Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Steampunk Black Dress: Finished Petticoat!

Yes, it has a wee train!
Good morning! After a good bit of sneezing and sniffing, getting used to the twins' Kindergarten routine, helping with housepainting, and handling the rest of the daily round, I am back to record the actual completion of a garment. Am I proud! It's been ages since anything has actually been finished, and it feels nice. Hobbies always take a back seat to life's responsibilities and the pleasures of family and friends, but they are important to me nonetheless. They're an expression of the purely personal interest, a portion of the identity set apart from responsibility, duty, societal expectation and the common culture. I need my hobby like a plant needs that extra bit of rich soil to really bloom its clearest and brightest.

There. In defense of hobbies. So expendable, but so integral to a well-rounded, full life.

As you may remember, the petticoat bottom is covered with a flounce, so we have two layers of fabric there for extra foot-level fluff. The flounce comes from a very damaged petticoat. Poor thing, it was worn and repaired into practically rags and didn't even make a good piece to show people as a learning tool.

One of the repairs still sits in the new petticoat, a large patch of a rip that I suppose had turned into a vee-shaped hole.

Look at the picture above. Do you see the vee-shaped hole with the patch behind it? The seamstress put a running stitch around it, and then also made another running stitch around the entire patch. She used coarse thread and a very large stitch size. I've seen all qualities of repairs on garments: the roughness of this one is pretty common.

The bottom of the flounce has been stepped on so that some of the dagged whitework edge is torn or missing, and part of the applied insertion is torn or missing. I can do those repairs at some other point. For this steampunk event, I want the slightly tatty effect.

The top of the flounce is turned under and top-stitched on. The 1870s flounced petticoats I've seen usually seem to just stitch the flounce right side to right side, and then fold over the top so that the flounce hangs down. Feeling that the old fabric should be stitched through twice, I top-stitched it. The join will be covered by whitework trim when I find the right type. Could take awhile, so for this project, we're fine as as.

Ooh, What an Extravagant Silhouette, Bounce, Bounce

Note the damage on the flounce.

That's what I love about the early 1870s. It's curvy! Looking from the front, the base silhouette is tapered, a A-line. From the side? Whee! Spirited puff! The underskirt will have a similar shape. It's the overskirt that creates the final fluffy, pouf: side paniers and a back puff.

The critical eye might find that the uper front of the skirt is a little lax, a little undulating. That's the fault of the bustle. Looks like I need to tighten up the front portion so that it hangs tightly.

Next up? The bodice. With help from sweet and talented Jenni of Living with Jane, the bodice toile has been fitted.  I'll report on that, of course, because you'll see just how much the front bodice pieces can be shaped to get a smooth, gap-free result.

In the meantime, I leave you with late-summer boys, watching the goldfish in the arboretum's fishpond. Oh summer, by now you've stepped out the door. Goodbye, goodbye!



Gabriela Salvador said...

it turned out beautiful! it's great that you took an antique garment that was in shambles and breathed new life into it (:

Lauren R said...

Wow, that is so gorgeous! and just the petticoat!! /admire /admire /admire

ZipZip said...

Thank you! It was actually fun to do. I've gotten so, erm, ultra-picky in sewing that I'd kind of lost the joy in it. It was nice to just go and sew and have a good time.

Very best,


Isis said...

I love it!