I tried on my stays first thing this morning. I needed to take measurements with them on so I could work on the gown toile. I also took the measurements for the shift and a few pics in the stays. There will definitely be better ones to come! :>
After I finished making notes on all that I started work on the robe a l’Anglaise. I was originally going to just size up the Hunnisett pattern but that turned out to be confusing because of the sizing. I decided in the end to just drape a pattern myself, using Hunnisett as a guide. I also heavily referenced Costume in Detail, Janet Arnold and Revolution in Fashion as I worked. The gown on pages 56 & 57 of RIF is the outfit I’m most inspired by for this project, so I referenced that one a lot.
I stuffed Narcissa a bit, so she would have more of my curvy shape. I actually pulled that stuffing I’d tossed in the trash (from the false rump) and put it in a few plastic bags. I then placed the bags under the stays and laced it on tight. I can’t wait until I’m at a stable weight and can make a duct-tape dummy! :>
Oh yes, don't you *love* the fabric I used? *hee hee* Well there is a reason it was in the toile fabric bin. Using the stripes was helpful though. Beyond the fact that it helped me to better visualize my finished gown, the stripes helped me be aware of the fabric grain and what it was doing as I worked. I may try and use stripes more often for toiles actually... The draping of the back was pretty straight forward.
It was the front that gave me problems. No matter what I did I ended up with gaping where the bust and shoulder meet. I had the same problem with my Rohan gown, which I eventually solved with a bust dart. I wasn’t too happy with that "solution" though.
Hunnisett does address this problem in vol 2. She suggests swinging the front up, creating a dart at the neckline that will be cut out later. Essentially it’s using the stretch of the grain right there to smooth the fabric. I experimented with that and it did work, rather clever actually, but I didn’t like what it did to the stripes. Although I’ve seen examples of both vertical and diagonal stripes in front during this period, I really had my heart set on the vertical. Like the gown on page 56 (RIF).
In the end the only way I could figure to do it with vertical stripes was to cut a separate shoulder strap. That is the way the page 56 dress is constructed, along with several of the gowns in Costume in Detail. The seam there right in front it not my favorite, but it’s period and the vertical stripes were more important to me.
Once I puzzled that issue out, the rest was simple. I marked the pinned seam lines then took the pieces off Narcissa. I then trued the lines, added seam allowances and cut out the second half. The pieces are all ready to be sewn together for the first toile. Tomorrow I should really cut out the shift but I’m very tempted to work on the gown toile instead. I’m not sure I can resist the call of the stripes… :>