Monday, January 19, 2009

1650-60 Bodice

I made this bodice for Halloween this year, and didn't have any pictures I was happy enough with to post. Thanks to Jodi for taking these wonderful photos and sending them to me!.. And my digital camera is broken, so I'm back to film until I can get it repaired /replaced.

I love this boned bodice. It's (again) from Cut of Women's Clothes. Nora Waugh deserves to be a fashion history saint.
I don't have a petticoat to go with it yet. I'm still looking for the right wool, but for this modeling session, I used a long 18th century wool petticoat that is just a bit more rose than burgundy, and it seemed to work fine for the artists.

I made a lovely linen shift with a flop-over collar to wear with this bodice, but the ladies wanted to see more of my neck & shoulders, so we substituted the 18th century linen shift. Alas, historic accuracy takes another beating from modern art. I also left my bangs down because I forgot my bobby pins. Bad, bad me. I'd never do that at an event. This new hair cut is going to play hell with my historic hair-do's. Ah well, I look good and the reenactors can deal.

The cap and bodice (after all my rambling) are accurate for the mid to late 1600's. The bodice is English, and would have been worn in England and the English Colonies, it could also pass for German. It's made from 2 different pieces of wool.
The cap is a 2 piece, 2 drawstring linen cap. It ties behind the head, and falls off in a light breeze (I think it's too small).

Bodice Fabric:
I didn't want to use any good fabric, because I'm poor at the moment. So both pieces of wool are pretty moth-eaten. I can't sell something like that, so I get new clothes! I also had no idea if the pattern would work (it did, thank Nora).
The main wool is a very pretty burgundy, the accent wool on the sleeves is a rich red-brown. Neither wool has been felted. The light cream trim is cotton bias tape that I used to finish off the raw edges on the sleeve caps. It was stained, and there wasn't enough of it to do anything else with.
The bodice is lined with a heavy cotton canvas that has boning channels sewn into it. I cheated and put rivets instead of eyelets on the lacing strips. You can't see it, and I may replace the rivets with real eyelets if I don't shrink out of the thing by the end of the summer.

Bodice Construction:
I started with my usual 1" = 9" conversion from COWC, and it only took a little tweaking to make it my size (I'm shrinking, but I think the original garment was made for a full-bodied woman).
The waistline is about 1 1/2" higher than my natural waistline, and it just takes some getting used to. I thought that women must have used a "bumroll" (really a waist roll) to get their skirts to flair out, but I found out that if you've got a shift and a heavy petticoat on under this bodice that it pushes your waist in just enough to give your skirt that extra kick. As long as you don't think about it like "OMG, my belly fat is being squished out!" it looks really beautiful and very accurate.
I decided to make a separate interlining, and no lining as I had 1 day to put this together. The interlining goes around the entire bodice including the shoulders. There are 2 layers to the interlining, and boning channels are placed as directed.
I put the bones in the channels, sewed the lacing strips together (and used grometts rather than eyelets), sewed those on the interlining, and set this part aside.
I sewed the bodice pieces together then sewed the interlining to the outer fabric right sides together. The interlining shows from certain angles, so if I do this again, I'll put a wider seam allowance on the outer fabric and fold it around the lining instead of right sides together and turning.
I did not top-stitch like I usually would because I wanted to hand-finish this garment.

The sleeves were a bit tricky. They are 2 piece, unlined (again because of time) and have 2 caps and a lovely cuff.
I sewed the upper & lower sleeves together, then sewed the cuff on. Then I sewed the lower cap onto the sleeve, and the upper cap onto the bodice. Then I set the sleeve and basted it. The inside edge is left rough like historic sleeves, excpet I overlocked the raw edges because I'm paranoid.

I hand-finished as much as possible, then handed out flowers with poems tied on them for Halloween.

Still have to do:
sew eyelets into the cuffs.
Make tabs for the waist.
Make a petticoat.
It's wearable now, and that's really all I care about.

Things I would change:
Again, I would add extra seam allowance to the outer fabric and fold it over the lining so the lining doesn't show at the neck.
Add more "puff" to the sleeve so I've got more arm movement. I can only raise my arms up to my shoulders in the front, and not quite that on the side. I'm thinking this was a mid to upper class garment, someone who had to do some work, but had servents to do the heavy stuff.
It could easily be converted to a working class garment by lacing the sleeves on at the top and leaving the underarms open for more movement.

1 comment:

Gail Kellogg Hope said...

For my artist friends, if you are wondering where all that blue is coming from, there was a blue plastic tarp covering Marilyn's living room floor. It was reflecting on my eye big-time.