Work has been progressing on my Pink Italian Ren dress, despite a lack of posts from this lazy blogger.
The patterning/toileing was much less painful than I had feared it would be. I started out with the toile for the Pink Venetian I started/abandoned last year, which was in turn based off of my Effigy Stays
. After trying it on there was a lot to fix. *sigh*
So I pulled out my old Ren Garb dress
and after trying that on (it fits again - yay!) I decided it was a much better starting point for the Pink. So I pulled out the master pattern, cut a new toile and tried it on. Yeah, trying to fit yourself with fastenings on the side seams and in an era that you aren't too familiar with is a challenge, let me tell you! Thanks to some patience and a bit of help from Mom I managed it in less than three toiles though. *whoo hoo* The first toile I concentrated on overall fit and the neckline. I also raised the waistline a bit, the Ren Garb being a little long-waisted for the Pink.
The second toile I added the point in front (using the pattern in Arnold as my guide).
Once I was happy with that I took off the toile, sewed up the side seams (too hard to pin on one's self!) and cut a faux seam in the front for ease of fitting. After double-checking the fit, armholes, neckline and length I took it off once again.
I then used the toile to determine where the new side/back seams should be. I did this flat on my cutting board, using both my trim and my inspiration images as reference. That part was really fun! After that I took apart the toile and traced out a master pattern.
Next up was the sleeves. Interestingly, I found a lot of info out there on late Florentine dresses but not a lot on the sleeves that go with them! It seems to be the part everyone skips in their dress diaries for some reason. Luckily Mom made a period correct "pilgrim" outfit eons ago with a tie-one sleeve that looked similar in shape to what I wanted. So I raided the pattern bin and found the obscure pattern she had used. Ahh those were the days!
Using her sleeve as my first toile, I noted the changes that needed to be made, mostly making it significantly smaller/less full and removing the cuff. So I sliced and diced her pattern until it matched my measurements.
After trying it on I found I wanted a little more shape to the cap (so less of my shift would show) and less length than I orginially thought I would. After a few toiles I tweaked and wrangled the sleeve into submission - yay! A master pattern traced and it was time to cut out the bodice and sleeve.
Once I started cutting my mystery fabric it became quite clear that it was not going to play nicely. Fraying like heck (no slashing on those sleeves!) and wiggling almost as bad as chiffon, I decided to mount it to a cotton lining before I lost my sanity. Temporary Basting Spray to the rescue!
Since my fabric's fiber content is a mystery and so I probably can't wear it to hot weather events anyway I decided to experiment with multiple interlinings to see how it would look. I saw them mentioned in a couple of dress diaries and I was curious if it would really make that much difference in creating a smooth finished look. So to a cotton twill interlining I added a wool felt interlining. The wool is a blanket I found at a yard sale for $2 so if I hate it, no harm no foul. More temporary basting spray to the rescue!
I am quite sure there is a much easier and less convoluted way of putting together a bodice like this (there has to be!) but here is how I did it. Taking the fashion fabric and lining, I sewed along the side seams (not pictured, figured that out later!), arm hole and neckline of the front and back, leaving the bottom and shoulders open. After clipping, grading, pressing, turning right side out and pressing again I had a shell I then inserted the basted interlining into. The real trick to this was trimming away the seam allowances + a scant 1/8" from the interlining so it all fit nicely. The hemostats came in very handy for pulling the shoulder straps through. :>
Once that was done sprayed the layers together at the bottom with a little more basting spray and zig-zagged the bottom of the bodice (Fraying! Really I should have put a larger seam allowance on the bottom, oh well.). I then sewed up the shoulders, the fashion fabric only. I'll finish the lining by hand, tucking in all the seams allowances for a finished look. Normally I'm not too fussed with the insides of my garments being finished but this time I was in the mood. Anyway - finially the fun could begin, trim!
I started with the wide trim that runs front to back on top of the shoulder strap. I then cut two strips of trim from the front, trimming away the "triangle" side so the center front was a double row of "circles". I'm all about symmetry on this frock! I then added the second layer of narrow trim, to soften the edges of the wide trim and add more visual interest. Next came the wide + edging trim along the neckline and it was done (well except for trimming down the center front trim but I was too tired).
And the pinned on trim on the dress form. Can anyone say bling? Hee.
I was super pleased with the bodice but it came at a price. I didn't have enough trim for the sleeves. So bummed! But disaster has been averted as I managed to find another 3yds of my trim on Esty this morning!! *happy butt wiggle* I bought that trim a little over 2 years ago randomly on Ebay (for a project that never happened), so finding more of it was a miracle. You can imagine the squeeing that took place when I found it. *sigh*
Three yards, with what I have leftover from the bodice, should give me enough to bling out the sleeves quite nicely. No trim on the skirt but at this point I'm fine with that. It was the sleeves I was bummed about changing.
Gee I hope that seller ships fast - I want to play!