Sunday, November 25, 2012

1880s Book Dress - VI: Working on the Skirt

I realized that in order to get the best fit on the top of the dress I really need to have the skirt done.  I started the skirt and then got sidetracked on a waist cincher I'm redoing but here is skirt progress:

What shape I wanted, first with the original book dress photo:
Then with a good example of the real deal:
In a way this is very near to the book dress if you look at the styling and close to what I am shooting for. 
Then there is a piece I own that one day I will recreate (totally not wearable, shreds when you touch it):

To get the look I used a Truly Victorian pattern for an 1870s skirt with multiple pieces/seams:
What I did instead was to lay the pieces out so I would have the front contrast fabric cut in one piece and the back and sides cut in one piece resulting in just two seams.  I was lucky that my blue cotton velvet is very wide and allowed me to cut the larger piece on the fold in once piece.  Importantly  I added a couple of inches to the bottom to make sure the length would be long enough.  TV patterns sometimes run short, and I wanted to make sure I had plenty to run over a bustle.  The tricky part will be draping and adding a hidden pocket because I only have two seams to work with:
This is the front portion of the skirt and the side fronts cut as one piece.
I barley had enough room but managed to get the back and side backs onto one piece of fabric.  Again I added length to the back piece as well.

To get a more pronounced 1880s bustle I've decided to use a wire cage that I own.  It was a back room vintage store find and was very inexpensive years ago.  The downside is that it was never in good shape and I didn't take good care of it over several moves and it is in pretty bla day I'll do it right but right now it is a disaster.  I know people have varying opinions on whether to wear original pieces but I plan to and hope for the best.

I had previously sewn the TV bustle which I made up without the additional ruffles.  I layered this over the bustle cage and got a really good shape for the dress.  Now I haven't yet tested this out for wearability, and since this will be a tea with a lot of sitting, I hope this works...(crossing fingers).

When I tacked all the pieces on this is what it looks like.  Nothing is sewn but you get the gist:

I think the bottom of the dress will be less poofy in the front.  Right now the TV bustle/petticoat is tacked up because I wore it with and will be wearing it again soon, a Steampunk outfit and I needed it shorter.  When I let the tacking down it will be smoother in the front.

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