Sunday, April 20, 2008

Progress Photos

I am really trying to buy out the pink ribbon in this town! I've gone to a local quilting/craft store, the only JoAnn Fabrics in town and two Michael's stores. This is what I got. I recounted, and I'll be making close to 44 ribbon roses for the gown and my hair. If I do just one a day I'll be done the first of June! Not so bad if you break down a project like that. If I had to make them all in a couple of days I'd go mad! Anyone for some hand sewing time? We'll put on The Buccaneers and drool over the 1870s costumes!

This afternoon for the 1876 Evening Gown I spent a good chunk of time drafting the Lower Apron pattern and its sewing instructions. I copied the skirt front and side front first, and took lots of measurements from the 1873 skirt still on my dressform.
I drafted the Lower Apron base first. This will be cut from the polished cotton. The base fabric will have the mounting lines penciled in for the top fabric to be gathered and stitched to.

I had to play with the size of the pink ribbons and spacing that go on top of the gathered apron front and on the sides of the overskirt panels. I will actually cut these ribbon bands from the pink silk taffeta instead of using pre-made ribbons. (I know, I'm insane with all that hand tacking!) The photo also shows the lace I will be using. It is a gorgeous net lace, 3" wide and soft.

So with the dressform measurements and the ribbon spacing I now drafted out the base. The next photo is of the completed base pattern for the Lower Apron. The photo after that is my notes on the pattern. It helps so much when you write your notes and thoughts right on the pattern. If you ever have to go back then they are right there for you.

I then copied the base to make the overlay (gathered fabric) pattern. I had to make two pattern pieces (for a center front and two sides) so I could cut it from my 45" cotton batiste. You can see the long line down the middle of the pattern from waist to hem (not the break in the table that is showing through the paper). This is where I am splitting the pattern in two and will then add seam allowance. I've also copied the grainline from the front (near the CF fold edge) onto the far right side so the grain of this new piece will follow the front piece grain.

I added both vertical space (for the puff to poof outward) and horizontal space to make the gathers bound by the pink ribbons. I had to even up the gather lines after the space was added. And the final pattern:

That was a lot of work!
I trust my patterning, but I think I'll make a mock-up just to test the puff fullness. It's so hard to know how much more fabric to add for different weights of fabrics and to get it to look like your picture (or sketch).

Here also are pics of the skirt/petticoat pattern that I finished last weekend. That back piece is huge! I had to use 3 sheets of the 24 x 30 size paper.

This is the finished skirt train (lower half of skirt pattern). See how I've added the length at center back and the horizontal width (with the vertical splices).

The prep sewing work (patterning, mock-ups, fabric pre-treating, cutting) before the actual sewing can commence really takes so much time! I always feel behind at this stage because I'm not actually sewing the project yet. However, most often the patterning and cutting time is about half (if not more than half) of your complete construction time.

When I get to the flat lining stage and then sewing seams, I whip through the project. So this baby will probably start taking form in a couple weeks!

And of course I'm building from the "ground" up. I will start with the skirt base (my underlining in polished cotton), then stitch on the pleated pink silk at the hem line, then add the lower apron, stitch the silk train onto the upper back underlining, sew and attach the batiste overskirt to the waistline and apply the waistband. Voila! The skirt is done! Now for the roses....

Keep visiting for all this to form before your eyes.

And have you made a guess at what I will be using to hold out the back of the skirt train to get that nice slope? Post your guess now! What would YOU use?

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