Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Two Trimmed Edwardian "Beatrix" Skirts: Dress Diary, Part 1

I am making two Beatrix skirts (a Sense and Sensibility pattern) as gifts for friends for a picnic at the end of May. While the original pattern is for an untrimmed skirt, each of these will be trimmed in a fashion appropriate to the era. I am planning to set insertion lace in two rows into Rebecca's skirt around the hem, and Polly's skirt will receive a circular flounce headed by a row of ruching. Both ladies loved the idea of trained skirts, too, so both will have their heart's desire.

Having promised to document the process for our tea society, herewith the first report!

Rebecca's Willow Green Trained Skirt with Lace Insertion

On a sunny spring morning, with the crabapple blooming outside the window, I cut out the skirt pieces.

Ladybug helped. This was her first week with us, and she delighted me with her interest in sewing. Zip Zip used to love to help me, and I missed her company.

Now each panel is sewn together. I used 3/8" French seams. French seams are a delight when you have fabric of light enough weight to use them, because a French seam encloses the fabric edges neatly and sturdily, so there will be no loose threads, unraveling, and no further seam finishing!

Fully pieced together, the last seam that draws the skirt up from a two-dimensional bunch of panels into a three-dimensional garment, is ready to be sewn. In the background you can see my circa 1911 Willcox and Gibbs chainstitch treadle sewing machine. It makes sewing linen so straightforward, and it's so quiet that I can sew in the evening while the twins sleep in rooms nearby. Willcox and Gibbs advertised their machines as being silent stitchers, and oh, what a blessing, when you have light-sleeping children!

In fact, here is a little video of the machine at work:


Rebecca said...

OOH!!! I am so excited. Thank you bunches, dear sweet friend, for sewing this. I love the color. It's perfect. David and I are very impressed with your sewing machine. I had no idea it would be that quiet.


Rebecca said...

CONGRATULATIONS on getting Ladybug! What a sweetie... Was she a rescue? I can't imagine you without a feline to keep you comany in your sewing room so it's delightful that have a new sweet addition.

ZipZipInkspot said...

Dear Rebecca,

Thank you! I am enjoying making this skirt. Odd moments to make it in, what with the boys, but relaxing and mind-freeing, since I have used the pattern before.

Ladybug? Yes, I rescued her from the Paris Animal Welfare Society's shelter. She was there a year, poor little kitty, as she's so compliant and quiet that she didn't, as they explained, "put on a show" when people came to look at the cats.

She is three years old, and loves attention, loves to be held upside down, like a baby, and is wonderful with the boys. She is very much of a people cat, and we feel very fortunate to have found her. Especially as she likes to help me sew!



Eva said...

Wow. Your machine _is_ really quiet. :D

Congrats on your adorable new kitty!