Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Dress Construction:

This whole project is a new level of sewing for me.  I am not using a commercial pattern.  Just as I did with the corset I scaled up (and cheated a bit with some of the pattern) a 1911 dress found in Janet Arnold's "Patterns of Fashion II."

There are no detailed instructions regarding construction, but rather a short description of the dress, material, and two sketches, one of the dress and one of a partial inner look.  I've done a lot of reading, both historical readings and other blogs regarding dress construction.  I am focusing on a dress in the early part of the "Teens" rather than the later part.

Here are some tidbits:

Although some dresses are "flowy" looking the gowns have heavily built up understructures.
Boning is used throughout the bodice.
A waist tape was often used.  I flatlined mine with twill (should of used coutil....again) so I didn't use a waist tape.
The skirt is attached to the outside of the bodice rather than under or with a waist seam.
Flannel was used to underline the skirt trains and protect the fashion fabric.  The underlining would peek out a bit around the edge.
The upper bodice is gathered with a ribbon to help shape it.
There is a great deal of hand stitching on these dresses.
Edwardian era dresses require oodles of hooks and eyes....more hand sewing a a total pain in my behind!

So this is the picture from the book:

A picture of the blow up of the bodice pattern, and my working out the muslin:

Gathered bodice top, then the addition of flesh coloured mesh to help stabilize the sleeve and rest of bodice (you can barely see this but note where the pins are floating):

Here is a pic of the under dress shape (black sleeve is just pinned on):

Finally some details: hooks on the lower part of the dress, and the flannel dust under-cover peaking out after being sewn on (all my hand) :

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

So the Dress Has Begun....and the Concept has Changed.

The longer I stared at the beautiful beaded white lace I have the less inspired I was to get started with a Titanic era evening gown.  Don't get me wrong the lace is amazing...but it was just not working to get me going.  I realized two things.  I AM completely enamored with beaded gowns, I'm definitely not going for understated elegance....I like the bling!  The other thing was that I seemed to be collecting jpegs of black and cream gowns.  Here are some of those photos:

 So the next set of dresses are heavily beaded (the ones above are moderately beaded ):

So now what?  Well I went to a local thrift shop (we have a ton of them) and bought a hideous 1980's beaded dress.  It is a 2x with minimal damage.  It is beaded black silk.  The material is a little more dense than I had hoped to find.  I was looking for a lighter chiffon or net (like the white lace) but again the budget seamstress in me couldn't resist the price.  Here is the new garment to be dismantled.