I have a million things going at the moment, and two major projects on the table, with all their various bits and bobs and parts and bodices and trims and underpinnings – IT’S MADNESS!
…but I AM making progress, which is what matters…right?
Looking at the calendar, it’s Costume Triage right now. I have four Victorian Christmas Events coming up back-to-back, so I’m in a rush to get my new purple outfits done in time.
I’ve been hard at work on the day bodice. Here are my original reference points (you can see more here):
|photo from eBay, but listing no longer available. I liked the trim and sleeves on this dress.|
|My sketches – the one on the left is what I went with.|
|Truly Victorian TV 443 – 1861 day bodice. This is the pattern I’m using, but with some alterations, which I’ll talk about below.|
I did the mock up, altered the pattern, and set to work. My fabric is a super thin silk taffet-ioni…that’s what I’m going to call it, because it’s not quite taffeta and it’s not quite dupioni. It needed backing, so I mounted it to a bottomweight mystery fabric I’ve had good results with on a prior project.
Then it was fit – buttonholes – fit – alter – fit…you know the drill. I’ve ended up with a very tight bodice on the dressform, but the bodacious curves of the corset are causing pulling across the chest, which I can’t really fix. Solution is to make a new corset that doesn’t require bust pads to fill out the cups … but that’s another blog post, another day.
I had two main trouble spots.
The first was the back. I deviated from the pattern, changing the three points in back to a smooth-fitting, squared-off tail. This required an 18th century trick of putting tiny godets at the top of where the tail starts to flair out. I also needed to tighten up the lower back through the side back seams, to get that nice smooth fit, and to bring the tail in to where it wasn’t buckling.
|The back before re-working it – pulling in the excess on the side-back seams, and bringing in the seams on the tail, to get it to fit tightly and lay smoothly over the voluminous skirts.|
|The back after fitting – nice, tight fit at lower back, and a trim tail laying smoothly.|
My second trouble area was with the sleeves. I found them to be *huge.* Baggy sleeves were the style at this time, but these were just way too big, especially in the sleeve head, which would have required gathering even under the arm. That’s a no-no, in my book, so I started cutting the sleeves down starting with the sleeve head, which I took about 6 inches out of. I followed that by slimming the sleeve down, again by about 6 inches. I’m really happy with the result – they’re still 1860s baggy, but are proportioned to my frame much better.
That’s where I am today – trim’s been put on (imperfectly, of course). I’m awaiting jet buttons in the mail, and I need to finish the hems and add the little white collar, but otherwise this bodice is very near done.
Then it’s on to the ballgown bodice and the skirt!