Sunday, October 17, 2010

Black Linen Dress Re-fit Complete

It's not perfect, but the black linen dress re-fitting is now complete. In general it was not that difficult, but I think I rushed a bit too much and ended up creating a couple problems which I could only partially do anything about. Straightening the front, however, was very easy and worked just as I expected. I think I'll be doing straight front fitted dresses from now on.

So before I show you the result of the tailoring, let's start by looking at how the dress fit prior to any adjustments. (To see how it fit when I first made it, check out this post.)

Not very flattering, to say the least.

Just for fun, I went ahead and put my undergarments on as well to show you. On the left, I'm wearing my sleeveless linen smock, gray knit hose and new (made by Dearg) leather garters. On the right I've added my Saint Birgitta's Coif and a scarf.

Now for the finished dress! The lacing at the bust isn't as tight as it's supposed to be, so you can see the orange scarf through the lacing. The fitting also brought the dress back up to its original length (see the before image and note that the skirt touches the floor). On the right, you can see one of the problems I created when I took it in- wrinkles on the back. On the left, if you look at my left shoulder, you can see that I'm also having an issue with the neckline, which I opened up from the original. Something went weird when I cut it, and though I tried to correct it, the damage was done.

I need to make sure I position my bust properly to help the straight front do more of a lifting job, but overall the effect of minimizing my bust and belly was achieved. I had Dearg take some photos of the completed outfit, but I look very squat, so I'd rather not show them. I'll be sure to have someone take a few photos this weekend, however.

So, that's one dress re-fit project complete. I'll need to create my new fitted dress pattern before moving on to the other- my teal wool dress.

P.S. Truer words were never spoken.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Re-fitting the Black Linen Dress

So I pulled my black linen dress out of the closet to start working on tailoring it, but Dearg's gone to bed for a nap and I'm at a loss as to how I can do anything with it by myself, since I can't see my back and sides. It would be one thing if I just needed to take the seams in a bit here and there, but the entire dress, except perhaps the sleeves, needs to be taken in. Even the fullness of the skirt needs to be taken in! So, in my waffling about what I was going to do so that I didn't waste time, I tried to make some decisions about what I really wanted to accomplish with the re-fit.

There is enough extra in the whole trunk of the gown to completely remove the lacing holes in the front. This is a very good thing, because the curve of my bust has completely altered with the combination of the weight loss and the breastfeeding. Read: bigger boobs on a smaller frame. (Which is pretty funny, considering that I started this blog on the topic of my big boobs and how self-conscious I was about them.) With my altered bust, the original curved front doesn't fit correctly. Let's compare:

This first image was taken when I first made the dress (I'm about 4 months pregnant- right after I found out I was having twins). The curve of the front, along the lacing, is smooth all the way from the neck to below the bust. There is also no extra fabric along the front of the arm hole, so I had a nice, wrinkle-free chest that followed all the curves properly.

This second photo was taken at my first event after having the twins (obviously). As you can see, not only is there way too much fabric in front of the arm hole, the curviest part of my bust isn't curvy enough to fill out the curve in the dress, and there's a "flat" area. Now, I believe I was wearing my not-very-supportive nursing bra, which probably accounts for the ill-fit of the upper chest, but even with a better bra when I put it on here at home, the flat area is still there.

In order to correct this, the front seam of the dress needs to be re-cut (and the original lacing holes completely removed), so I wondered if I might be better off finding the grain and cutting straight on that to turn this curved front fitted dress into a straight front fitted dress. The very top of the front, at the neckline, ended up needing the least amount taken in, so I can use that as the cut point.

I wasn't willing to commit to that right then, however, so I decided I'd waffle a bit more and waste some time reading some blogs online. In the process of doing that, I went to the Stuff & Fustian blog and discovered that she is tackling a very similar issue with her current gown project. She had previously created a straight front fitted gown, but realized that it didn't provide the same curve of the bust as her inspiration, so she's opted for a curved front. When I look at her straight front, however, I feel that this is the direction I want to go. Yes, yes, I know. My black linen dress was originally inspired by a dress in the same manuscript, with the same silhouette. I've changed my mind about the dress now because I just spent 9 months being pregnant, and I definitely looked it. Now I'm not pregnant, loving my new shape, and I want to show it off. A curved front dress would accentuate the baby belly I haven't quite lost, and make my already large breasts look larger. A straight front would ultimately (I hope) show off my smaller waist and butt because it would diminish my breasts and belly. (Sounds like a good theory, right?)

So that's my game plan. Once I've straightened the front, Dearg can help me by pinning in the side and back seams to re-tailor it.

Friday, October 15, 2010


I haven't made much progress with anything in the past several days, not sure why. Probably because I'm working on little sleep, and I'd rather veg out when I get home after work than pick up a project to work on. I've got to get cracking, though.

I normally attend Red Dragon, but with the kids, Dearg's work schedule and lack of funds, I have to skip it this year. So I'll be home all weekend, and though my house needs major cleaning, I really need to reserve a good chunk of time to adjusting my black linen dres for Royal Hunt. I'm hoping I can do the dress on Saturday so I have the rest of the week to get my frilled veil completed for the event as well.

So stay tuned. If everything goes according to plan I'll have something to report before next Saturday!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Event Re-cap and Garb-Weeding Underway

Despite the lack of attendance and the un-planned-for cold rain, Mischief and Mayhem was a actually a fun event for me. It was almost just a practice event, really, and we had no real problems with having all 3 kids there. Only downside, though, is that there weren't a lot of people there to see Owen's awesome 13th century-esque outfit:

He got pretty wet, but I'd planned ahead for the cold by making the hood, and we were able to keep him warm by keeping the hood up when he was outside the shade. This outfit will still fit him when we go to Royal Hunt later this month. With the twins, it's harder to coordinate making new garb for Owen, so anything that can last a while is good. The twins, by the way, wore their gowns again, but I didn't get any photos of them this time since they spent most of the day bundled up under a blanket in the playpen.

Right before leaving, I'd wondered if I really needed my teal wool dress to stay warm. Ultimately I decided to wear it, and I'm really glad I did. I wore an old light blue linen/rayon dress underneath, and I was quite warm enough. For most of the day, I wore a wimple and oval veil (which you can see in the photo with me and Owen), but that had gotten pretty wet and wasn't comfortable anymore. I switched to my German kerchief and put my goller on (above), and still maintained a comfortable warmth level.

It's kind of hard to tell in this photo, but I tucked the ends of the kerchief up under the edge which was pinned tight around my head with a single pin at the nape of my neck. I've previously had a hard time getting this veil to work for me, but now I realize that it was because I was doing it wrong. Now that I've figured it out, I'll definitely wear this veil more often.

Today, I pulled all my dresses out and decided which ones to keep. This was just the dresses I had in my garb closet and didn't include garb I'd packed away (that's a project for a later day). All I've decided to keep are my black linen dress (which I'll take in), my blue linen v-neck gown (which I won't worry about adjusting- I'll just use it as a throw-on layer for camping events), and my teal wool (which I will completely take apart, remove the lining, re-cut according to my new pattern (yet to be created), re-line, and reassemble). I'm also going to keep the pink jacket I whipped together as a camping robe, but I'm going to sew up the front to make it a tunic instead. I've also got the new sleeveless smock I just made and my fitted underdress in the keep pile. The underdress will be replaced, however, when I get the linen for it, and decide it's time to create my new pattern (which will probably happen in November). This leaves me dismally low on garb, I realize, but what better excuse to buy more fabric and make more clothes?