Otherwise known as “The Dress That Is Going to Drive Me Crazy”!
It hasn’t been that bad, but it’s certainly been one of those projects that has given me a new perspective on sewing and my patience (or lack thereof at times). This dress has been taking a lot of imagination and blending of historic and modern/theatrical techniques to construct in a short amount of time. But I’m really pleased with how it’s looking thus far–although admittedly it has a bit of a messy look at present with all the raw edges at the waistline (which will be conveniently hidden by the sash). So let me bring you up to speed with what’s been done since we last chatted about this!
I’m going to post more interior detail shots once the dress is done (probably next week, post-event!), but there is a boned lining that extends from just over the bust to the actual waist (here is a rather bad cell phone shot of the lining–be sure to read the description for details). This is the foundation that everything has been attached (or mounted) to. Historic sewing like this differs from modern sewing a lot in construction, and in many ways I’ve had to learn a whole new way of approaching this particular gown! Over top that is the satin under gown. The bodice is a heavily modified version of the Tea Gown from Sense and Sensibility, and the skirt portion I draped myself. It’s a very narrow skirt, in keeping with the “hobble” style that was popular at the time. I really do have to take mincing steps so I don’t tear the seams!
Over the bodice is a lace panel. I could have just used a bit of lace extending a bit beyond the center front and back where the chiffon layer splits, but I opted to wrap the entire bodice in lace. This took a little pattern manipulation, and I almost didn’t have enough of the lace I wanted to use! So the seams don’t match perfectly, but because they’re completely hidden under the chiffon over bodice, it doesn’t really matter. lol.
The chiffon layer was by far the most fiddly! Not because chiffon is hard to work with, but because the skirt gave me problems over and over. The bodice is the Tea Gown pattern again, with modified necklines. The skirt is just a large rectangle with an opening at the center back. What gave me problems was that I originally planned on pleating the sections that will show where the velvet draped portion splits (here is my original sketch). But it just wasn’t looking right, so I took all that out and gathered it instead. I like how it drapes a lot more! The most time consuming portion of this chiffon layer was the rolled hems, which I did by hand. The bodice neckline and sleeve ends as well as the skirt hem were all edged with seed beads I attached by hand. These add a bit of weight and drape to the floaty chiffon.
So that is where I’m at with this presently! The next bit will be the velvet draped skirt, and then the sash. Plus I have a ton more closures to add–this dress is nothing short of complicated when it comes to closures, as I opted for the period-correct methods. (Hooks/bars and snaps.) Let me just say that I cannot dress myself at all! lol.
I’m rather excited about sharing these sketches and my fabric scheming with you for my Titanic dinner gown! I admit though, things are going a bit more slowly on the sewing-front than I would like. This is partially my own fault (I am being too much of a perfectionist with inside details that no one will seen!) and just wacky schedules of late. But SH has been a complete sweetheart about making sure I can get some sewing time in each day, and babysitting the puppy (who is definitely better at this point–he has so much energy!). Hopefully I will have some real progress to show you soon. But until then how about some pretty sketches???
Well, the sketches aren’t really that pretty–just quickie drawings–but they give the general idea. The fabrics I’m pretty excited about–except that it seems all I had in my stash and what I found is black and cream. I’m kind of bored of those two colors, but I don’t want to take a chance on a botched dye job to dye the silk charmuese. Plus it would mean buying new fabric for the satin underbodice. So cream and black it is! At least with the way I’m planning on layering fabrics, it comes off as a bit more exciting… I hope!
This is the first sketch I came up with. Nice, basic design. But it didn’t really get me super excited–and I wasn’t completely sure I’d have enough to do the slight train with the silk charmuese.
After browsing the MET digital collection late one evening, I found this 1913 Jeanne Hallée gown that I had been smitten with before and pinned it to my board, but it really caught my eye again. So I thought I’d just run with it! My gown tastes tend to veer more toward the 1913/1914 silhouettes anyway. I know this is a 1912 party, but I want to wear something I love. And 1913 silhouettes make me happiest, so that’s the way I’m going! I love the narrow, hobble skirt and draped portions, and the textures of the fabrics I’m using I think will look stunning.
