Montag, 29. Februar 2016

Pleat the pleats!

Friends, I'm back!

I spend a lovely vacation in Norway in January and since I am back home my sewing room has been buzzing with energy!

Just in time for this month HSF Theme "Tucks and Pleats" I finished a ballgown bodice I am truly proud of...

You know I don't need a specific reason to sew something and it is not different with this new item. I don't have a ball to attend and I don't even dance.
I just love ballgowns! So I started to make a big one just because I wanted to.

As soon as I arrived back home after my vacation I ordered a ton of new sewing patterns and supplies and started without a real plan on the outcome of my new dress. All I knew was, that I wanted a hoop and a pointed basque on the bodice.

My bodice started out as Truly Victorian TV442, but I altered it a lot during the fitting process.

Three mock-ups were necessary to make me happy with the fit. To make fitting easier on myself I cut the centre back panel on fold and sewed in a zipper at the centre front for easy access.

I lowered the neckline and altered the sleeves, hem and bertha as well.

The flatlining is a rather soft cotton twill and as soon as I finished the first seam I decided not to line the bodice, but to finish the seam allowances nicely and leave it that way. This was actually quite commonly done in the 1860s.

binding the seam allowances
a first guess on the gown

Hooray! It looks like a real dress!
A ton of handstiched eyelets later I tried it on and got all excited about my new dress!
I started to sew the skirt parralel to the bodice and right after the first "real" fitting I thought that it would be nice to pipe the whole thing.
So I did...
piping the lower edge of the bodice
Then it was time for the bertha. I actually had a bunny called Bertha a few years back and although my rabbit has nothing to do with the bertha of my bodice I couldn't stop thinking about it...

The bertha for my ballgown bodice is sewn from self fabric bias strips on a cotton base to achieve the pleated look I like so much on period ballgown bodices. This technique is actually period, too and has been mentioned in the construction deails for a 1845 day dress in Janet Arnolds "Patterns of Fashion 1". Sure my dress is meant to be set in the 1860s, but I did it anyway.

Bertha in progress

finishing bertha

The other bertha

I put it on the dress form again and got REALLY excited! I mean look at those pleats! I am in love with them!!

pleated bertha front
pleated bertha back

Since I didn't want to split the bertha at the centre back seam, I made up the back panel in one piece and stitched it to the front on the right shoulder. The bertha is then pinned to the left shoulder afer lacing up the back.

The next hour was spent admiring my hard work...

After my drooling break I tried some trimming possibilities...


Bow at the centre front...
Bow with lace...

The finishing line in sight I basted the lace to the bertha and finished the last raw edges (on the sleeve lining) with bias strips.
And then I was all done with the bodice!!! Hooray!!

1860s ballgown bodice inside view

back point detail
lacing eyelets

The skirt is not 100% finished yet. I actually made it a tad too big and have to redo the waistband and face the hem. And probably trim it with pleats...

Anyway, this skirt holds my very first attempt on cartrige pleating ever!

To prepare the pleats I marked the lining with chalk.


And finally, for the first time in months:

The HSF challenge details!

A 1860s ballgown bodice

The Challenge: #2 Tucks and Pleats

Material: 3 metres of polyester taffeta, 1.5m cotton twill

Pattern: TV442 with many alterations

Year: 1860s
Notions: 6m piping cord, heavy duty zip ties and spiral steel for the boning of the bodice, 4m black lace, hooks and eyes
How historically accurate is it? Well... the pattern is ok, but the trimmings are not as elaborate, as they would have been in the 1860s. My fabric is not accurate at all! Let's say 60%.
Hours to complete: I am guessing on 40 hours
First worn: Not yet and I have no idea when I will get the chance to...
Total cost: 50€ for the fabrics. Everything else was in my stash and I am guessing on 100€ in total.

And now:

more pictures!!

The back bertha is getting pinned underneath the front part on the left shoulder. I must admit, that it is very difficult to do that all by myself when dressing...

Not really visible, but there is piping around the sleeves as well...

The bows are only pinned to the bertha. In the end I didn't like them as much as I thought. They are so big, don't you think?

The lacing will be black or blue eventually, but white was the only option I had in my stash...

I seriously can not get enough of those pleats!!!

And finally, since I can't really resist:
The beautiful northern lights I saw in Norway! That was the most beautiful thing I have ever seen in my entire life!!!

 See you soon!
fashion plate