Monday, December 8, 2014

The Pretty Part!

I know you've all been waiting for this with bated breath. Over a month of anticipation. Finally, AT LAST, Stitchy will reveal the terrible bathroom mirror photos of her Venetian dress! But I'm going to make you wait until the end of the post.

Because I'd made at least two previous attempts at this bodice, and was short on fabric to begin with, I had do some creative cutting to get a new bodice and sleeves out of the small pieces I had left. The bodice has a pieced strap, but I was lucky to get all the main pieces cut in one. 

This is what happens when you don't have a proper cutting table.

The sleeves, however, were made pretty much entirely of scraps. I chose my sleeve style, with paned puffs at the top, with that in mind. I also used a two piece sleeve because of the fabric shortage. Normally for a Venetian I would use a fuller one piece sleeve. One half of one sleeve is cut in one piece, and the others have at least two pieces. There was no hope of matching the pattern, so I was just grateful to be able to get it all cut out on the proper grain. 

Spot the piecing!

The sleeve fabric was mounted to a linen foundation and the linen puffs stitched to the panes before being attached to everything else. Pretty straight forward paned sleeve construction. 

Checking the placement of the puffs and mounting the fabric to the flat lining.

The panes with the white linen puffs tacked into place.
 Covering the stomacher for the fake chemise was unexpectedly tedious. I wanted it to stay put in small folds, and I thought I could just gather it, tack in a few places and call it a day. Wrong. Ultimately, I had to set every pleat by hand and stitch them all down in rows. But it does look lovely, doesn't it? 

This is not the sort of thing a sane person does.
 To actually put the fabric on the bodice I wrapped it around the edges and whip stitched it down. I left the side seams with extra seam allowance and stitched them by machine, in case I would ever want to let the gown out a little bit. To attach the lacing, I reinforced the lining with some of the canvas interlining and then stitched on a wide ribbon to make lacing channels (the Jen Thompson Method, modified with a suggestions from Angela of Starlight Masquerade). I went back afterwards and did a little bit of hand sewing to ensure that the portion with the lacing strips is attached all the way through the canvas layer. The lining itself is hand stitched down using a small prick stitch.


Pictured: not handing sewing.

I promise I added in the rest of the lining later.



 Then, I tried it on!


 
The sad part is that I've actually had photography lessons.

Now we're getting somewhere! I love how it looks in general. The biggest issues that came from this try on are that it's nearly impossible to get into this damn thing the way I have it right now and I've made my sleeve head too small. I'm working on some options to fix the first problem, and the second will be easily solved by making these tie-in sleeves, which were super common on Venetian gowns in this period anyway.

On the roller skates side of life, I was lucky enough to attend the Women's Flat Track Derby Association's International Championship Tournament. I saw all my favorite teams, met some of my idols and had an amazing time watching top-level derby with my teammates. I even got my picture take with Bonnie Thunders, the LeBron James of Roller Derby


Trust me when I tell you that this is a REALLY big deal.

Oh and my team also got third place in the costume contest (it happened on Halloween weekend) for our group "Orange is the New Black" costume. Naturally.*

Next up: Christmas break, aka, when I actually have time to sew!


*Okay, I admit that I had almost nothing to do with the planning of this group costume. It was all my teammates!