|Serious concern about fit;|
seriously silly picture.
When my arm isn't raised, the bodice is smooth across the front. There is the inevitable loose wrinkle at the underarm, courtesy the extra seam allowance I couldn't fold under enough for the second fitting as well, as the aging bust issue that padding will correct, but otherwise, to my eye it's nice.
I may raise the waistline a little bit, but not by much: left a last hook and eye undone in case shortening was needed. Mmm, what do you think? Allowing for a 1/2" hem allowance, is the bodice short enough for the slightly raised 1870 waistline?
Yes, that's a vee neckline. I like it!
Sewing -- and Basting -- the Seams
Below we have all the pieces laid out. I had numbered each piece when I made the toile, so I'd lay it out correctly. Too often have I played the dork card and gotten pieces mixed up, so the one minute it took to label them saved me potentially hours.
Following Heather McNaughton's and Harper's Bazar directions, the backs were sewn together first, then each side back was sewn to the back. Curved seam...always fun. It helps to pin and baste carefully. Then each side to each side back. What about the fronts? Read on...
Detail of pinning. The red threads? That's the basting holding lining, interlining and fashion fabric together. The penciled lines? The seam lines. I drew them so I'd be sure to get the seams right, having a premonition that if I didn't nothing good would follow.
All machine sewing is done on this circa 1911 Willcox and Gibbs treadle below. The dear girl is pretty beat up, her gold trim paint worn off, drawers mended, wood trim missing, even a piece of her top broken off, but as my friend Johnny says, she sews a dream more than 100 years later, so the consistent use she's had means she is a peculiarly good machine.
How do you like the environs? That's the roughed-in master bath she sits in. I haven't the faintest clue where my poor girl goes when it's finished out. There's scarcely room for her anywhere.
After sewing all of the seams except the side to side front, it was time to baste the front-side seams and the shoulder seams. That way if I had goofed the front closure, I could adjust the front-side seams by moving the front piece. Remember, Heather says I am to leave that side piece's seam allowance alone.
Oh, day of reckoning. In the two images below, the side seams are basted...oops, no picture of the shoulder basting, but really, that's overkill.
Then the fitting. On with the corset. Do up the hooks and eyes with shaky fingers. Uh-oh, is it too tight? Oh dear, oh.....phewwwwwww. We're okay.
Mirror, mirror, on the wall, is my pride in for a fall? Stern reminder to self: reign in any tendency towards hubris and retain proper humility after this lucky fit, or something horrible is likely to happen to the sleeves.
No, that's not a model pose. That's me thinking I needed to move to allow the camera
to see the entire bodice, not move the camera. Silly girl. Besides, what model would display
her double chin?
Yup, that's snug all right. It will stretch a bit.
The fit is good enough and the lining-interlining-fashion fabric combination sturdy enough that I shan't bone the bodice. I'll do the channels, of course, but no, no boning, not for now.
Next up? Sleeves and finishing the neckline and the waistline in rapid, sensible period fashion...but without cording! So sorry Harper's Bazar, but I shan't cord either neckline or waistline after all, just the armscyes.
Why? I have an 1869 silk dress in my collection. It was altered at least once during the nineteenth century, and appears to have been used as a costume later...that's where the hook and eye tape came from that you see in the second image below.
In the first photo of the outside of the dress, we see perfectly matching thread in giant running stitch. What does it hold?
Turns out, it tacks the net lace collar into place. The collar is sandwiched between the lining and the fashion fabric. You can't see it from the outside because the collar covers the stitches.
So how are the insides finished? Just about the same way as they often were since at least the 18th century: the fashion fabric raw edge was turned in, the lining was turned in, and the lining was hemmed to the turned in allowance of the fashion fabric. The stitches are tiny, but there aren't very many of them. No stitch shows on the outside of the dress.
Easy peasy. No facings, no bag lining, nothing. Just hem and go. Want to change a collar? Snip a few threads and put in a new one, and rehem.
Nota bene: more on that collar later. It's just a length of lace, whose ends have been trimmed and finished off...