Friday, May 25, 2018

The Hufflebustle - Bodice and Overskirt

I cut out my bodice (using TV466) from the micro-check silk:

The lapels from some lovely, soft cotton velveteen:

And the center front, collar, and tail facings from yellow silk:

I then cut all the pieces again from white cotton sateen, to flat-line them.  Except for the lapels - I cut the lining for them from plain black cotton broadcloth.

I chose not to cut a separate lining for the bodice, mainly because I was so sick of cutting out the same pieces over and over!  So instead of flat-lining the center front pieces, I sewed the lining pieces to the silk right sides together:

I followed the instructions for fastening with hooks and eyes - stitching the center front with a 1/4" seam allowance on the left side and a 1" seam allowance on the right side.

I then turned them right side out and from there, treated the two layers as one.  I also sewed the lapels to their linings along the outer and lower edges, pressed and turned them before sandwiching the raw edges inside the seam between the vest pieces and bodice front pieces.  Everything else I followed the instructions.

I tried on the bodice over my corset and was so pleased that it fit beautifully!

The tail pleats are just so fun:

(One of the great things about choosing the micro-check for my bodice was that I knew it would be impossible to pattern-match, so I didn't even try.  It was very freeing!  I tend to be obsessive about pattern-matching, and it's gotten me into trouble in the past.  I did pay attention to the horizontal lines at the center back seam only, but I didn't beat myself up when it wasn't absolutely perfect.)

Since I wasn't adding a separate lining, I needed to finish the lower edges somehow.  I chose to make piping with bias strips of the micro-check, which I stitched to the hem, then turned the seam allowance to the inside and tacked it to the lining.

I left the lapels free at the hem edge, and ended the piping at the vest front seams.

For the tails, I just used the yellow silk facing pieces as the lining.

It was very tricky getting these points exactly right, since I attached the facings before I added the piping:

For the neckline, I cut yellow cotton bias and simply bound the seam allowance:

I also added yellow silk piping to the sleeve hems, just for visual interest.  Oh, and I learned a trick for making and attaching the piping by machine, which I've always struggled with in the past.  I usually make it using the zipper foot, but the needle never gets close enough to the cord to make it nice and tight.

The pin is where I want the stitching to be.

But I had a brainwave, realizing I could use my buttonhole foot to attach it!  I simply let the cord nestle into one of the grooves of the foot, and kept the needle in the center position between the two grooves:

This worked like a charm!  The needle got right up next to the cord, and now the original row of stitching was safely hidden within the seam allowance.  The sleeves didn't need to be flat-lined, so I just sandwiched the piping between the fashion fabric and lining when attaching them at the hem, then turned right side out and treated both layers of the sleeve as one when attaching to the bodice.  I was quite happy with how the piping turned out!

Now on to the overskirt.  I used TV365, but I modified it slightly.  I didn't want to have to worry about pattern-matching on the seams on the front apron, so I combined the center front and side pieces into one.  I was cutting size G, so I measured an inch in from that cutting line (to account for 1/2" seam allowance on either side) and taped the pieces together along the cutting line for size C.  

Painter's tape works great for this, because it doesn't tear the paper when you remove it!

Other than that, I followed the instructions for the overskirt construction, although I didn't quite get it finished.  I ran out of time before the event, so I didn't add the pickups on the back of the skirt, but just left it hanging free.  I also didn't get any fasteners sewn on the placket, so I just pinned it shut when I wore it.

The bodice is also unfinished - I still need to add boning to the interior seams for extra support, and sew on all the hooks and eyes.  I sewed three of them on in the car on the way to the event, but I knew I would be pinning the bodice shut at least most of the way.  So I basted a line of yellow thread down the left-hand side of the vest so I would know where center front was.  This gave me a guideline for where to place my thread eyes, and also where to line up the right side when pinning.

Next up, photos from the Victoria Day party! 

Thursday, May 24, 2018

The Hufflebustle - Underskirts

When I was designing the Hufflebustle, I had settled on the Frosted Yellow silk from Renaissance Fabrics to complete my fabric ensemble for the gown.  You may remember I was waffling on how much to get (I needed less than a yard for the bodice center front), and by the time I got around to ordering it they only had six yards left!  So of course I bought all of it.

