Monday, 30 May 2016

1869 Parlor Dress - Separates

Patterns: Truly Victorian #202 "1869 Grand Parlor Skirt"
               Bodice from Harper's Bazar, June 3rd 1871. Supplement pattern No.II (personal magazine supplement collection).
Fabrics: Skirt is 100% silk, plaid. 100% cotton lining.
              Bodice is heavy weight 100% cotton sateen.
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Available on Ebay HERE
Chest - 37"
Waist - 29"
Hip - Free
Hem - 39" at front, 60" at back
Back width - 14.5"

The illustration above, taken from the cover of Harper's Bazar (June 3rd, 1871) appears to show a bolero jacket over neck height bodice. In fact, the trim on the bolero gives that illusion. The under portion is, in fact, low neck. The original had the bolero hooking closed from neck to top of breast, covering the exposed portion of the low under-bodice. I decided to leave the bolero open and allow the under-portion's low neckline to show.

This is the 1869 Grand Parlor skirt from the Truly Victorian company. I made no changes to the original pattern, except for the addition of the hem ruffle and flat lining all panels. I have always loved this skirt, and I do highly recommend flat lining the pieces if you are using a medium weight or lower fabric (and especially if you're using anything with a vertical grain).

The pattern includes pockets to be sewn into the seam between the side-front and side-back pieces. I chose to have pockets on both sides, but I inserted them in a manner slightly different than that laid out in the pattern instructions. The pattern instruction have you placing the pocket on each skirt panel, respectively, then sewing the panels together while going around the pocket pieces, basically treating the pockets like parts of the skirt panel. This is a good method and works just fine if you aren't worried about the skirt seam being free to press open and flat later. Since I had to do that, I chose to insert the pocket with seam allowances free at top and bottom, so they would not interfere with the panel seam being ironed flat later.

(above) You can see my skirt panels at this point have already been flat lined and bound in lace seam binding. (below) You can see the seam allowance at the top of the pocket folded down and out of the way, so as not to be caught when I stitched the top of the skirt seam to the point.

 (above and below) better views showing the pocket seam allowance NOT caught in the skirt seam.

All panels of the skirt are flat lined in light weight cotton muslin, except the large back panel. That one I flat lined in a heavier quilting weight cotton. I wanted more weight at the back for shape. The check looking fabric is the heavier cotton.

(below) The inward facing knife pleas at the back.

I will be the first to admit, I hate compound bodices (compound, meaning those that have attached under portions or outer layers ). In the end, the whole point of compound bodices is to give the illusion one is wearing layers of separate complete garments. The reason I hate them is fitting. It's a nightmare making sure the "outer" sections of the bodice fit at the same time as the under portions. Adjustments to one almost always require adjustments to the other, etc.

I used the bodice from a silk evening dress featured in Harper's Bazar, June 3rd, 1871.

(below) The full description and directions taken from the magazine. The sleeves were actually not included in the June 3rd issue. It instructs you to take the sleeve from a different garment from the issue 2 months prior...which I happened to have in my collection too! =D

(below) showing the under-bodice being attacked to the "bolero" section at side and armhole.

I...ugh...don't recommend this pattern, if you have access to it. The pointed under-bodice was far too large for the rest of the pieces, causing the bolero sections to come nowhere near meeting at center front, as they are supposed to do. I had to heavily alter the under-bodice piece, cutting off nearly 3" at center front. In the future, I will use the rest of the pattern as a separate bolero jacket only. Also, despite the buxom appearance of Haper's Bazar illustrations, most of their patterns are a B-cup maybe. You most likely will need to make adjustment for bust as well as general sizing.

I was pleased with the final result, even if I did decide to go more simplistic. The cotton sateen I used was already rather heavy, so I went without all the fussy trims and settled for just edge piping. I also decided against the big fabric cuff ruffle and instead used some antique mourning lace I had on hand.


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