A Bit of This and That: updates on HSM #6 and HSM #4

HSM #6 – The Pink Stripe Edwardian Dress

Thanks to feedback I received, I’ve decided to change the dress. Isabella (extantgowns.com) sent me this image. One look and I was a goner.

1912 (Augusta Auctions)

1912 (Augusta Auctions)

Sleeve detail

Sleeve detail

I love the treatment on the skirt – not really hobbled, although I’d be loath to attempt running (as if) – but softer looking, and a lot more interesting, than a circle of pleats. Not to mention less time-consuming. However, instead of cutting the bands with the stripes running parallel with the vertical stripes of the skirt, I’m planning to cut them so the stripes run horizontal. Or I might do them in solid pink. We’ll have to see.

It also has sleeves that are very close to what I’d imagined for my dress. I like the solid band of color, which I think I’ll also borrow, plus the fabric rosettes on the sleeves and the skirt. The gridded lace looks a bit harsh, though, so I think I’ll play around with some antique lace from my stash and see if one of them grabs my fancy.

So the stars aligned and – bingo! – I have a final plan for the dress (which will still go through a number of iterations before it’s done because that’s how I work).

A+B=C, right? Using visual math done (I love visual math) I end up with the bodice of the red dress and the sleeves and skirt of the blue dress…

…which will end up looking something like this:

Scan0003 (2)

However, considering we’re talking Edwardian here, the bodice is woefully lacking in decoration. The extant blue dress has a fabric rosette on the left shoulder. I could do that. Or I could put a rosette on the center of the bodice at the bottom of the V. Or…

A long time ago I found an antique Edwardian, hand painted, ceramic brooch in pristine condition and snapped it up on the spot. It’s a pretty good size and it features roses, which fits the theme perfectly. It looks good on the fabric. Fingers crossed, it will work with the dress and I’ll finally be able to wear it.

(photo copyright 2015 Susan Quenon)

(photo copyright 2015 Susan Quenon)

(photo copyright 2015 Susan Quenon)

(photo copyright 2015 Susan Quenon)

Now it’s time to start playing with pattern pieces-parts. Good thing I buy muslin by the bolt!


HSM #4 – The 1856 Cage Crinoline, or WT&%#*@!

As you may recall, in my previous post about the HSM #6 Pink Striped dress, I’d causally mentioned that my dress form was too short. Apparently, sometime after the move, the tightening nut loosened and it slipped down the support rod. Quite a lot, as it turns out. One would think I’d have noticed a six- or seven-inch drop. Sadly, one would be wrong.

As I was working on the crinoline, while it was on the dress form, I was concerned that it seemed a bit short, as in too far from the ground. But I’d measured carefully, marked everything, checked the markings when I made them, and checked again before I started putting it together. (Engineer’s daughter – it’s genetic.) And still it looked short. But I this is new territory for me, fashion era-wise, so I kept plugging away and ignored the unsettled whispering in the back of my mind (faulty genetics, that is).

Enter the draping for the pink striped dress and the noticing of the too short dress form.

(3 seconds pass, during which the unsettled whispering is laughing maniacally.)

Wait a minute! If the crinoline looked too short on the too-short dress form…NOOOOOO!!!

(5 seconds of hyperventilation. Maybe more. Can’t recall.)

For the first time, I put the crinoline on and *brain freeze* – the last hoop rides just a few inches below my stupid knee. (Sorry, knee – it’s not your fault.)

Don’t ask, just don’t ask. Because the answer is so far away from “I don’t know” that I can’t tell where to start.**

I want to speak with Heather at Truly Victorian patterns. The materials are kinda pricey and I want to understand what happened before I attempt to fix it. Hundreds of these have been successfully made, so I’m pretty sure it’s me and not the pattern. Needless to say, HSM #4 is in limbo and may be so for some time.

**Note to self – breathe deeply and repeat: Sewing is fun, sewing is relaxing, I love to sew. Sewing is fun, sewing is relaxing, I love to sew. Sewing is fun, sewing is relaxing…


6 thoughts on “A Bit of This and That: updates on HSM #6 and HSM #4

  1. Isabella comes up with some wonderful dresses on her blog, doesn’t she? And that one is a beauty.
    I too am dealing with a shrinking dressform. The rubber ring on the pole just doesn’t stand up for long. Right now i have a vise grip on the pole below it to hold it up but it still manages to creep down. I wrote a measurement on a piece of paper from the ground up to the bottom of the form and pinned to the body to check it from time to time. Hang in there.

    • Sometimes the simplest solutions are so obvious I miss them entirely – thanks, Val! My dress form is named Prudence*, but I considered changing it to Alice because she keeps shrinking. 😉 Vice grip is in place, with sincere appologies to Prudence, and note with measurement pinned to body. Onward!!

      *Why Prudence? My family tree is replete with female names of that old-fashioned ilk: Gertrude, Thelma, Charity, MinnieAnne, etc. So Prudence is a salute to the women who came before me.

  2. While going “omg poor sewer!” out loud, my partner asked what was up. Explaining the sitch, he commented that cute short-skirted hoops etc are SUPER DUPER in the steampunk scene and it might be possible to sell it and recoup your costs. Just a thought, figured I’d pass it along. 😛

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