A couple of local friends and costumers and I were impressed - and intrigued. Could the three of us make a dress in a day, too? In our own little amateur style, of course; none of us have any pretensions of being professional!
In short? Yes, we can!
Not in short? Well - mostly. About 85% of the gown and matching petticoat was finished during the nine hours we sewed this past Monday. One half of the petticoat needed to be sewn to the waist tie, and about twelve more inches of organza needed to be hemmed/pleated/attached. I finished this (and styled my wig) the next day.
So, yes, the gown itself was done in a day - it was my fault I wanted trim!
I must of course give credit where credit is due: first, thanks to Samantha of the Couture Courtesan for clearing up a few questions we had about 18thc dressmaking practices after watching CW's videos. She's worked in the Margaret Hunter shop so she knows what she's talking about! (And I've met her, and she's cool - and patient enough to answer my undoubtedly stupid questions!)
Then to my partners-in-crime, Robin of SewLoud and Alice - who, in the interests of full disclosure, did the vast majority of the work on this dress! I helpfully hand-rolled the organza trim. Very very sloooowly. Er, meticulously. You see, it was my dress, my fabric, I wanted the hem rolled on the trim, and didn't want to make anyone else suffer through having to do all that, so I sewed 2/3 of it. And then we discovered that Robin could do it in about half the time.
Duly noted. Any more rolled hems on joint-effort dresses, she's doing them!
I also sewed the skirt panels together and sewed the trim on the sleeves and neckline, so I wasn't completely useless...just mostly. Oh, and I was very good at being a dummy for fittings. Rotating when I was told to and such.
I've been doing 18thc for a couple of years and made a few dresses, what can I say.
curtain-along dress! The bodice and sleeves are lined in white linen. The trim is made from knife-pleated silk organza and red silk ribbon.
silk 1780s gown in the KCI's collection, though I decided against the center-front trim (more organza hemming? No thanks!). The dress was constructed using the techniques in Costume Close-Up, and sewn by hand, of course.
I don't think we got many in-progress photos - this was a bit of a practice run, so I think we'll try to document more thoroughly next time.
And here's a few more pictures from today (all photos courtesy J. Rizer)...
|Lovin' my American Duchess stockings, as always!|
|Hang on, I think I've lost something...|
|Yes. Yes I have. Thank you, wind.|
|And then my photographer and I went and got water ice, because why not? I'm particularly fond of mango.|
|The first fitting!|
|We checked the fit (not too bad!) and hacked a bit off the shoulder straps at the back. Unevenly, because scoliosis.|
|Next fitting! Skirt is attached, and Robin's fitting the sleeve head.|
|Sleeves are pinned in, now Robin's marking the hem.|
|Sewing trim. Forever.|
|Alice sewing...something. I forget what. The petticoat?|
|All the necessities for a day of hand sewing - pins, scissors, thread balls, and a tea set!|