HSM #2 and The Blue Dress – a breakthrough

(original source unknown)

(source unknown)

This overskirt has been driving me batty.

The more hours I spent carefully hand sewing on the layers of trim, the less I liked it. It got to the point where I really didn’t like it at all. The layers of seams and trim made the outer edge so stiff it wouldn’t fall into folds and stay there. The center back kept popping up as if ejecting itself from a toaster. When viewed from a distance the black ruffles stood out so far from the dress they looked more like growths than a purposeful addition to style.

It finally got to the point where I had to force myself to work on it. And where’s the fun in that? Why spend buckets of hours on something I was clearly bound to dislike in the end? I was torn over what to do: chuck the investment in time, or finish something that was not going to make me happy.

So, after much grumbling and procrastination, yesterday I sat myself down and picked off all the trim. (I was so anxious to get it off that I forgot to take a photo of how wrong it looked with all the pieces in place.) It took a little over four hours to remove it all, but as soon as it was gone I liked the dress all over again.

Instead of all the fluffy black organdy ruffles, I went with a single band of black ribbon with a like of white stitching woven down the center. It’s a cleaner look. The edge of the overskirt now falls into folds properly and the back doesn’t stick up at an annoying angle.

the new trim

The other thing I did was to remove the buttons and loops from the edge of the overskirt front panel. I put them there as a way to pleat the side edges into folds when the overskirt is worn, yet leave them flat for storage and ease of ironing. But they made the edge bulky and the side panels would not hang straight over them when buttoned into folds. So I decided to go with a modern solution and used large snaps instead.

snaps, side view

Side view of front panel edge: hooks and eyes on the front and snaps on the back make for a better and flatter series of folds.

snaps, back view

Placement of the snaps, back edge view.

It’s probably not a period-correct solution, but the results are fantastic: the edge folds up perfectly, stays flat and the overskirt side back panels hang as they should. So I’ll live with it.


4 thoughts on “HSM #2 and The Blue Dress – a breakthrough

  1. What a pity to remove all the beautiful trim, but I understand that the dress did not look like you envsioned it. I’m looking forward to seeing it finished!

    • It’s been really slow going with this one, which has surprised me because the patterns are pretty straightforward. But getting it to come together has proved a challenge and I’m learning a lot from it. It probably would have looked just fine to anyone who didn’t know what I was trying to achieve, but I was so unhappy with it I couldn’t bring myself to work on it. So the trim had to go – and it was very liberating! 😉

  2. Sometimes trim is a struggle. You have a vison that looks fabby, only to find it isn’t so fabby in reality. I am glad you found your solution and you like it. I love that dress and hope you get it finished.

    • It is discouraging to realize that after hours and hours of hand work it’s just NOT working at all. But even worse to keep going and make something you know you won’t like. It may take me forever, but one day this dress will be finished and worn (and probably photographed to death ’cause I’ll be so happy.)

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