Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Renovating the Wrap Front on My Sheer 1795 Morning Dress, Part 3

Almost there! That fold creeping from the
left neckline will be coaxed into position
closer to the neckline by tiny loose
tacking stitches.
 By George (again), the third round of changes to the dress bodice is completed. Are you wondering as much as I am when all this will end?

Round two had produced a decent effect, but I felt, well, too Greek, too round, and I had decided to abandon the idea of a poufy front for a smoother, slimmer, more tailored effect, as in my new design inspiration, the 1795 portrait miniature below.

So I took apart almost the entire bodice. Mrs. C. had suggested that I just slash and tuck, so that I could return to the original design should whim oblige me to, and I started to do that, but began to like the new results so much that...I took shears to the fabric. Now the changes to the neckline are permanent. How I hope I won't rue the day :}

You see the results in the picture up top. Of course, the bodice is on an unadorned dress form, so the fit isn't exact, but you should see the basic idea.

What I Did to Achieve the Look

Here are the alterations I made:

  • A small dart  in the modesty panel and the dress lining, angled in and down from the lower third of the armscye, to tighten the overall fit. I darted the lining fabric and the modesty panels separately so the dart would be smooth and without bulk.
  • Small downward-facing tucks in the fashion fabric along the armscye to guide small folds of fabric over the bust like my new reference portrait, above.
  • Narrowing the bodice lining neckline by an entire inch on each side, to widen the neckline.
  • Narrowing the bodice modesty panel by ditto near the top to match the lining.
  • Remounting the fashion fabric such that
    • except for the armscye-generated folds above, it is smooth until nearly the neckline.
    • using a combination of small pleats and a box pleat right at the neckline to create the neckline-centric folds of the reference portrait.
I am really pleased with the results. At last, at last!

Also toiled a new, loose sleeve in muslin last night, but it still might be a bit tight. Pictures later.

After that, I raise the waistline all around, hand-stitch everything back together, and we're off to the races.

Just Because...

...he's so sweet in the morning, nibbling and sipping while he warms his toes at the heating vent in the kitchen, little Christopher. Yes, that's the dreaded breakfast bar that I swore I'd never feed our boys. We alternate with old-fashioned oatmeal and cereal.


lahbluebonnet said...

I love these costuming posts with your little boys in them! It's fascinating watching your draping process and research. How adorable you little boy is in that picture! I'd sit there to warm up too! A boy after my own heart!

ZipZipInkspot said...

Dear Laurie,

Thank you so much! Both boys eat at that vent each morning, and we talk while I put away dishes and make breakfast. Sometimes we read there together, and grandmother has been known to, too. It's a very special time of day.

Glad you're enjoying the process!

Very best,

MrsC said...

This dress progress is fascinating! Can't wait to see it on you. When when when??? Also, having read your next post first, the tucker idea I think will give you the look you wanted in the first place, of a collarishness. Interestngly, when talking to th costume curator at the MoL the other day, she said that one of the thigns she loves about clothes is that no two dresses are ever the same - even if made from the same pattern and the same fabric. I think it is even more true for older clothes as they were built and rebuilt not made from patters, and making a dress from a photo or drawing is such a process of reverse engineering it is impossible to recreate it. So, every dress will always be a bit unique!
Anyway, on that deply philisophical note, keep up the great work (sewing and mothering to "les adorables") and sharing both with us! :)

ZipZip said...

Dear Mrs. C.,

I am working on it bit by bit, in between work and caring for the boys...

Oh dear, someone is whining. Need to see what's going on.

Very best,


ZipZip said...

Dear Mrs. C.,

...I'm back and boys are in one piece. Totally agree with what you said about all dresses being different. I love that aspect too.

Very best,


ZipZip said...

Dear Mrs. C.
It's next morning...whoo! Busy day yesterday. Just wanted to say that I loved the term "les Adorables". Made this fond mama giggle.

Now, off to another busy day. I did manage 15 minutes before 8 this morning to fix a portion of the neckline. We grab moments where we can :}

Very best,