My plan was to make a solid yellow underskirt to change out with the checked one, mainly inspired by this fashion plate:

And this one:

But then the fabric arrived, and I fell in love with it hardcore.

Pictures do not do it justice.  It's like sunshine woven into fabric.  It's like butter and honey combined.  It shimmers and lives.  I love it so much.  And I was gazing at it (maybe petting it a little) and happened to glance over at my adorable daughter playing on the floor and had a sudden vision of her wearing a historically accurate 18th Century Belle gown made from it!  Granted, she'll need to be a few years older before I can make it for her, but I feel like I NEED to make it.

BUT I still want that solid yellow underskirt!  What to do, what to do?

Then I remembered I had four yards of pale yellow cotton - a bit paler than the yellow silk:

So I decided to make the underskirt from it, and cover only the parts of the skirt that will show beneath the overskirt with the silk.

I assembled the full cotton skirt (TV263) first, to get a sense of which pieces needed to be covered with silk.

Then after making my bodice mockup, I laid out the bodice pieces and the skirt pieces all at the same time, making the very best possible use of the fabric:

I used the skirt side panels and the lower 12" of the skirt front, the center front "vest" piece, collar, and tail facings of the bodice.  I managed to get them all in just over a yard and a quarter, so I still have nearly five yards left for a future Belle gown for Reptar!  Which makes me extremely happy, because she looks so good in yellow.

Anyway, I took the cotton skirt pieces apart in order to flatline the silk side panels.  I attached the lower front piece this way:

And folded it down over the bottom before re-assembling the skirt.

Oh, and I also added pockets in the side seams, because why shouldn't my skirt have pockets? They'll be covered by the overskirt, anyway!

Of course, I was not planning on wearing the solid yellow underskirt to the event for which I was making this gown.  So why was I spending so much time on it?  Good question.  :p  I made it first partially to serve as a mockup in case there was anything I needed to change (there wasn't) and I cut out the silk pieces because I wanted to cut them out at the same time as the bodice pieces in order to get the best use of my fabric.  And I re-assembled it in order to make sure my pockets were the right size and shape (I drafted my own pattern) and in the correct place.  I wouldn't know for sure until I tried it on, and I wanted to put pockets in the micro-check underskirt, too.

So next I cut out the pieces for the micro-check bodice and underskirt at the same time.  Once again (it's kind of my mantra) I went for the absolute best use of my fabric:

Look how close my skirt pieces are to each other!!!

I was pretty stoked about the fact that I got my underskirt and bodice out of my five yards of fabric, when the underskirt pattern called for four yards all by itself, and the bodice pattern called for 2 3/4 yards!  I get really proud of myself when I accomplish "impossible" feats like that.  (Granted, my silk was 54" wide, not 45", but still.)

I made the waistband and pockets from solid black cotton. 

I'll blog about the bodice next.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

The Buttercup Dress

I made Reptar's second Regency dress from a soft yellow striped wool because it was for a winter event - the Regency Society's Twelfth Night Dinner I've blogged about previously.  I wanted her to be warm and comfy, and the yellow is so lovely with her complexion:

Isn't she cute?
I made the dress Regency-esque, from a modern pattern:

I used scraps of wool left over from my (unfinished) yellow gown I started in the Burnley & Trowbridge workshop last fall.  First I made sure I had enough to make a matching petticoat for my gown, then gathered the leftover pieces.

I used the pattern as a guide for the basic shapes, but cut them much wider than the pattern called for:

I have no in-progress shots, because of course I was sewing on a deadline.  So here are photos of the finished gown:

The bodice and skirt are all one piece, with just the drawstring to create a waist:

I turned down the top edge to make the neckline casing, and used bias tape to make the drawstring casing for the waistline.

The sleeves also got drawstrings in the hems:

AndI decided I wanted double-puffed sleeves, so I added a second drawstring to the middle of the sleeves:

I was gifted both the adorable cap she wore, and two children's shifts (which were too long, so I added growth tucks to the skirt of the one she wore), and I bought a pair of children's cotton stockings from Colonial Williamsburg which I altered to fit her:

She was the cutest little buttercup!