Sunday, April 17, 2011

Renovating My Sheer 1795 Morning Dress: Huzzah, Hooray! Sleeves! Good Fit! It's a Great Day!

The fit from the side. I think I've achieved the 1795 look.
Now to draw in the sleeves with ribbons.
So excited, I can't stand it. The sleeves are done, the bodice tried, and it works and it fits, and all the wide-shouldered, boxy look is gone, and I am thrilled.

As always, click the images to see larger versions.

To give the sleeves the carefully gathered look, I set them with stroked gathers. That meant taking two rows of gathers about 1/4" apart, matching the stitch spacing on each row, and each stitch approximately 1/8" long. I left only a small portion under the arm ungathered. The gathering was taken in quarters, so as to control the gathering around the sleeve better.

Then the armscye itself was marked in quarters, and the sleeves were set in the armscye and sewn with backstitches, just inside the second row of gathering. Each gather was stroked into place and individually backstitched into position. It's a lot of stitches but it ensures that the gathers are nicely spaced, and, along with the gathering thread left in just outside the seam, helps to hold the gathering in place when the bodice is worn.

The work is best done in strong, clear light. I sat outside on the deck steps, listening to the birds.

Here is one of the sleeves being set. I stitch from the voile side so as to set each gather as I stitch.
Stroked gathers are slow to do. The gathering itself is about a half hour each sleeve, and setting them in is an hour and a half each sleeve, so that was four hours of work. Oh, but so worth it! If you want to do stroked gathers and haven't a tutorial source, you might try the one I wrote when I made a mid-century petticoat.

Besides, the work is therapy. Some people find calm painting, others reading. I find it by doing close, repetitive detail work. My mind focuses on the task, other thoughts, usually gentle ones, float in and out, breathing slows, and I am at peace. No one in the family understands it, but perhaps you do.

Very best to all, and I leave you with these happy Turkish tulips, closing in the lengthening shadows.


Miss Tarleton said...

This looks so gorgeous! Yes, sewing is definitely one of the most relaxing things to do. I can't wait to see it with the ribbons added to the sleeves! :)

Jenni said...

Oh Natalie! Hooray! They are perfect, and I can't wait to see what they look like gathered with a ribbon.

Can I ask how you finished off your seams after setting in the sleeve? I'm getting ready to put my sleeve in, but I'm terrified that it will look bad, since the fabric is so thin, and any seam is noticable.

Thanks for inspiring me!

MrsC said...

Oh Natalie, that bodice is purrfect. Love the sleeves too.

MrsC said...

PS, how long are the finished sleeves to be? And how do they finish at the bottom? I just went to peek at the inspiration and of course it only shows the top of the sleeve. And how are you going to do the ribbon trim on it?
I know, I know, nag nag nag, but it's so exciting!!! :):):)

ZipZip said...

Golly, thank you everybody! I was so excited my face turned pink, and I went off to a book club meeting floating in the air. It helped that I had the evening off tonight, a welcome little min-vacation.

Jenni, you asked how I finished the sleeve seam. Actually, since I used the full width of the sleeve, selvedge to selvedge, I simply combination-stitched the sleeve seam with a 1/8" allowance. Otherwise, no finishing is done, since I didn't want much of a white line inside to show where the seam is. It's a period solution, although I bet they had lots of other ways of doing such a seam. You might do a minute flat-fell seam with the 1/8 inch allowance, for instance.

Mrs. C, as for the sleeve length, I made them extra long, but not below wrist length, so that I could play around with the fullness. I will tie the sleeves with silk satin ribbon in two places.

Am planning the sleeve to end below the elbow, a band at the wrist that's attached only part way around and is buttoned with a dorset button, and then a frill.

The sleeve end itself will be rolled and whipped to be as narrow and delicate as possible.

My model is this GOF plate ( Gallery of Fashion plate with the girl in the demi-gypsy hat. These sleeves were still quite popular and would remain so on and off.

Welcome, Miss Tarleton!

Very best to you all,


MrsC said...

Aha, perfect sleeve. SO exciting!!! I want to jump up and down and clap my hands for you! Isn't sewing and solving sewing problems very, very satisfying!

Kleidung um 1800 said...

Success!!! Now that the sleeves are set in, it is evident that each piece and detail helps to achieve that perfect look - the dress resembles the one in the miniature more and more - and it's already utterly beautiful!

Go, Natalie!


ZipZip said...

Dear Mrs. C. and Sabine,

I am giggling at the idea of jumping up and down. If I were to so in these sleeves I might fly away, they're so big.

Glad you think the dress is resembling the reference image. That's good to know.

Today, cuffs.

Very best to all,