Ta da! This is the trim design Taylor chose! It was secretly my favorite too, but I didn't want to impose all of my design ideas. It was a WHOLE LOT OF HAND STITCHING but since the faire was cancelled for the spring I had time.
It honestly took me a little while to work up the creative energy to get it finished. Pandemics are no joke, even if your local area isn't affected too badly. However, I even had enough trim to do the exposed chemise sleeves and the back where it laces together.
You might be wondering if the bodice laces in the back and the skirt ties in the front, how is it held together? I tried brass rings to lace them together, but it sagged weirdly. I settled on dress hooks (think hooks and eyes, but on steroids) all around. I may need to add more when it's worn.
Until the general health of the public at large clears up this is Schrodinger's dress - both finished and not. I can tell some re-fitting will need to happen with the sleeves, but I won't be able to tell what needs to happen until the final fitting. Good thing I always build in the ability for my dresses to fit through several sizes - I know I've put on a few stress eating pounds.
A continuation of this previous blog post.
When I started this project, I could tell it would be finished in a time crunch, since we started a bit late for the spring fair. This was to be the first costume I completed from scratch since I had a very busy near-toddler taking up my time. I have been working late nights.
We decided earlier on that the accompanying color would be grey in the underskirt and sleeve lining. I pulled a budget trick I have used many times before and ordered a cotton sheet set to use for lining fabric, which I used for a very simple chemise.
The teal overskirt was equally as simple - just gathered on a waistband. She wanted a split front, so it just ties there. The bodice will cover it up.
Unfortunately because of the shape of the fabric left over after cutting out the bodice and sleeves I had to turn the fabric and cut panels instead of just gathering the edge. The hem was just serged and turned. The panels did leave a design at the opening and in the back that turned out rather nicely.
Here is the part I was disgusted with myself later. I didn't take pictures of the construction of the bodice. Time was getting tight. However, it was identical to what we did for the bodice of the Blue Bees dresses. With one crucial exception. Instead of spacing out extra large zip ties like we've done before, Taylor wanted something more flexible. Time to research!
Historically, grass reeds were sometimes used, as were sticks from hedges and rolled linen fabric. These would be replaced from time to time. One option I stumbled upon was hemp twine, or rope. This lovely blogger has already done the research, and I heartily recommend you read her posts if you are headed that direction yourself.
In her post one of the problems she had with sewing corsets was getting the cording into the channels after they were sewn. For my part I used two cords per channel and installed them as I went, using a zipper foot to sew close to the cording.
It was also highly recommended to go with uncoated hemp, and I only found one brand available in the US - fortunately available on Amazon. One spool will do for dozens of dresses! It's usually used in jewelry making with the very largest of openings in beads. As a side note - as this is uncoated hemp, it still smells "fresh." Well, as fresh as a barn full of alfalfa. Good thing Taylor works grooming dogs and I grew up on a farm!
When I was done it didn't look weird on the outside - a good sign!
The next thing to do was sleeves and trim, and here I stalled. See, this little event called COVID-19 started to affect the middle of the US. It's all happened quite quickly. Schools have shut down, my library is closed for now, and it is looking like our little faire will be cancelled for the spring.
I got some mock-ups pinned on to see what things would look like, but since I'm able to take a breath and not rush through the end of this project I am counting my blessings. Here's a preview of the sleeves, however!
I will leave this post with the three options I gave Taylor for trim placement. The trim is deconstructed from the Blue Bees dresses. I was more than happy to use up my own stash, since I don't typically use gold tones myself. We'll see what she chose when I make the next post!
I had asked Kate to help with the pattern drafting, and after Taylor sent her measurements online a pattern was drafted. Kate could see right away that maybe not every measurement was accurate.
The bustline was way too high. Kate made her best guess based on standard pattern shapes.
The other change from previous patterns was the side seam. Taylor didn't want the bodice front lacing, but back lacing. In addition she indicated she wanted less of a column shape, but with English influences. The side seams were moved around to the back, and the lacing left at the center back.
And so we go from pattern to muslin! Even though this fabric mock up was made of leftover linen from a prior project. Kate also very wisely left heckin' huge seam allowances, with stitching lines where the original measurements indicated, and looser ones where she thought they might end up.
I had been in communication with Taylor about fabric choices in my stash of silk saris I bought online. Unsurprisingly to me, she liked the teal color best. However, it had a golden thread woven motif all over that didn't show up too well in pictures. I packed all of them, but Taylor remained steadfast in her choice. In addition I talked to her more about the design and we chose a secondary silk in grey with golden embroidery as an accent.
Last week we had a Royal Court photoshoot for photos to go on the website, and Kate and I were able to fit the muslin to Taylor. In addition to letting out the seams to the secondary larger option, the front was lengthened, the shoulders widened, the neckline lowered, and the armholes made bigger.
I am updating Taylor on Facebook with the important stuff. For this project instead of going from pattern making to finishing hems on each garment, I'm completing all the cutting first so my table can be free for construction from here on out. I took the above picture, but realized the piles of cut fabric only looked in order to me. So I labeled it. Here's to progress out of this chaos!
Twins each with half a brain in reality; the other half displayed here!