|1829-33 Dress with Pink Ruffle of Awesomeness|
But oh how far we've come!
Perhaps I should call this my Rehabilitation Dress as it presented me with numerous problem solving issues and a multitude of mistakes that required constant change of plans, rip-out, re-do, calm-down, it's OK. The final price will never reflect the number of hours that went into this, and I'm a bit "eeh" on the finished product, but it was good for me. It will fit a human being & she will look lovely in it - which is what matters.
This dress re-taught me my multiplication tables, addition & subtraction. The day I was able to divide by 3 in my head was pure triumph. Reminding myself how to do something as simple as gathering vs. pleating was a joy, because I'd forgotten how. I wrote out directions for myself to follow. I re-read them to see if I understood... I re-adjusted plans based on the yardage available & re-purposed several things to make the dress better than the original plan would have been.
There are some problems with it, for example: the neckline & sleeves do not fit in with the modes of the time. While both are correct, I'm not sure a high neckline was ever paired with short sleeves. I may cut it down at a later date if I can't find an example of this configuration. The roller printed stripe/floral was almost always paired with long sleeves. The fact that I was 2 yds short of the fabric I needed... well, sometimes these things happen & if I hadn't already cut it, trusting that the yardage on the tag was there, I'd have chosen different fabric.
|Piped & pleated fronts|
I'm going to skip over the front pleats & piping for now, only because explaining how I did it is making me dizzy. I promise I'll fill in later... but I will say that if I ever do this again, I'll cut them individually & stitch them on that way - it's more fabric conservative & less likely to be the wrong direction.
|Piping pinned on Back & Side Backs|
|Bodice with way-small armholes|
The bodice stitched together. The center front bottom is raw here because that gets turned up & hand-stitched so that the pleats maintain their form. In the future, I'd do this a bit differently, using the individual pleats, vs. a big piece of fabric. One very tricky thing about this pattern is that the "normal" size of armholes doesn't apply. The armhole is actually down on the arm, not at the shoulder, so it seems to be way too small, but is, in fact, the right size. (This played with my head quite a bit trying to remember that)... but it DOES work.
|Sleeve with piping & cuff|
|Bias Strip for Hem Decoration|
So, if you want something like this, sew strips of color together, press seams & cut on the bias. Sew bias edges together to form a straight seam (you'll have to line it up on the straight & use a ruler to determine where to sew it - this was 1"-1.5" down the first strip depending on the width of the next one). Try it, you'll see what I'm talking about.
|Decorative Hem Construction|
Next was assembling the hem on the base fabric (mint green cotton - yuck) to extend the hemline to an appropriate length (10" longer than my fabric). I used a row of brown piping, the patchwork bias strip, several rows of piping between the brown & the green, and then a Pink Ruffle of Awesomeness. There was much changing between the regular presser foot & the zipper foot to accomplish this. It made me rather dizzy. For the ruffle, I evenly pinned the fabric on & then hand-gathered it as I stitched vs. using thread to gather it in. This is more efficient on very large pieces that don't require perfectly spaced & even gathers.
|The World Needs More Pink Ruffles|
The finished hem in all its Pink Ruffly Awesomeness...
(I do wish I could learn how to make these pictures turn in the direction I want them).
It still needs a belt & a corded petticoat to go under it... maybe a pelerine just for fun.
[In case you are wondering why I'm going on about personal medical stuff, well, I can't separate it out from my creative process. It's now part of who I am, and it's a struggle to deal with it - I'm finding new mental land-mines every day, and working to overcome the things I've already found. To get myself back to being ME, I can't deny or ignore it... so, Dear Readers, I'm afraid you'll have to read about my brain damage along with the Pink Ruffles of Awesome.]