lørdag den 17. juni 2017

The 1780 striped dress -a long story

Waaay back, before I had any kids, I had an idea to make a dress from the 18th century.

I started on a pair of stays inspired by the blog 'before the automobile', and drafted a pattern by modifying my victorian pattern an absurd amount. I am actually a little bit proud as it only took one mockup to get the fit.
However, I left the project unfinished at an unknown time (probably when I got pregnant) and it lived in the 'UFO' pile for a long while.

I finished the stays in the summer 2014, while I was on maternity leave. Why I do not remember, but at least I did it. Or, well. Almost. I didn't add the shoulder straps. But hey, they were wearable!

Then in the spring 2016 I turned 30, and as a present for myself I found a lovely striped silk. More like a duponi than a taffetta, but I absolutely loved it and wanted to make a 18th century dress inspired by the dress from sleepy hollow.

So I did a little research, and the combination was quite realistic! The project was a go!


I made a few extra underpinnings in cotton, focusing not on authenticity but on getting the right shape. This was not for reenactment but just for the fun of it. 

I ended up having to take the front center seam apart on the stays, -they were too tight over the bust, as I had gone up in bra size after having my son. I was missing a shift/underdress, ut all in all I had a pretty neat kit to give the right shape. So onwards to the actual dress!

I made a pattern for the top from Janet Arnolds patterns of fashion 1 page 40 (c. 1775-85 snowhill manor), and to my big surprise it fit without any alterations! However, to create the zone front effect, I did redraft my pattern a little.

I made the lining first using a sewing machine, but then I added the silk layer by hand. It was great fun, and I used a good deal of time looking at other peoples blogs to learn about how to insert a sleeve and other nifty information.

For the skirt I had to hand stitch two lengths of fabric together, as the stripes on the fabric ran the wrong way. I could not just use the mashine, as it turned out that the stribes had a slight variation in width, and thus would create a very visible seam where the stripes did not meet.

So with the dress sewed up, I put in hooks and eyelets and tried it on...

And it did not fit! I could not close it over the bust.
I thought that maybe it was the less forgiving silk that did not stretch as much as the cotton I had used for the mockup, but in reality it was the early signs of me being pregnant.

Planned? Yes.
Expected to happend this fast? No.
Did I realize it while I worked on the dress? Not a chance.

So I had to cut open the front and use the fake zone front as a base to put in a new piece that gave a little extra room for the bust.
Thankfully it worked.

 So now all I had to do was to add the trimming!

....Aaaaand realize that my bust just kept growing, that my constant tiredness and slight nausea had a reason and that by now I could not fit the damn dress. 

So yet again the project ended in the UFO pile, with half the trim attached and the overskirt not yet attached. 
And this is where it sits right now, a year later, with the white peonys blooming (my private deadline for the dress back in the spring 2016) 
However, while my bust still doesn't fit into the dress, I have a date with a photographer and a model later this summer so it just might be done soon. 

So that is a large part of what I was doing during the long silence on this blog. Most of it has been described in Danish on my facebook page, but not in a coherent story. BTW, pop by the facebook page and have a look. I am much better at updating there, and there is quite a few smaller projects described there.

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