shoulder straps to M and then do the finish work on the the kirtle and gown, make the chemise and partlet, and fit it to M one last time. Yay.
Tune in next time for "Only 5 more minutes, I swear..."

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