|Robe a la francaise [French or Austrian] The Metropolitan Museum of Art|
Problem is, it's a curtain panel I bought on clearance, and it was the only one left at that particular store. There are other stores I can check to find more, but first I need to know exactly how many curtains it'll take to make this beauty. Hence the math.
I've pulled out my pattern, Simplicity 3637, which will provide the basic framework for the gown. I'm sure I'll make changes to the overall look, but I think it's a good starting point.
So here's my problem. The back of the pattern calls for 20 1/2 yards of 45" wide fabric. 20 1/2 yards!!!! Who could ever afford to make this from the expensive "brocade, silk shantung, damask, or dupioni" that the pattern calls for?
Of course, this yardage includes the petticoat, which could easily be made with only the front panel out of the expensive stuff since the sides and back don't show. It also includes the miles of self-trim that decorate the front of the overskirt and petticoat. This could easily be made from contrasting fabric. However, Simplicity doesn't break it down for you and say "you need this much for the petticoat, this much for the gown, and this much for the trim." Oh, no. That would be the easy way. :|
So here I am studying the cutting layout section of the directions, which I never look at under normal circumstances. I usually find much more efficient cutting layouts than the instructions - which is usually because I don't have "enough" fabric to make the garment in question. :p
Anyway, this section does break it down into parts of the gown. The trim section involves cutting strips across the whole width of fabric - twelve strips of 5" wide, three of 6", and four of 7". This all adds up to 106" - two inches shy of three yards. Three yards of fabric eaten away by trim. No thanks.
Now here's an interesting bit. There are no pattern pieces for the Gown Back or Petticoat Front and Back. Instead, the instructions say to cut two panels 23.5" wide and 66" long, and two panels 43.5" and 51" long. So if only my petticoat front is going to be the nice fabric, I can nix one of those 43.5x51" panels, as well as the Petticoat Side Front and Side Back pieces.
|Pieces highlighted in yellow are the ones I need from the curtains. Blue can be cheaper fabric.|
I was just about to give up, when I suddenly thought to turn the pattern piece sideways. It just *barely* fit! And I was able to get number 8 (Skirt Front) next to it, with room to spare for several of the smaller pieces like the bodice and sleeves.
|Slightly less depressing|