Tuesday, August 6, 2013

The Tissot Picnic Dress -- Construction

I have been pretty tardy at getting the details about this dress up.  As I am about to embark on a new adventure (reworking a pretty fragile 1920s dress) I thought I would try to get as much up as I could now so I can focus on the next project. I also have bonnet instructions although this bonnet was much too large for the period and I will cut it down to be in better scale in the future.

I started by highly modifying a Truly Victorian polonaise pattern for the top and then draping the skirt out of white cotton poly I had in the stash.  The dress was made from two curtain panels I bought for $6 at Goodwill, Ikea clearance center lace curtains, two panels were about $14, and some ebay buttons $6 (nice pierced metal) and some $4 a yard organza (super wide) that I bought from the local thrifty fabric mart.  In theory this whole dress is machine washable....in theory...

I started by putting my newly completed corset on my mannequin, I was happy with the corset (see prev post) but it could have been smaller.  I can get the center almost closed and the top bust spreads a little more than I would have liked...oh well...it is the learning process.  The big thing is that it fits comfortably and I can wear it for long periods of time!

Here are the inspiration pics.  I liked the pointy part of the bodice on one and the lace/rushing application on the other.  The dress is really a hybrid of lots of fashion plates I looked at as well the limitations the fabric had in terms of amount...this would have looked a bit different if I had had a few more curtain panels.

And this dress which inspired the choice of sleeves:

 There was lots of pinning and unpinning to work the curves and to get the point I wanted.  I like to use coloured sharpies to mark my mock ups -- but BEWARE, if you have a nice corset underneath do not do this.  I have a heavy body double cover I made to go over the corset and I lightly make notes and that keeps the corset underneath "safe."

One of the best things I learned from the GBACG Victorian bodice class was to let go of the notion that darts had to be so pretty and symmetrical.   I had to separate the side-back from the side-front on the pattern to get the shape I need, above is before I did that.

Here I have draped the front of skirt and started to drape the top part of the poof.

Here is the final drape of the skirt with the lower portion tacked on.  All this was done over the petticoat I previously mentioned.  I then used the skirt drape as a pattern for the curtain panels.  Since the curtain panels were already lined I did not use the skirt mock up as a lining.

Here are the photos for the skirt before it was decorated.  Some people will trim the front panel before sewing the whole thing together -- I realized that would be handy after the fact.  Next time I will probably do it that way.  (Excuse the weird yellow lighting, the dress is the light icy blue.) The bottom pic shows how I hemed the dress to have the balayeuse peaking out and the whole under petticoat and balayeuse worked great in regards to keeping the dress quite clean after being dragged around a working farm.

The trim was a lesson in patience.  Even with the ruffler that I purchased, which made ruffling easier but made so much noise, came out of alignment easily and broke most of the sewing needles I had in my stash...it too a long time and yards and yards of material to get the look.   I cut endless strips and serged them together and just sewed for what seemed like forever.  Lots of thread was used and my family was happy for the quiet moments in-between.

 To get the shape of the poof I  made pleats on the two side seams of the poof as well as run a tape town the middle which I then tacked the swags of the poof to.  I played around with different pinned configurations until I found a look that I liked.

Above you can see the based/pinned top which was an overlay of lace over the solid fabric.  Sadly I seem to have lost most of the bodice construction photos.  If I find them I will add them to this post in the future.  Here is the skirt almost done.  Below is the finished skirt.

If I do this again I will be more careful to make sure the ruching, it is a small detail but in my opinion an important one, is perpendicular to the floor.  The last wide row got a little wanky and sideways on me.  Might not bother you but makes me CRAZY!

Now initially I wore the skirt as it is above, however, I realized the silhouette was a little off for what I envisioned.  The second time I wore the dress I added ties (similar to that on the petticoat) to the dress and pulled in a little to get this:

I liked the narrow look much better.  Enjoy and sorry about the bodice construction photos -- if I ever figure out what happened I'll post them :-)

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