While haunting one of the great fabric stores here in Jacksonville I stumbled upon this piece of what is supposed to be drapery fabric. It is 100% cotton with this printed vine design that works well for the 18th century, and the heavier weight is very nice for the overall structure of the dress.
As I had mentioned in the last post, I had earmarked these sheets to be used in my draping practice. The particular pattern left a lot to be desired, if I'm honest, but I wanted to get comfortable with fiddling with the fabric and where I needed to cut before I cut into something that was going to cost quite a bit more.
Once I was feeling a bit more confident I started cutting into the fabric to work on the en fourreau back... with my face almost permanently glued to this tutorial. As she says on her own tutorial, this part takes a bit of fiddling and reworking, but it was a great chance to practice with fit and manipulation.
My dress, naturally, looks a bit different from the tutorial - but I'm very happy with the final look. I'm also working on my patience and learning some restraint when it comes to using my sewing machine. In an effort to be more accurate, I sewed about 80% of the dress by hand, which I actually think looks rather nice running down the pleats.
And here is the front with my first stomacher. I kept wanting to do something a bit more adventurous with my first one, but I think as there will probably be one or two more, I'll save it for another day!
This is the finished navy linen robe I completed a while ago. I've worn this to work quite a few times and I have to say, even in Florida it's not totally unbearable. I don't really notice the stays until I'm taking them off and realize how icky my chemise has become ... too much information? Anyhow, wearing layers made of all-natural fibers is a great benefit, I think.
The bodice and skirt have quite a few wrinkles from work last week, but as I've worn the linen a bit, I've noticed the places I'll need to readjust the fit somewhat.
Here is the second robe, not quite finished. Actually... it was all finished, but apparently the settings on my dressform had changed somewhat and I am a bit fuller than it was leading me to believe. So I'm actually holding the front of the dress closed until I tweak that fitting. As I already had on my stays, we were moving forward with the photos.
It does just give me the opportunity to share the innards of the dress, however. To get an even better fit on the bodice, I made a front-lacing lining that actually came together nicely. I really hope to get the front completely finished as I can wear my new creation to work!
You can see the lining a bit more here... I am still too impatient to sew each lacing hole individually but I might get there one day. As I figure, very few will be seeing this much of the dress so I thought I could get away with it.
My trim pieces are a very lovely, lightweight brown linen that I pleated around the collar of the dress and made one bow with long tails to hopefully hide some of the places where I sewed the snaps. I think when I wear it 'out' I'll pin the tails just so.
While there is room for improvement, I feel like I learned so much making this gown that I can use in future gowns. Up next, a robe a la française, sacque back and all! I also need to start thinking about period hair styles. I'm all sorts of ready to powder and poof my hair into something fantastic!
Until next time...