Sunday, December 4, 2016

"Funemployment," or, The Luxury of Indecision

I am very excited to say that I got a new job, and I had a whole week off in between! So this week I've been enjoying the luxury of working on projects and finals without anything else on the books--just get up, sew, do homework, sew more, etc. Glorious!

This includes two big developments: I am almost done with my 1830s dress, and I decided to make my mother an 1850s outfit for the ball. So I've been hard at work! Both dresses were tried on for the first time this evening for last alterations, and I am unspeakably pleased so far. I promise to post detailed pictures once they've been worn and photographed, but in the meantime I have some cell phone progress shots. Because I had time to think about taking progress shots! And only swore a lot of the time but not all the time! Ha.

Before my week off, I actually did some significant work on the bodice beginning in late October, because we had sewing circle. Over the course of the October and November sessions I mocked up the pattern (TV455), made adjustments, and assembled the actual bodice so that I could have help fitting the darts. I find it much easier to have someone do that while I'm wearing the bodice! Then I cut an overlayer out of my bridal tulle that was wider across the front and back than my actual bodice (but actual size around the arm holes). I matched the arm holes and shoulders of the bridal tulle, and then painstakingly created tiny folds to pleat up the excess width. I tacked each tulle pleat to the silk bodice in three places (top, waist, bottom) as invisibly as possible, then bound the neck with piping and added a non-tulle-d waistband, which further lock down the pleats.

matching up the arm holes to start pleating the tulle

checking the look halfway

I also created long tulle oversleeves and short puffed silk undersleeves and attached those over Thanksgiving, so the bodice was in pretty good shape before my week off (which also never happens). I'd also already cut and assembled the skirt, so I had a large tube ready to go. This is when that indecision starts--I originally planned to make a padded, three-dimensional rolled hem in silk at the bottom of the tulle overskirt. I messed this up right away by sewing it together upside-down, and had to pick itty-bitty stitches out of the tulle (which took forever and was absolutely miserable), then once I'd fixed it, stuffed the tube, and sewn it shut...I decided I didn't like it. It seemed clunky, it wouldn't lay right, and it just made me sad! So I slept on it, and didn't touch it the next day. Instead, I worked on my mother's dress so that I felt good about progress. When I went back to my dress, I decided that yes, I really did hate the overskirt. So I made an entirely new one (luckily I had enough tulle) with no hem decoration and basted it to my silk. The two layers are cartridge pleated as one to the waistband, and the excess tulle (folded to the inside to adjust the length) adds some nice volume--almost like an extra petticoat.

Speaking of cartridge pleating...I did that! I usually don't have time, because it is hugely time-consuming. But I love the way they make the skirt hang, so since I had the time I took advantage of it!\. To further help give the skirt some body, I used craft felt to pad the skirt hem (based on this blog post). I sewed my felt to the silk as a facing, so it was super easy, lightweight, and rather stiff. It's not perfectly accurate, but not horribly off either. Definitely a trick I'll keep in mind for future skirts.

facing the hem with felt

marking cartridge pleats
stitching the pleats while watching The Crown, which I greatly enjoyed! Also, cat, because of course she needed to be on my lap for this

pleats drawn up and pinned to the waist

from the front
 I've also started finishing all the little bits, like putting cuffs on the sleeves and bias-binding the sleeve openings. I still need to sew down the neck piping and add closures, but otherwise this is basically done with a whole week to go until the ball! INSANITY. It's a pretty great feeling. (or it would be, but also finals. Still, better than sewing and finals...)

cuffs and binding on the oversleeves
My mother's dress is in pretty good shape as well-the bodice is done except for closures and hand finishing, and has been passed off to Mom to finish on her own this week. I measured the skirt for length this evening after assembling and hemming it over the week, so now I can adjust accordingly and attach it to the waist band. Then that's it, she's done too!

cutting the lining from scraps of Christmas print, because why not!

laying out skirt panels
On to Fezziwig's!

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