Tuesday, July 9, 2013

In progress: 1862 sheer dress

I'm really the WORST at updating here, I'm sorry! And I even have a few more followers than last time I checked...guess my lack of Doing Anything Interesting here hasn't deterred you. That's nice, I like you already.

Currently in the works is a sheer dress, based on a fashion plate from 1862. (The one on the left is mine, though my hat's based on the other two.)

In an attempt to stop buying fabric, I decided to use something from the Stash - white self-striped cotton organdy. (We won't talk about how I bought voile, then decided on this particular dress, attempted to buy morefor the billion yards of flounces, and despite having 200+ yards "in stock when I ordered it, the site was sold out! I was...displeased.) This has led to more of a giant marshmallow effect than I'm usually comfortable with...but you gotta step out of your comfort zone sometimes, right?

(And I did buy 40 yards of blue silk ribbon to trim it with, but we won't discuss that either.)

I've been diddling away my time; I've had ages to work on this dress, but now that the event is looming (on the 20th), I've belatedly realized that flounces take FOREVER and that I really need to get cracking!

I made the bodice first, which wasn't too bad after I dedicated a few hours to really fitting a mockup. Some pictures of the in-progress bodice...
The low-necked lining is plain white muslin
Clown collars are a good look
Tacked down, it looks much more acceptable! Sheer silk/cotton to fill in the neckline
And the back, with the organdy layer in the process of being attached. The organdy is gathered, while the lining is darted
And then there were the sleeves...which were surprisingly not too difficult - except that I had to hand sew everything that was made of the ivory silk/cotton. It's so lightweight and squeedgy (yes, I just made that up), my machine just chews it up. Less trouble to hand sew it!

Lining layer has short sleeves in muslin, attached to long sleeves of the silk/cotton. The organdy sleeves are just big rectangles gathered to fit.
I find organdy hilarious
And the bodice as it stands now, except that I added lace at the cuffs and the elbow gathered bit
The bodice still needs all the frou-frou at the neckline, but I'm still not 100% on the exact layout of organdy/ribbon/lace, so I decided not to continue wasting time, and just move on to the skirt.

The skirt is a skirt - if a terrifyingly large one - so, you know, not much discussion of that. I spent hours and hours today working on Just One Flounce, and it's not even a particularly nice flounce.
Just...a really long one. That's my twelve-yard flounce all sewn together, before being gathered to the skirt
So....much...flounce. That's the half-attached skirt facing hanging down, if you were wondering. I'm sure you weren't
I should be okay if I can get a flounce a day done on my days off - that's an exciting prospect.

OH and I almost forgot The Hat! It's a Stupid Hat...that's a dodgy little bow. I mean really.
I usually like to pile more junk on my hats than that, but with such a big fluffy dress I think a plain hat is needed to balance it out!

Hat's a thrift store find, and the plaid silk and the lace are from the Stash. I didn't really enjoy hemming that silk, natch, but it's really fray-happy dupioni (from the scrap bin) so I had to.


  1. Your dress is coming along nicely. Can't wait to see it finished. :)

  2. I'm a new follower! I've been attempting to start and finish a new 1860 sheer dress also, so I like seeing how you are making yours! I love the sleeves!

    1. Hiiiii! *waves madly* I like when new people comment, it reassures me that some people do read my blog! *grin*

      And thank you! Can't wait to see how yours comes out...I think 1860s sheers are a lot of fun, and I've always wanted one. Flimsy excuse to make one? Don't mind if I do!

  3. Cute! I can't wait to see it done. I've got a mid-19th century event on the 20th, too, and I also need to complete my dress! It's similar in concept, except that it's a printed cotton rather than a sheer. I'm going to try and make a similarly shaped hat as well, to keep the sun off. Happy sewing!


    1. Thanks! And hey, what's the fun if there's no last-minute sewing for an event, right? :) Looking forward to seeing your dress, too!