Normally, posting in the wee hours of the morning like I did earlier today would leave me a bit fuzzy-eyed. This morning it’s allergies that have me blinking twice at everything. Probably not the ideal situation for cutting and sewing, but I’m armed with drops and sprays and have no intention of letting a little pollen (OK, a LOT of pollen) slow me down while I’m on a roll.
When I discovered the old beginnings of the bustle dress late last night I just had to haul out the undies and start dressing my mannequin. Fortunately, she’s a trooper and didn’t utter a single complaint. So out came the split drawers, the chemise and the corset. Once I had the important parts padded to my shape I started adding petticoats. I have the old TV101 petticoat with incorporated bustle and ruffled over drape. I was one of the first historical costuming things I made, if not the first, and I still love its all-in-one convenience. Plus, unless you’re driving or sitting in a car, it is very easy to sit in and relax.
Once that was in place and the inside ties adjusted to the correct shape for the era, I threw on an additional antique petticoat that I’d mended for HSM #1 in 2014. Doing that softened the edges of the ruffled bustle petticoat and gave everything a smooth line. A third petticoat would not be out of the question, but I’m going to wait and see how the underskirt shapes up before adding yet another layer beneath it. I’m leaving the corset cover off for now because I’ve found it gets in the way while I’m working with waistline details. I’ll pop one on when it’s time for the waist itself.
So here’s how it looks with the underskirt and two petticoats, including the bustle. I still need to put the ruffle around the bottom of the skirt. In addition, the mannequin is too short (and is not holding any height adjustments very well) so the petticoat is dragging a bit.
The only issue is my waistline which, as I mentioned, has grown a bit since early last year. So I have a bit of gap-osis to deal with.
Having that gap throws off the symmetry of the underskirt entirely. My plan is two-fold. First I’m going to remove and lengthen the waistband in order to re-distribute the back gathers evenly. Doing that will also get the side seams back where they belong – at the sides.
Then, as I re-construct the left side waistband, I’m going to incorporate a Safety Pocket for Travelers (like the one I just made) in the same fabric as the dress. The opening will be hidden beneath the overskirt and will allow me to carry the things I want and need without hauling around a handbag. I’ll probably have a parasol with me in case it rains and that’s enough for me to keep track of all day long.
Not only that, but adding the pocket will allow me to meet HSM Challenge #10 – Sewing Secrets: Hide something in your sewing, whether it is an almost invisible mend, a secret pocket, a false fastening or front, or a concealed message (such as a political or moral allegiance). Two birds, one stone, one happy me.
And, because I have nothing better to do with my sewing time, I’m thinking of making a different overskirt – one with more body and ruffles all around the edges. I think it’s more in keeping with the look and feel of Impressionist paintings so I hope I have enough extra fabric. If not, the first choice will be fine.
So that’s the plan. The exhibit is one month from today and the clock starts…NOW!