Saturday, November 9, 2013

Waste not, want not

I'm sorry for my lack of pretty new dresses recently; I've been busy with college applications, harp recordings and an injured hand.  In my journey to a more progressive wardrobe, though, I've been re-doing my two silk 1860s dresses that I made before I had my present grasp on period construction techniques.  My gold dress was up first, and my black one is in the works (but it needs more serious alterations, sigh.)
So here is a picture of what it looked like originally:

As you can see, the waist is far too long and poorly fitted.  The trim is inaccurate, there is no collar and the pleating is too far apart at the center for the early 1860s.  The closure is also inaccurate: I somehow decided that hemming it at the front and putting on hooks and eyes sufficed for closure.
I started by taking the skirt off of the bodice, putting the bodice on my mannequin (Beatrice, named after Dante's 'ideal woman'!) and found the natural waist and cut it so that it would present an even waistline.  I think I cut it a bit too short for it to be anything other than late CW, but in my opinion, too long is worse than too short!

Before I re-piped the waist, I took out the hemmed front and applied facing, setting the eyes into the seam.  This provides for a much more even closure and eliminates the feared gap-osis.

I then drafted a pattern for cuffs off of the sleeve and made it up with some decoration (if anybody wants a fuller explanation of what I did feel free to ask!)  Then I put the skirt on again, etc etc.

Of course, it's too short-waisted and the pleating is more similar to the late 60s 'empire style' bodice, but I'm really happy with it overall.  I think that it looks a lot more polished, and as soon as I find proper buttons I'm putting them up and down the front.  I accessorized it with a 50's veil that I put on a piece of millinery wire to make into a passable upper-class snood.

I'm also making another corset, being as it's long overdue.  And after making 3 corsets that have gussets I just NOW find out how to put them in properly!  And let me tell you, coutil is next to steel in terms of how much it stretches.  I'm confident that 1 layer is plenty enough for a good waist reduction without wrinkles!

I'm also putting together a programme for a historical harp recital with historical harp music I clean up on photoshop. I have the Douglas Polka, the Douglass Grand March, the Caledonian, the Favorite Scottish Waltz, Liebestraum, and maybe a few Nadermann sonatas.  I'm really looking forward to it!
With the lovely photographer!

1 comment:

  1. Love the cuffs! :) And the little frilly collar. You could probs add a waistband to add length to the bodice if you wanted. Looking cute as always! :)
    p.s. what a darling veil! (snood thing)