Thursday, April 14, 2011
Renovating the Wrap Front on My Sheer 1795 Morning Dress, Part 4
We have a bodice. I pinched myself to make sure, and since the pinch pinched, it's real. Here it is, put up sans chemise or stays on the dressform. I am quite happy with the collaresque draping, and feel that it pretty well reflects the reference portrait, a pretty miniature of an unknown woman, dated 1795. for details, see http://collections.vam.ac.uk/item/O82015/miniature-portrait-of-an-unknown-woman/.
In a slight variation from the reference dress, I am making a separate kerchief with a frill per this English example in the LACMA collection. It's 75 x 10 inches long; mine will likely be shorter but about the same width.
Here is a view of the back.
I made the back very high on purpose, to help with the columnar effect I wish to achieve. In 1795 those high waists really began to take off in high fashion.
If you look closely, you'll notice that the bodice bottom is fully finished at the edges, by turning each side inwards and combination-stitching them together in a traditional 18th century manner. Many dresses weren't finished at the waistline, but both the linen and the voile tend to fray, and I wanted a strong, neat edge to which to stitch the skirts. I will do that by folding the raw edge of the skirt down, gathering the the fabric, and then topstitching it to the bodice.
In addition, the inner, wrapped front bodice pieces are longer than the front bodice itself. I did this for coverage and strength, wanting the inner panels to help support the dress by taking the stress off the top layer so it can drape nicely and not pull out of shape. Those inner panels will be pinned very tightly and securely to my stays.
Next up, the sleeves. I will be stitching them quite close to the "collar", as in the reference portrait, in an effort to further visually narrow my shoulders.
Now that progress is made, the dress has become fun again, although I must say, I am glad that I only do a few garments annually. They take so much research and time! Being a hobbyist with no formal mantua-making training, what is easy for some only comes with great effort for me.