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Bodiced petticoat - Historically Bent Costuming

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August 29th, 2009

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03:24 am - Bodiced petticoat
So, I was planning on wearing stays, because stays. And then I tried on the muslin of my dress bodice, and I was all woah! This is basically (1) perfectly fitting and (2) gives me a much better silhouette and period bustline than my stays (damnit). So I'm going to make a bodiced petticoat and gown rather than a lined gown, and I think that'll work out just great.

The bodice pattern came from Tidens Tøj (linky). I scaled up the lining pattern pretty verbatim, changed the side-back seam to a much harder curve for aesthetic reasons, added an inch total to the CB, and took out the side front and side seams because I like the look of the long front-side-side back pieces and I've seen it elsewhere in the period. Then I drew out the pieces in sharpie on some muslin, cut them out with wide seam allowances, and sewed up the seams. I left the shoulder straps (just scrap about the right size) loose in front and left the CF seam open. Against all expectation, the thing actually fits remarkably well. The CF will need a little alteration (when I locate my camera, I'll be posting tons of photos of this, I promise), and there's a very small dart that I pinned out in the front armscye but that I think I'll move to the underbust. I'm going to make those changes and figure out real shoulder straps, and then I'll try it on again.

In the meantime, I'm making a skirt for it. I used most of a skein of white DMC 3 perl cotton lucetting about 60 inches of cord, which I figured was enough for the hem of a petticoat. I may eventually come to change my mind about that, but for the moment it'll do. The heavier thread works up much faster than the DMC 8 perl cotton I've been using, which was nice. The cord is about 1/8" diameter when it's finished. I tore off a rectangle 50" x 60" from another sheet (this one, sadly, in poorer condition than the other; it's got a few pinholes here and there. Oh well) and pressed up a four inch hem along one long side. Into that I tucked and pinned the lucet cord and then handstitched it in, leaving a few inches at each end open so that I could sew up the seam and then finish the casing. That stitching went remarkably fast. I then stitched up the seam, pressed it open, and finished the cord casing. The top of the seam was left open so that it can act as a front opening for the petticoat (or back. I'm not quite decided, yet, where the lacing will be). The last thing to do before attaching the skirt will be to stitch the hem up. Perhaps, if there is time, I will also add some tucks. Probably not. I do intend to retain any extra length at the top edge for the eventuality that I might want to add tucks, though.

I'm still completely attached to this handsewing thing. Running stitch is incredibly fast when you've got a thimble and the right sized needle.

Oh, yes. I also made myself a thimble out of a very small scrap of leather. I used a binder clip to help figure out where to put the seam, sewed it up with a saddle stitch so it was a little bit too small, with the seam allowance to the outside. I then trimmed the seam allowance to a very scant 1/8", soaked it in water, and tugged it down over the finger as far as I could and then pressed it down regularly while it dried (I read a book). The result is a thimble that is almost perfectly formed for that particular finger, and stays on incredibly well. I've never liked using thimbles because usually my fingernail gets in the way of a comfortable fit, but this one has an open top. They also usually just never quite fit right, and I can't get the same leverage and pressure that I would with a bare finger (even though that also tears up the finger). This one has neither of those problems. Because it's leather and formed to my finger, I can get exactly the right angle on the butt of the needle, and I left the top open so my fingernail doesn't interfere with wearing it at all.

For the dress: I plan to do some sort of riff off the Costume in Detail dress on page I-didn't-scan-it-sorry. It's got (if you have the book to hand) three cords making decoration around the neck. They're spaced some 1/2" apart and are horizontal across the bust so it almost looks like an apron-front, go over the shoulders and across the back. Hopefully I was clever enough to copy the pages, so I've got them around somewhere. If not I'll have to pop back to the library and do that.

Left to do:

- hem petticoat, finish seam
- fit petticoat bodice, make up
- dress
- reticule?
- Almost certainly not shoes, alas, nor mitts
- Something to do with my hair. Probably a bandeau or turban sort of thing. Maybe a hot curler.

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