Present tense for the Project Diary!
FITTING THE MUSLIN
MATERIALS & LAYOUT
The first problem is the lace, which is damaged goods. It has a "stain". But since it comes on a roll, the stain goes through layer after layer, making a dotted line of yellowed stains all along the top of the piece. And whatever stained it was corrosive, because the stains are brittle and falling into holes. Before I do anything, I wash it all to get the last of the corrosive stuff out and see what I really have to work with. The stains fall out of the lace, leaving regular perforations which you can see below. (Also leaving a mess in the washing machine!)
So to get the dress cut in lace, I have to be careful about layout. The front piece can be cut on the fold, as long as I make sure the corroded holes aren't in the area, and the back pieces have to be positioned so the pointy tip of the train goes between holes. I also take care when cutting out back pieces to lay the one piece atop the other and line up lace motifs before cutting the second one, that way I can get a nice symmetrical look to the center back seam. The sleeves are cut cross-grain to use the scalloped edges as a natural hem. As for the scalloped edges that were next to the other pieces, I salvage them carefully to make a trim.
The blue satin was in fine shape, and there was tons of it, so I was able to get all the pieces I needed on grain. The back pieces flare out to make a train, so I unfolded the blue satin and cut one piece at a time to get the width I needed. Below is the front piece being cut on the fold:
Notice the old flowered sheet fabric sewn to the bottom of the muslin? That's the added length I knew I needed: a full inch plus hem allowance in the front, tapering at the side seams to join the train in back.
Because the blue satin was ravelly, I used lace hem tape as seam binding for the center back seam, and did the other seams as French seams. The reason the back got the lace treatment was that I would be ironing that seam open and inserting an invisible zipper at the top, so each piece had to be finished separately. The side seams and shoulder seams could be ironed to the back and done.
ANOTHER HORSEHAIR HEM
Remember the horsehair braid tutorial from way back when? Here I go again!
FINISHING DETAILS AND PICS
On the Blue Dress: snap-catchers in the shoulders, invisible zipper, HH hem. On the lace dress: scalloped hem, buttons. Lace attached to blue dress with three snaps: one at each shoulder, and one at the bottom of the hem. Lace and blue dress bustled together as one layer with two hooks and eyes.
Quilting, dressmaking, and history plied with the needle...
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