Tuesday, December 13, 2011

1910s Evening Dress Inside-Out

Well, 1910 narrowly edged out in first (but had some fervent supporters I must say!).  So, here it is.  I must preface this with the fact that I was using this gown as a practice piece and in a hurry.  No, they did not have sergers, but I didn't exactly have time to hand cast.  I had planned to just machine stitch everything but the hem, but the silk chiffon had other ideas.
I based the gown on the example in Janet Arnold.  Checking measures it seemed it'd be the right size, boy was I wrong!  The waist was fine, but the bust was far too large.  Of course, this was discovered after cutting everything out.  I made some weird adjustments to the shoulder and sleeve pieces because of this.
First, I suppose, comes the fabric.  I purchased a vintage sari (supposed to be silk, but a synthetic gold net instead) and silk charmeuse and chiffon (never EVER trust nyfashioncenterfabrics colors online).  After dying the silks to no longer be the most hideously bright yellow-greens ever, I got to work.  I had to interline the bodice with a sturdy cotton since the charmeuse wasn't going to hold shape.

I used bias tape for the boning channels (left loose at the top 1" as per original) and the bottom edge.  The top is folded over raw and the lace sewn on top (I did this as the very last step of the whole gown).  The bodice is a little long for my short waist, but not too bad.
You can see the separate undersleeves here.  The inside edge has narrow elastic in it to keep the sleeves up (the top is tacked once to the outer sleeves).  There's also a re-enforcement of double chiffon running along the bottom.  I had to trim the undersleeve sections down a lot to fit on the reduced bust (after hand-sewing them first of course...ugh).  These were attached to the outside of the base bodice with raw edges showing on bottom.  This is the reason you wait to finish the top edge of the base, easier to sew through one layer than two plus lace.

Next, the outer sleeves were attached in the same way.  I lined them with the chiffon as well to keep color consistent.  The hem of the sleeve was the edge of the sari, but I had to stitch a separate border on to the neck edge.
The nastiest piece was the pleated outer bodice.  The original used a very sheer, thin net with embroidery done on top to hold down the random tucks.  I was using a much thicker net, unwilling to stay put, with no embroidery to hold it down.  This meant I had to hand stitch the pleats into place.  It's not pretty, unfortunately, but it was the only way I could get it to stay put.  I spent at least two days tucking and untucking that bodice, both on me and the mannequin, to make it look random enough.  I also had to use much less fabric than the original in some areas since it just wouldn't obey.  Thankfully, the bottom edge (like many others) was left raw and hidden under the sash, so I just cut it off to the needed length!

The off-set edge of the tucked bodice is what hides the center back seam.  The velvet bands hanging down also overlap because of this.  You can see that there is a center back opening on my skirt overlay.  Unfortunately the sari was not wide enough to mimic the original overskirt.  I made mine much narrower, only darting in on the sides rather than seaming, and leaving the center back open at the bottom.  All of the skirts were left raw on top and covered by the velvet sash.
Lots of hooks and eyes.  I should have put more snaps on the skirt placket (but I was technically on vacation at that point and only brought four).  The placket slips between the skirt and base bodice on the right.

The originals hem was much longer in front and back.  My front goes only to the floor (for walking and fabric saving purposes).  They left a split in the side seams to floor level for that reason.  I tried that, but didn't like the look without the longer front.  I love the way the train pools when still and flicks about when you walk, but it made it nearly impossible to navigate any crowds on the ship.

I must say I learned a great deal from doing this gown.  Something I hope to apply to at least two or three 1910s outfits I'll be building next year.  I'm still just waiting for that perfect sari to appear for one of them!


The Lady Ship said...

This looks wonderful, even if it is "only" a practice piece!

Jo said...

Using a sari is a great idea. If this was just a practice piece I can't wait to see what you come up with next.

Laura said...

This is gorgeous! I love, love, love the colors!

Mary said...

This dress is really beautiful! thanks for sharing! ♥

Jenni said...

Goodness, your sewing is simply stunning!

I noticed you've referenced Janet Arnold a few times and was wondering exactly how you worked with her patterns. I have 'Patterns of Fashion 1' and cannot for the life of me figure out how much space each square is supposed to be; i.e. 1x1" or some such measurement.

I might have simply overlooked the key in the front of the book, but it most certainly has me stumped!

If you have time, could you please e-mail me at jennihenline@frontier.com?

Thank-you for your time.


shelycn said...

Your elegant dress collection is great! The dresses are so fashionable and vintage at the same time~

Evening Dresses said...

That dress is so nice.Photos are so good.I really like it.Thanks for Sharing.

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