The pretty part! Yay! After finding my way through a winter storm worth of white fabric, now comes the pretty purple silk georgette.
Well, almost first.
First is the lining, interlining, and boning.
The pattern for the boning placement has very little to do with historical accuracy, and much to do with the most comfortable and effective placement. Honestly, for "L"'s petite frame much of this could have been eliminated. Had the time period we're shooting for been 50 years earlier I may have been able to do away with boning altogether.
I was a little worried that the neckline looked a bit high, but once again "L" is not shaped like me, and she requested a higher neckline. It turned out fine, however weird it looked at this stage to me.
An important note for sewing ease: I left the bottom open and the zip tie boning out at this point so I could wrestle it under my sewing machine with the least amount of fuss possible. It is after all 3 layers of fabric and one of interfacing.
I used button holes since they would ultimately be hidden anyway. I hate metal grommets unless absolutely necessary. On a bodice they tend to pull themselves out of their fabric holes, no matter how well they are installed. Historical accuracy would have demanded a metal ring with a hand sewn button hole around it. No thank you! I'll take the shortcut!
The rest of the bodice is sewn pretty much like a vest pattern, except I leave the open seam at the shoulders instead of the side seams for turning. I can finish the seam edges with ribbon or bias tape and that cuts down on both a bulky seam, necessary hand sewing, and/or an awkward experience folding fabric under the sewing machine.
The photos I posted were in this order, so I'm sure I got to the point of getting the bodice done and took a break to work on the sleeves. The skirt was relatively easy to do again. Except for the tiny rolled hem at the front split. I probably wanted to gather my courage before attempting that.
But I did continue, and here is where my "floating lady" dress dummy set up came in handy. I could either cut the remaining length of sari fabric into panels for the skirt, or just gather one long edge, depending on how long the skirt needed to be. I was praying and hoping that I didn't need to do panels, but a hoop skirt adds to the overall length.
Once again, I didn't want to cut the georgette when I didn't have to, so after a quick electronic convo with "L" we decided to leave it on as a ruffle at the top. This does have some historical accuracy, as some ladies' doublets had a sort of short peplum.
The main dress was done!!!!
I had a few other surprises though.
The original dress listed on Etsy that I started from had the chemise sleeves gathered at the elbow, so I added some elastic "scrunchie" type things in case "L" wanted to take the outer sleeves off and push her sleeves up for work.
No real Renaissance lady would be caught dead without a head covering of some kind, unless they were single and looking. It's an oft-overlooked element that really adds to authenticity. Fortunately I had a little of the fancy stuff left over and a bit of veil-type fabric in my stash.
I also made a handbag, not pictured. The white flower pin is a memorial item everyone in the Royal Court will be wearing.
Finally, and NOT historically accurate, I added a few hooks and eyes to the inside of the skirt to lift it up. The event lawn is famous for cockleburrs and in case they are particularly bad this year I wanted to give "L" an opportunity to keep the nice fabric up out of the mud.
I had one small internal question about how I attached the front panel flap. It turned out not to work, as I suspected. But this was after the first fitting, which meant I was in Wichita....near civilization...and near a JoAnn's fabric store!
What I wanted to use originally (and historically accurate!) was brass rings. They're sold in the window covering/upholstery accessories section of the store and only come in brass. But they're strong and the right size!
I spent an evening sewing 24 of the little suckers on. Great news is that they work perfectly!
It looked fabulous at our dress rehearsal. I hope it wears just as well through the faire in a couple of weeks!
And I promise to actually take pictures of "L" in the dress. ;)
Hello! This is the first part of a series of posts chronicling the construction of a dress for "L" - one of the first commissions I've done. Since I already went over the design sketches and fabric selection let's dive right in to pattern fitting.
My last post had resources for the patterns I used, so on to the pretty pictures right away, lol!
And after a session with the client to fit the bodice, here is the end result: a custom fit bodice and sleeve pattern. The hoop skirt, underskirt, and chemise will be loose enough garments that I don't need exact measurements for that. And a thank you to Kate, who helped me remember how to use the dressmaker's underarm curve. ;)
And one footnote - after seeing the fabric in person both "L" and I agreed that brick red/black/green trim didn't go with the soft purple, nor were the sequins and seed beads necessary on a dress that already had metallic embroidery. The first real evening of work began with a seam ripper! Luckily, everything came off very easily with almost no trace.
Since I don't want these posts to get too long, I'll stop here for now. I think next time will be hoop skirt, chemise, and underskirt construction.
Twins each with half a brain in reality; the other half displayed here!