Sunday, 27 December 2015

1880s Sheer Print Summer Dress

Patterns: TV #201 Underskirt for the skirt lining. TV #400 Day Bodice for the bodice, minus sleeves.
Fabric: A sheer printed chiffon or georgette (I can't decide which description is more appropriate). The fabric is very light and flowing, dull finish, with a noticeable directional grain. It does NOT have that moire wiggle so common in polyester sheers. I purchased it with the dreaded "content unknown" label of clearance items. I believe it to be a cotton/poly blend.
**The sheer print is over solid ivory lining for the bodice and skirt.
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Chest: 36"
Waist: 27"
Hip: Free
Hem: 40" at front
Back width: 14.5"
Center back length: 15.5"

~The Fabric~

This sheer is a 60" wide, double border print. I love border prints. A lot of historic sewists think they aren't versatile, since the  print is straight and so much of what we make is curved, which makes a straight border useless. But, if you're clever about it, you can make straight boarder prints work for curved designed.

The sheer fabric was incredibly flowing and drapey, which is wonderful on the final garment. During work, however, it's a pain in the #%$. I must have spent 20 minutes shifting and pinning and manipulating just to get the fabric to actually lay on its straight-of-grain for cutting (You can see the crystal weights at the top of the table).

It's a loose weave, but seems to have a noticeable directional grain running parallel to the selvage.

~The Skirt~

I have done overlays before, and this time was no different with my method. I used the Truly Victorian #201 skirt pattern for my base, which acts as the skirt lining. It's a 6 gore skirt. When it came to the sheer overlay, I had to devise a way to do it all in one uninterrupted panel so that there would only be one seam at the back. Otherwise, I would lose the main draw of the fabric, which is the border print.

This is very simple if you're doing a panel skirt, such as that for the 1850s or something else straight and gathered at the waist,but this is a bustle era silhouette. The back has to be longer than the front.

Above you can see the back of the skirt. Now, clearly more of the top broder print is showing at the back than at the front. That's because the back of the skirt was cut longer at the top. Most bustle skirts are relatively straight at the waist, then have their shaping done at the hem. For the overlay, the whole idea is flipped. The hem is straight and all shaping is done at the waistline.

**If you have every made 18th century petticoats, you already know what I'm talking about. =) I mean, if you look at a bustle dress from the side, you can easily imagine is being half of the front view of a wide 18th century silhouette =) 

The horizontal bands of the border print were excellent for the waistband, so I did an overlay on that as well

As for the closure, I am particularly proud of it on this one. I made a slit at the center back and faced it to turn to the inside, but then when I stitching it down I made sure it only went through the lining, not the overlay. The result is that it's completely invisible during where =)

~The Bodice~
I used the TV #400 pattern, but on the straight waist line without the back ruffle. The sleeves are my own drafting for a one piece sleeve. Since I was leaving the sleeve sheer, I wanted only one seem.

The #400 pattern is incredibly simple, which is why I like it. The shape comes out very flattering and easy to fit. I chose to flat line the bodice, face the fronts and neckline, and do a simple bias facing on the edge. The pattern calls for sack lining, which I do like, but decided against in this case.

I have a large collection of antique and vintage lace collars, and this one worked perfectly for this! As with so much of my collection. I can't really date it. My guess would be early 20th century, but that's the best I can do. I attached it with wide whip-stitching for easy laundering removal.

For the belt, I used a simple sash of dark brown cotton gauze, crinkled. It's tightly gathered to a double D-ring buckle. =) 

~The brooch~ 

Now, I don't make much jewelry, but I've started to get into it recently out of necessity. I used to live in Tampa Bay with it's litany of awesome thrift stores and junk shops. It was nothing for me to get brooches and cameos for $1.00 or fifty cents. Now that I live in the middle of nowhere, I make do.

This brooch is an old old earring and a large coconut shell button. I removed the earring backing and glued it to the face of this very large, real coconut shell button. I got the buttons in a mixed bag years ago, and they are far too large and modern looking for any garment applications I do. They work wonderfully for jewelry, though! I added a broach pin backing, and that's all it took =)


My favorite aspect of this dress is the positioning of the pattern. It faded away up the skirt, only to them begin again at the waist, as if emanating up and down from it. =)

1 comment:

  1. Love the use of the border print on this dress! Very lovely!