Thursday, August 24, 2017

HSM '15 #6: Out of Your Comfort Zone:1840's Dress, Part 3

Part One (Introduction), Part Two (Bodice and partial sleeves)

December 2015

Well friends, I did finish my dress in time for the challenge it was made for, aside from closures. I started to put them on and then my thread simply would not behave and tangled constantly, no matter how much I waxed it. So I put them on a bit later. I still have to make the thread loops for the sleeve buttons and attach them, and I also want to remove the skirt and reattach it on a band like the instructions say to, as it's sliiiightly too long where it is, attached to the bottom of the bodice. It sat on my dress form for months, because it was too hot all summer to put it on!

August 24, 2017

When Costume College was starting to approach at a much faster rate than it seemed in November, I knew I wanted to bring this gown with me. It was nearly finished! I only needed a waist closure, sleeve buttons, and to hopefully fix the skirt (as above, remove it from the edge of the waist, attach it to a band, and reattach it behind). I know I was anxious when I decided to do it, though I can't remember the exact date. I sat down with Riverdale on Netflix and a seam ripper, and started to go. It took a long time to pull it out, but pull it out I did, and reattached it to a bit of twill tape that had once been a drawstring in a hoody. I had almost thrown it out, but realized in time that it was a great bit of twill tape!

Once it was back on, it still seemed a bit long, but I also had no easy way to get into it by myself to check. I decided to leave it alone, and it came with me to Costume College. Once there, I attached a skirt hook and bar, the vintage glass buttons for the sleeves, and thread loops. I hated the loops immediately and cut them off, and attached hook and eyes under the button instead. Then I prayed it would all come together.

And it did! I wore a pair of modern heels with this, not more than 2" (they are my regular shoes for my old lady feet!), the corded petticoat (unstarched), and two 18th century petticoats - one chambray, one poly taffeta. The hem barely skimmed the floor. And it was just lovely. The shape was nice and soft, I loved the feeling of all my skirts swinging around my legs, and I got a lot of lovely compliments on it :D Most people were intrigued by the asymmetrical pleating over the bodice. My knitted pineapple reticule was the perfect accessory, and I got a lot of compliments on it too.

Perhaps the best compliment I received was when Jennifer Rosbrugh of Historical Sewing spotted me in the lobby, and I spotted her spotting me, and we had a lovely conversation about the construction of the dress (tiny fangirl squeeing -- I used her cartridge pleating tutorial when I did up the skirt!)

This dress was time-consuming, and the result is lovely. The only changes I made were to shorten the skirt a few inches (that I would have cut off anyway) and to move the shoulder seam towards the back. The only other thing I would change would be to get a little chemisette together to fill in the neckline, and to either balance the skirt differently so it doesn't gap at the back, or move the back closures to eliminate that.

Lumpy butt brought to you by my partner-in-crime trying to hide the gapping at the skirt.

The Challenge: 2015 #6: Out of Your Comfort Zone

Material: Cottons for gown and lining/facings

Pattern: Butterick 5832

Year: 1835-1840 (as per extant garment) (Thanks to Liz who found it!)

Notions: thread, hook & eye, vintage glass buttons, a bit of plastic boning, a scrap of poly taffeta and cotton yarn

How historically accurate is it?: Reasonably? I machined a lot of what wouldn't be visible, materials are plausible (except for the obvious man-made ones, and hand-finished anything that would show on the outside.

Hours to complete: I lost count. A lot. The sleeves had to be mostly hand sewn, I remember spending almost a week on them.

First worn: July 28, 2017 (Friday of Costume College)

Total cost: Dress fabric was from my mum's stash, taffeta was a remnant scrap, yarn was from my aunt's stash, glass buttons were salvaged from a long-ago garment by my gramma. Hooks & eyes, and the cotton broadcloth I used as lining/hem facing cost roughly $4 Cdn. To buy all new, I would expect to spend $80-100 Cdn.

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