It’s as finished as it’s likely to get before tomorrow. I’ve decided to post the picture, because several very supportive folk won’t be able to make OryCon. I’ll be wearing this to the reception for the Endeavour Award finalists and winner. If you want to see it, and don’t want to hunt the halls or the Masquerade, you now know where to come looking!
Here is the dress as it now stands. I still have to put the black lace on the underskirt and find a suitable way to tack the lace onto the bodice without hiding the beautiful, beautiful fitting job that M.K. did.
7 pm Friday in Mult/Holl – the Endeavor Award ceremony
noon Saturday in Hamilton – My villain is too mwa ha ha. Help!
2pm Saturday in Sellwood – Effective Readings
Saturday evening I’ll be about in the Victorian gown, which has less lace than the original because I can’t stand to cover up M.K. Hobson’s glorious work fitting the bodice.
11am Sunday in Grant – Broad Universe Readings
… that M.K. has in spades. She sat tonight and hand stitched the fastenings for the bodice roughly two and a half times. As in did them once, we didn’t like them. She pulled half of one side out, we didn’t like it. She pulled all of one side out, and redid the whole side. SUCCESS! Then she did the shoulder straps, hand top-stitched them so they’d lie perfectly, and finally took this picture. A preview and progress picture.
This is the bodice, a bit of the hair pieces I made while M.K. hand top-stitched patiently away, the underskirt, and the front drape of the overskirt. The back half is cut, FrayChecked, and waiting to be sewn up tomorrow in the morning. I’m planning to take my sewing machine to Edgefield if I don’t finish the overskirt before then, since I’ll be out there until the first wearing of this dress and will wear it there on Saturday night.
By OryCon I’ll have some more decoration done on it, as well as the overskirt finished.
To date I’ve used an entire large spool of thread, ten yards of silk, two and a half yards of black lace fabric, three and a half yards of acetate lining, a yard of denim, four yards of hoop wire, four yards of white cotton, ten spiral steel bones, two packets of bias tape, just shy of ten yards of eyelet ruffles, a yard of black lace ribbon, a yard of gauze ribbon, six silk roses, and have broken two sewing machine needles.
The bodice is at a pause until I get some help. I can read the directions, but they’re not making a helluvalotta sense to me. Enter M.K. Seriously, this would not get done without her willingness to hold my hand through it. I think I see how to do this to make it right, but… I don’t have time to do it wrong again.
I can hear my father in my head as clear as a bell. “If you don’t have time to do it right, you absolutely don’t have time to do it wrong.”
I cut the material for the overskirt today, and applied FrayCheck to allllllll the edges. Considering each piece is more than five feet long and three feet wide, that’s a lot of dabbing. Tomorrow I have a brief pause for errands and ripping some seams out of the bodice, followed by pleating of the overskirt prior to M.K. coming to bail my silly butt out of my conundrum. More pictures tomorrow!
This is spiral steel boning.
There are ten bones attached to the inside of the bodice…
The lining is constructed exactly like the bodice, and then pinned to it, right sides together. This takes an ungodly number of pins.
This is the pinning of just one armhole. I probably should have changed out to black thread to sew the lining, but it’s lining.
Hopefully later today I’ll post a pic of the bodice.
The bodice lining is cut, darted, and awaiting use.
The boning for the bodice necessitated a trip to buy a bolt cutter, since in spite of all best efforts, M.K. and I cut some of the bones a quarter inch too long. Too short I can work with, too long is too much stabbing. Thus I carefully removed the laboriously applied boning tips without crushing them, bolt-cut the offending bones down a quarter inch each, and then carefully crimped the boning tips back on. Honestly, who knew that costuming sewing entailed bolt cutters?
Right now, the fit of the bodice looks dead on (pinned the shoulders, tried it on inside out over my corset).
SO. This evening when I take my child off to fencing lessons, I will be picking up the very last things I need. I need – more bias tape, because I’m a few inches short of what I need to sew the last bone onto the last seam. I need more thread, because if I run out while sewing the overskirt I will scream. And lastly, I need hook and eye tape for the front closure.
