Sunday, October 27, 2013

From the "Forgotten" Pile

I've been neglecting my orange linen dress. I had put it aside to get some other things done, and, alas, it had sort of stayed aside.

I really had not gotten that far on it. I had run into an issue with seam allowance (namely that I'd left too much allowance on some areas), and trying to work through that issue, I'd sputtered out on it. I had also started to feel like my pieced-together full lining had been a bad idea. It really just looked terrible.

Since putting it aside, I've been introduced to a few new methods of seam finishing, and since I really didn't have much sewing done on the dress, I figured back-tracking was probably the order of the day. I pulled all the existing stitching, and removed the lining. I kept the heavy linen bodice lining for a future dress, since it's still good. I was going to purchase a new lining material, but my budget just wasn't making that possible, and I really wanted to get the dress completed. So, I decided to proceed without a lining.

Since it had been a considerable enough of an amount of time since I started the dress in the first place, I figured that doing a quick refit wasn't a bad idea. I'm glad I did that, since there were definite modifications that needed to be made. Luckily, I've done enough of these dress fittings to be able to wing the adjustments, and not need the extra set of hands. My husband gave me the final thumbs up on the fit.

But then, as it waited about 3 weeks for me to get back to it, I came across Medieval Market's Cotte Simple Type 3, and began to rethink the needs of my wardrobe. In fact, several hours of perusal of their entire women's clothing line turned out to be a great advantage to inventorying my existing garb and identifying what may still be missing. Ultimately, I decided to convert the orange dress into the same type of dress as their #3 by converting the front to a fixed curved seam, and moving the lacing to the side. In this manner, it can function as a supportive layer under just about anything, and can certainly work on its own if needed during the summer.

You can see here the three lines of fitting on one of the sides- the outermost was the seam as determined by the lining fitting, and the innermost seam is after switching the front to a fixed curved seam.
The alteration in construction required one more refit, and it lost another considerable amount all around. I believe the primary reason for that loss was because I'd introduced a curved into the front seam. In addition, I was very keen on trying to manipulate my bust upward enough to reveal how narrow my ribs are in comparison, without looking too comically top-heavy, and was therefore much more judicious in what I was taking off. I also ended up pulling a significant amount out of the shoulders. All of this working to take the pattern pretty far away from the lining pattern I had so painstakingly fit back in the spring.

After getting all four main panels of the dress sorted out, I decided to move forward with using the Elizabethan seam for the entire dress. After trimming all my seams down to 3/4" seam allowances, I began the hand-sewing phase by finishing the sides and shoulders with double folded hems, securing them down using running stitch with a matching cotton thread. I made sure that I marked on each panel the insertion points for the gores to make sure everything was lining up correctly.

Finished panels, waiting to be joined by the gores.
At this point, I've completed that first stage of finishing on all four panels, and now I'm moving on to the gores. I've accomplished more on this dress in the last 3 days than I had accomplished up to that point. I suppose, sometimes all it takes is rethinking a project in order to get it done!

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