Sunday, 22 March 2015

The "Sortie de bal" Mantle, and How I Figured It Out and Moved On... ;)

The "Sortie de bal", from La Mode Illustree, December 8th, 1889
*This garment is also featured in the Dover Press book 
First, a big thanks to both Frances Grimble and Heather McNaughton, who both kindly showed me the error of my silly ways with this one. Apparently, one of the pattern pieces shown in the diagram under the Sortie de Bal heading was for a different garment in the pattern sheet and had nothing to do with the Sortie at all. Aw, the good old days of using ever inch of paper every way you could! Once I discounted that piece, everything made sense finally =)



So, now that the confusion is out of the way...
Construction
Size: Unaltered from original. Will probably come out to a 34-36" chest
Outer fabric: Polyester brocade, deep red. Brown, pink, cream roses and vines. Heavy.
Lining: Cream velvet, 100% cotton, upholstery weight. 
Trim: Faux fur, brown, speckled with grey and tan. 

Since both the outer fabric and lining that I chose are quite heavy, no interfacing was needed on any parts. Here are the patterns and the pieces laid out, already flat lining in the cream velvet.
Pattern pieces for under-sleeve and upper-sleeve, no seam allowances.

Under-sleeves.
Upper-sleeves. The front-top of the sleeve, as you can see, molds to the neckline, shoulder, and front. It's a strange design, but well worth it as you'll see later. 
Pieces for front, side, back, and collar. No seam allowances.
If you'll note the lines drawn over the breast on the front piece, those indicate where the under-sleeve will be positioned later. The under-sleeve will actually be top stitched over the bust on the front piece. 

Front pieces, brocade flatlined with velvet.

Backs, sides, and collar. Brocade flatlined in velvet. 

Because of the way in which this one is put together, it's easier to work on each side of the garment separately (center backs no attached), and then connect both halves together at the center back at the right time. 

I attached the front, side, and back pieces, minus the shoulder seam (left open for the sleeve insertion later), then set them aside to work on the sleeves. 


As you can see on the front, or leading edge, I chose to bind the edges with matching fabric. One could do a simply sack lining at this step, which is much less work. I chose binding because of the heavy weight fabrics I'm using. Doing a sack lining with heavy velvet would not have been feasible and would definitely not look well tailored, lol.

I am going to use fur trim, but I've decided to apply the fur trim later as a whip-stitched overlay trim rather than sewing it into the seams. You will see all of that later.


Putting the sleeve in turned out to be much easier than I feared. After top-stitching the under-sleeve portion to the front, I stitched the sleeve in along the under portion of the armhole and all the way up until I reached about 5/8" from the top of the shoulder. I had to leave that much so that I could stitch the shoulder seam, which is the very next step.

I neglected to take pics showing how the over-sleeve is brought over and attached to the front, but it's pretty intuitive since the front-top of the over-sleeve is shaped precisely like the neckline and shoulder. Just fold the sleeve in hold, bringing the over-sleeve forward to match up on the front, the stay stitch the neckline and shoulder, as well as down to the little slit "pit" on the top of the sleeve.

*Oops note: When I did the above step, I realized I had not yet finished the leading edge of the front piece, so when I laid the over-sleeve, I had to be sure to position it inside the seam allowance of the front, so I would have room to finish the leading edge later.


Above and below are closeups of the armhole as I was about to pleat in the excess at the top. Now, it's difficult for me to describe exactly what's going on here. The over-sleeve does not have a seam on the front, meaning that unlike normal sleeves in normal armholes, this thing is not attached all the way around. It's attached until you get to just over the shoulder at the front, then it flows out seamlessly to the over-sleeve attached the neckline and shoulder seams. This is how the garment will have that half-coat, half-cape thing going on. I'm quite certain that when you see pics of the finished front, it will all make sense =)



Above is a closeup of the inside of the armhole after I have done the pleating.
A note of caution: Be careful with the thickness of the fabrics you choose, because at this point here on the shoulder, you are sewing through the sleeve, shoulder, and the overlay of the over-sleeve, PLUS the linings for all...meaning that you will be stitching through SIX LAYERS of fabric. It was at this point that I began to regret my use of velvet, but I pushed through....

(To be continued...)

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