Thursday, October 11, 2012

Steampunk Black Dress: Overskirt Sneak Peek

Today I took a few minutes to loosen up the shoulder muscles after hunching over a computer all day an overskirt toile.

Take number one: a bit blah.

Is anything more relaxing than sculpture that can be undone and moved around with the move of a pin? It's like working with clay -- so malleable. Good for the shoulders, good for the soul.

Here's take number two, a few hours later. In the lamplight it's a bit hard to see the effect: can you squint it out? I've curved up the front piece where it joins the side piece, taking an upward-facing pleat in the front piece.

Then I angled all the side piece pleats at the waist upwards and backwards. Mmm, I like that. Angling the waist pleats curves the two upper pleats between the front and side pieces into two swags that emphasize the pannier pouf and carry both the front and the side a bit to the back.

Finally I further emphasized the curving edge of the front piece: I will have to cut it to shape.

Take number 2: there we go!

Doesn't look like the overskirt you expected, does it? Well, I became bored with the apron overskirt look, and opted for a split pannier design instead. It was very popular in 1869-1870, and there are several Peterson's Magazine patterns for this sort of overskirt.

I've chosen a favorite, the Panier Over-Skirt from the January 1869 issue. You can get the plate, the pattern and the full directions from Google Books' copy of the magazine. (See the Full-Text Fashion Magazines page on this blog for a link.) La Couturiere Parisienne has it too, although only partial directions: the directions for handling the second figure are not included. By the way, the pattern is very, very clever in its use of pleating to create side pannier poufing. My changes just emphasize the poufiness.

We're going for overskirt worn bt the second figure, on the right. She's wearing a vee-neck bodice by the way; the overall X pattern created by the bodice and overskirt trim is handsome and slimming.

Changes to the pattern:
  • making the back piece go the full breadth of my muslin;
  • cutting all the pieces three inches longer;
  • rounding off the front piece's bottom center edge and pleating it where it meets the bottom front of the side piece;
  • folding the two lowest upward-facing pleats between the front and side pieces much deeper;
  • pleating the side pieces, and angling them, to fit my waist better and to add some extra fluff;
  • simulating interior cords by pinning up the back into two poufs, one below the other.

The result is such fun. It's got the 18th century pannier effect going at the sides, and some nice pouf at the back. Once the real fabric is used, and lined, the effect will be even nicer. Okay, crossing fingers that it will!

Ciao for now...


Time Traveling in Costume said...

As one costumer to another, I love your blog. You have an award waiting for you on mine.

ZipZip said...

Dear Val,

Thank, you, thank you, thank you! Do you know, it was after looking at your summer 1870s ensemble for oh, the umpteenth time, that I told myself, delay no longer! She is having such fun in that outfit that I just have to have one, too!

Very best,