Above is just the fabrics draped and pinned on my form–a rough idea of what the final gown will (fingers crossed) look like. Now to get back to work! I’m busy working on the under-bodice and skirt–which hopefully once those are done, it’ll be smooth (and quick!) sailing from here…
As I mentioned last week, at the moment with the computer situation (being taken care of at this point!), things are a little spotty on the blogging front. Which is kind of killing me, because I’m feeling super chatty and inspired lately and have loads I wish I could share! Hopefully later this month, right? In the meantime a few little things for you…
Firstly I was honored to be featured once again on Kathleen’s blog Grosgrain as part of her Free Pattern Month. I shared an oldie, but goodie: a 1920s inspired chemise blouse. I posted this originally in 2009, but it’s one of those things I thought worth revisiting–especially with summer just around the corner!
You may have seen my little note on Facebook Tuesday about having a new hairstyle for you! The fact is I managed to record two videos recently, both hairstyle tutorials, and will be sharing the other next week. This one is for a side bun updo I’ve been sporting a lot lately that is inspired by the romantic looks of the Edwardian period (again!). It’s insanely easy and quick–even with my rambling in this video it clocked in at under seven minutes! So perfect for a quick weekend ‘do or something when you’re trying to get out of the door with minimal fuss.
Hope you’re having a lovely Thursday, dear friends!
I was really delighted by the overwhelming requests for a hair tutorial after I did my outfit post last week. It’s so, so easy–you’re seriously going to laugh at how easy it is! But it’s become my go-to style for most days lately, and the braiding makes it look loads more time-consuming and complicated than it is. This is a great tutorial for those of you who have longer hair too, and I think would even look really pretty on super-curly hair with little wisps coming out of the braid. Enjoy!
Any hairstyles you’re admiring lately? For me it’s all about what I can do with my long hair at the moment. I’m going back and forth between getting a few inches chopped off or just trimmed, as I’m quite in love with the length (mid back!) right now. It’s like the “perfect” length: long so I can braid it easily, but still short enough to curl and do 40s styles with. Now I just need to decide and make an appointment with the gal who cuts my hair!
I love the idea of ribbon bows tied around the head, but I can never seem to pull it off very well!
So I’m still completely smitten with romantic, Edwardian-inspired styles, and it seems to be getting worse rather than subsiding. Don’t worry–I haven’t fled my adoration of the 40s and 50s, but I’ve started detouring and revisiting other eras that are just as exciting to me. I think change is good in personal style–even if just slight tweaks here and there–because otherwise I start to feel like things are becoming stale and forced. Romantic elements in my outfits is nothing new, but it seems every late winter/spring I start to veer off in that direction even more. Just this year it’s taken new twists and turns. No longer satisfied with short floral skirts and vintage nightgowns as blouses, I’ve started figuring out how to do my hair in a “modern-Edwardian” style and have been eying things like dotted swiss for filmy blouses covered with lace insertion. I’ve been probably spending too much time browsing Ebay for antique dresses and stalking Flickr for old photos to go in my inspiration file. The folder on my desktop for Spring 2011 inspiration is chock-full of Edwardian-era pretties and stills from luscious films set in that time period. It’s addictive!
All this to say that I hope you aren’t getting bored of my constant posting about 1910s style–I can’t promise it’s going to subside soon. (It does crossover nicely into my love of pretty, romantic styles from the 1930s though…) I have a few more scans from my personal collection of rather tattered ladies magazines from this era. They’re so fun to look through, soak up inspiration and dream of languid spring days and weekend picnics in the sunshine…
An array of some plain and utilitarian shirtwaists and more lacy numbers. One of my antique sewing books informs me that the plain shirtwaists are called “tailored waists” and the ones containing a bit more trim are “fancy waists.”
More lovely shirtwaists. I particularly like the striped one with the fold-down collar in the bottom grouping; slightly nautical but not too much so.
Pretty dresses for young ladies–what we would call “juniors” now?
“High fashion” as seen and reported from Paris. Love the tiered, ruffled skirt on the far left!
A trio of beautiful dresses for ladies. I really love the way the floral print is worked into the dress at left.