Tuesday, July 06, 2004

Well, I made it!

The dress got finished, worn and admired! The story from here on in is definitely retrospective, because I didn't have time to sew *and* write as I was finishing up. I ended up taking Friday off at short notice, and spent all of it sewing. I was finishing off the shift at about 7pm on Saturday, about half an hour before I put it on. I ended up sewing myself into the dress, as I hadn't made any other way to attach the robe to the stomacher, or the stomacher to the corset. Overall, I was really very pleased with the outcome, and it was certainly admired! There are lots of bits that could use neatening up (like binding the corset, for a start), and I'd love to finish off the stomacher properly, but I did it!! Pictures to follow.

I definitely learnt a lot during this project; details follow for anyone seriously interested:

Things I'd never attempted before starting this project:

  • Enlarging a pattern to fit me
  • Boning with cable ties
  • Making a custom tailor's dummy
  • Cartridge pleating
  • Draping a pattern
  • Making any kind of garment by completing the pieces individually then whipstitching them together
Things that didn't really work:
  • The cartridge pleating. Not my fault, but I went out and bought some nice strong cotton quilting thread for the purpose. Which proved itself unequal to the job as soon as I tried on the robe, and started snapping. Very nervewracking!! Also, it probably needed some support at the back, to help them stand out - a bumroll, or a small hoopcage might have worked better than the pocket hoops.
  • The pocket hoops. These worked better than anticipated, really, and were rather larger than I expected...
  • The stomacher. Sadly, I ran out of time here, and didn't have time to attach it to the corset or the robe properly, and just ended up sewing myself in. This is rather a shame, because it made the whole dress slightly too large for a couple of reasons:
    • The stomacher is designed to be overlapped by the dress slightly, and I sewed it to the edge (so as not to damage the brocade fabric). So it was bigger.
    • If not attached to the corset, the stomacher has a tendency to slip down slightly. Because it's an inverted triangle shape, this effectively makes the bodice slightly larger all the way down my body.
    • It's also possible that I drafted it slightly too large in the first place, because I did it on myself by tucking a piece of fabric down the front of my corset, pulling the robe on and drawing round the bit that showed. This was when the cartridge pleats started snapping, so I didn't pull the robe on as snugly as I would have liked.
Things that worked better than I expected:
  • Whipstitching the corset together. I had little faith in my handsewing at this point, and stitched every seam twice with doubled thread. This was possibly overkill, and didn't help the time budget, either. Worked, though.
  • Draping a pattern. Quicker, easier and far more exciting than I thought it would be.
  • Ruching sleeves made of curtain fabric. Whoooo.
  • The dress was very *comfortable*, and just warm enough for sitting around all evening (well, to 1 in the morning) outside in early June. Ha!
Things I'd like to finish off/do over:
  • The ends of all the waist ties!!
  • Bind the corset, and maybe make a nice cover for it
  • Sort the stomacher out properly
  • Add robings to the dress to hide the stomacher hooks...
  • Re-do the cartridge pleats so they will *hold*. Possibly with fishing twine! The original plan was to sell the gown, and I certainly can't if the pleats are snapping...
  • Maybe experiment with alternate undergarments for the hip area.
  • Yes, I'm mad, but I'd quite like to re-make the gown in the lightweight, shiny 'alternate' fabric that I didn't use in the end. Just to compare and contrast...
  • Tempted to make the hat/fan etc. Just so the whole costume is complete...
Anyway, that's all for now - there will be a full gallery of pics, as soon as I can garner them from those that took them at the party! I will also put the whole lot on again sometime soon for an official photo shoot!


Post a Comment

<< Home