Monday, April 25, 2011

Renovating My Sheer 1795 Morning Dress: Adding the Skirt, Part 2

Was sure that I'd be done seaming the skirt to the bodice today, but no. It's going slowly. I am using slanting stitches, mentioned in Costume Close Up and also visible in this extant cranberry dress at Vintage Textile that I have written about before, of attaching the skirt by turning down the top raw edge of the skirt and attaching it to the bodice bottom with slanting stitches.

Slanting stitches connect skirt to bodice.
Because I can make a slanting stitch in the valleys between the skirt gathers, I can control the gathers better, forcing them in place and holding them in position. I also sew through two layers of voile, both skirt and skirt seam allowance, for strength.

So here are things ready to go, at the western windows for good light.

Here I've arranged the gathers carefully at the side back of the skirt, spacing them and stroking them where necessary, and having folded down the raw edge to the depth of the first of two rows of gathers. Then I have pinned them in place. You can see to the left, at the center back, that the gathers haven't been arranged yet.

Here I am using a slanting stitch to catch the bodice and the skirt together in a valley between two gathers. The thread has just come up from the back of the bodice to the front, just above the skirt seamline. I am now pushing the needle, some 1/16" to 1/8" below the seam fold, down through the skirt, the skirt seam allowance, and through the bodice. I will then angle the needle (behind the bodice) to the right and come back up again about 1/8" away, just above the skirt fold. Whereupon I repeat. Every few stitches I catch the thread in the needle to make a little knot, for extra strength.
Note that I am not hanging the skirt from the bodice, so that the stitches are almost just overcast stitches. I would if the voile were stronger, but it's not, so the skirt top overlaps the bottom of the bodice by just over 1/8". That means I can take good strong nips out of all of the fabric with the needle.

Whether this stitch is kosher or not, am not sure, but it looks like what you see on extant garments, both on front and back, and in a pinch can be done right on the person standing in front of you -- as was done by 18th century mantua makers, so...well, it's strong, it works, and it looks fairly right, so there we are. If I decide to hang the skirt from the bodice later, so be!

This process for pleats would be fast and tidy, and was in the two pleated robes I made in 2010. For a gathered skirt, oh my. It would be one thing if the garment were evenly gathered all around, but noooooo. This dress is scantly gathered up front, medium gathered at sides to create a "waist" illusion, and maximally gathered across the center back. Arranging the gathers evenly has been a bear.

I've gotten about a third of the skirt done...

A Morning with Autumn and Jenni

This morning Miss Autumn came to play with the tots, and I set a hemline for Jenni's dress. We had lunch outdoors in a Northumberland-Kentucky gale, as clotted clouds scuttled across the sky, finally giving us some sort of sun, the first in several days.

As always, it was a very good morning, a few hours of friendship and common interest among tots and parents to treasure. Now, Noah may have been given a time out, and all three might have been tired from a very busy Easter Day, and my hemline might have been crooked, but at the end, all three hugged tots each other at once, squashing each other happily, and talking about the next visit, and both Jenni and I had had a very good chat and look at the Napoleon book.

I leave you this evening with the tots all listening to the gentle tick-tock of the old school clock in the upstairs hallway. I started it for a moment so they could watch the pendulum swing -- we'd made pendulums of beads and string moments before. Must get that clock tuned up. I miss the sound that's among my earlier memories.


Kleidung um 1800 said...

This is a very interesting point to ponder. I often wonder what was common in attaching a skirt to a bodice during that era (and a few years later).
There's a hint on attaching it the way you do in "Costume in detail" (page 94, it's a 1806-09 dress), where the back gathers then stand out to the inside, but I have also seen garments, which seem to be attached left side to left side with a backstitch (like the Pelisse of the 2nd decade at "Vintage Textiles"). Unfortunately we do only rarely get a look to the inside of dresses via books or the internet.
Hopefully someone who has examined extant clothes will reveal to us, which way is right or if both ways where common.


ZipZip said...

Dear Sabine,

I'd forgotten about the Costume in Detail example. Good point. Have to go look again :}

Sure wish I had a relationship with the dealer at Vintage Textile, so that we could get some more information. She is very knowledgeable and her listings are enjoyable reading. Hmm, that gives me an idea. An idea forms :}

If you need information on 1827 and thereabouts, I have a copy of The Lady's Stratagem and would be glad to share any seam information with you. There's quite a bit in there.

As far as 1850s-60s and 70s, I have a dress from the first era and a bodice from the second, in poor enough condition to see all the sewing details. Happy to share tons of photos there too.

Very best,