Then I will sew the bodice, trim the seams (and I’m sure there will be yet more Fray Check on every trim-cut), and finally, turn the whole thing right side out and check that it fits before sewing up the center back of the lining. If the fit is off, I have to take the boning off the seams to do anything like an adjustment. All good wishes and bribes to the powers of sewing are accepted.
For now, I’m off upstairs to clear off the table so I can pin and cut the material for the overskirt.
Update of the update – I found the rest of the bias tape. Huzzah! I have no idea how much train is practical on this bad girl. Boo!
Yesterday’s progress – I kept repeating MK’s quip in my head: “Do not fear the cloth. It can smell fear.” Deep breath. Cuuuuut out a piece, dab dab dab dab dab… cuuuut dab dab dab dab… you get the idea. Lots of dabbing. Lots of waiting for the dabbing to dry so I could move it to do the next piece.
This morning I have the silk basted onto the denim interfacing, and will mark and sew the pleats after lunch.
Today I Fray-Checked the front drape of the overskirt (already had it cut), and transferred the pattern from the muslin. I made sure I had it right by marking the basted seams, picking out the seams and laying it onto the paper pattern before marking the basted seams and new cut lines. After a bit of debate, I’ve worked it out so that the finished back peplum of the bodice will be the same size as the muslin peplum. I loved how it lay on the underskirt, and have wildly extravagant plans for the point you can see in the photo in the previous post. After that I cut the denim interface, which is finished. I didn’t go further, because laming myself on this project won’t help me finish this on time, nor will it help my type the first part of the sequel to ‘Bone Orchard’. More on that another time. Tomorrow I hope to finish the cutting of the bodice, which would leave me the rest of the week to sew it, have M.K. back to check the marks, and then to finish it and cut the rest of the overskirt this coming weekend. Grand plans! Stay tuned to see if I can pull of a miraculous time-bender!
This morning’s alarming discovery was that this fabric doesn’t so much ravel as it simply evaporates. The underskirt, as you can see below, came together nonetheless. Later M.K. tested with pinking sheers and confirmed that they have no effect at all on the lack of surface tension of the silk to itself. Tomorrow will see a lot of Fray-check used to keep the edges together between cutting and sewing. It’s nasty plasticky stuff, but will be invisible inside the seams and I’ll actually have a seam allowance to work with.
Here’s the bustled petticoat, complete with a ruffled overlay to keep the wires from showing through the skirts. M.K. put the overlay onto the petticoat and adjusted all the ties. Then she went in and embroidered over the ends of the wires to keep them steadier in their channels. I’m not sure why it’s called flossing, but it’s a lot of very pretty handwork that will keep the metal from sawing out of the cloth.
And here is the bustled underskirt, all seams rescued from evaporation by extremely careful handling. The pattern didn’t make this skirt any too long, and while M.K. worked on the flossing and attaching the overlay, I rolled a handkerchief hem all the way around the bottom without causing evaporation.
The white bodice you see here is a muslin mock-up of the bodice that I’ll make out of the same fuchsia silk. M.K. spent two hours tweaking the fit and basting in all the changes so that tomorrow I can pick apart the mock-up, mark the changes on the paper pattern. Normally I’d use the muslin pieces as the pattern, but I need to add to some of the seam allowances. Then, holding my breath, I’ll cut lining, interfacing, and finally the gorgeous and temperamental silk – doctoring the edges as I cut each piece.
I have the overskirt partly cut. If I’m not about to tear my hair out after the paperwork for the bodice, I’ll cut the rest of the overskirt and apply goo to all the edges tomorrow.
Sewing called on account of darkness. My dining room lights are good enough that I can work on white cloth without daylight. They aren’t good enough to let me work on seriously saturated fuchsia silk that wants to slide off of itself.
The bustled petticoat is done save for adjusting the length of the wires. I’ll finish the underskirt will be done save for the hem tomorrow morning.