Thursday, December 20, 2012

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V338: Green Acres Bustle Gown Skirt Progress

It's slow going over here in Green Acres, partially due to laziness, and partially due to the omg-howmuchyardage!?-for-trims that comes along with many bustle projects.

My original plan for the trimmeries on my underskirt is as follows:

Figuring out how much yardage I needed for each type of trim
I've done away with the flutes nearest the hem because they ended up not showing under the deep pleats.  The ruffle in the middle will become a ruched band instead of a free ruffle.  Otherwise, it's all-systems go.  I cut out all the strips of self fabric needed, and have been stitching them together, ironing in hems, and beginning the tedious task of pleating, fluting, and ruching.

Before I could apply these trims, though, I had to mostly finish the skirt, and mark it for trim placement.  I decided to do this mostly flat (although my waistband has been attached - you could do it completely flat, though, and do the darts and gathers last), measuring up from the bound hem, and marking each placement line in chalk.

Lines marked in chalk
I discovered an issue with the train on the skirt, once the whole thing was together - the back did not want to train nicely.  The back panel on the pattern is a straight rectangle, with the waist tightly gathered into the waistband.  I thought I could train it by cutting it longer, with the side gores adjusted to meet the additional length at back, but the whole thing needed more of an arced shape to work, so I applied a godet that will be covered in trim.  The godet could have been even larger for more spread.  Next time I will know to cut the shape of the hem on these narrow skirts in a more circular fashion.


Other deets - the whole skirt is lined in lightweight cotton muslin, with a foot of hair canvas at the hem for stability and weight.  It weighs more-than-a-little, but the paper-thin Dupioni needed some structure beneath it, particularly to keep it from stressing too much at the top and hanging funny from the weight of the trims below.

One last bit before I run off to pleat 102 inches of flounce - the flutes!  So...after my test piece, I went for the whole, huge, 190 inches of fluted trim.  I discovered that the practice does take, well, practice - there are many factors to consider, such as how wet the fabric is, and how hot the plate and iron are.  I initially used vinegar to set the pleats, but had better luck with spray starch.  The next time I will use quite a lot more starch - it didn't hurt the silk at all, thank goodness.  The biggest revelation, though, was the very last action - run a gathering stitch along the top edge of the flutes.  It transforms them from "meh" to "holy-wow-flutes!" and keeps them in place when you go to sew them onto your garment.  The gathering stitch is the key.

Fluted trim, with the gathering stitch run along the top edge.
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15 comments:

  1. This is making me very anxious to see what patterns Santa may be bringing :) I put several bustle period patterns on my wish list to go with a Victorian cape I got at the antique mall several weeks back. Do you have a fabric site you would recommend for something like a midnight blue taffeta? All my local store has is blue blue so I think I have to take my search online.

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    1. Hi Dixie - sure, try http://www.puresilks.us/ or http://www.renaissancefabrics.net/ . The former has a huuuuge selection of taffetas, and pretty good prices.

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  2. Wow! The fluted trim looks impressive. And the green is such a gorgeous color.

    -Adi

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  3. Are you going to tell us how to do the ruching? Thanks!

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    1. Sure thing - it's basically just gathering, but on multiple lines. I haven't decided how many lines to do yet.

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  4. FLUTING TECHNIQUE TUTORIAL!!!
    Please, with a cherry on top.

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  5. The fluted trim looks amazing! Cannot wait to see the finished gown.

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  6. Really, really great! Love the way the skirt drapes over your petticoats and under-accessories! And I am in awe -- fluting all that long strip really shows off your amazing patience (and fireproof fingers, I'm hoping!)

    As to the train -- we solved the same "rectangle won't swoop" problem with little godet inserts for our 1903 wedding gown skirt, and then to be sure it swung out properly, ran a band of fake horsehair between the layers. Would that be allowed on your project? I only suggest it because I found some stitched into the hem of a black silk 1890s skirt I purchased about 30 years ago, when I had to alter the length for another actor. I THINK it was original, given that I had to unpick thousands of tiny hand stitches holding it in place...
    Best of luck with this!
    Nancy N

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    1. The godets definitely make a big difference, as does the horsehair - in this case, I faced with about a foot's deep of hair canvas. It's not quite as stiff as real horsehair braid or horsehair canvas, but it really does the job, and I'm thinking I can leave off the balayeuse as well (that remains to be seen).

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  7. Oh my goodness! That fluted trim is going to be AMAZING!!!!

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  8. Ooo, I love your flutes! :D Do you do the gathering stitch before or after you iron in the flutes?

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  9. Months late, but I just found this and thought of you and this dress - http://www.metmuseum.org/collections/search-the-collections/80034359?img=3
    Clear evidence that a similar fix was used on a Worth skirt! Couple of decades later, but details schmetails.

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