So I have spent most of my vacation working on my 1780s stays — my hope was to get them done enough (ie all the boning channels done and the pieces sewn together) so that I could start on my riding habit for Williamsburg. I have SEWED and I have SEWED and I have SEWED. Finally, I realized that wasn’t going to happen — I could probably get them done enough by the end of vacation, but what’s the point in rushing if it’s not going to get me time to work on the riding habit?
So I finally sucked it up and attacked the sewing room last night, which was in a massive explosionary state — about 3 different projects going, plus Dickens Fair packing/unpacking and costume bits not yet put away, plus it being the present wrapping room, plus it being the all purpose “crap room” while we had friends over at various points around the holidays. Ugh!
In the midst of cleaning, I re-found my 1540s Florentine dress, which had annoying bodice wrinkles. I had taken apart the bodice and removed the skirt, and then hung it on the back of my sewing room door for about a year. It was now piled under a 1950s crinoline and a few other random bits.
I’m going to the SCA West Kingdom’s 12th Night this weekend, and I have been supremely un-excited about my costume options (either of my Venetian dresses, which have been worn to death, and my Gothic Fitted Dress, which I wore in England and again at an SCA event last summer). Meh! So I looked at the Florentine, and thought, “No, I really shouldn’t… Oh what the hell!”
So I spray basted the bejesus out of the bodice, machine sewed all the trim back on, and started fixing all the other issues that I found with it. This may have been the most recalcitrant project EVAH: the bodice waist was too low in back, so I raised that; the gold lace didn’t match properly at the sleeve back seam, so I fixed that; now that the bodice waist was moved, the eyelets no longer lined up (although I suspect that this may have been my first attempt at spiral lacing, because I’m not sure if they lined up properly to begin with) — fixed that by moving the back trim to cover the existing eyelets, and am in the process of making new eyelets closer to the edge and (hopefully) properly aligned. In the midst of various try ons, I was surprised to find that the back was lacing shut without wrinkling — without boning. I’m hoping that this isn’t some freak occurrence, because I decided to leave off the boning I’d had there before — which lets me put at least one side of the lacing holes closer to the opening. I realized that the bodice may end up being slightly small, so I turned one side of the SB facings into tiny plackets. I sewed down some of the trim on the baragoni (sleeve top dealibobs) where it had pulled up.
And I did all of this last night! I had put off all of this rework because I was afraid it would take forever, but it all went spiffingly smoothly — of course, it helps that I machine sewed everything I could, realizing that this was not one of those Best Ever projects.
Now I’ve got to sew two rows of eyelets on the bodice, resew the sleeve lining to the sleeve at the wrists, and reattach the skirt to the bodice. I know when I made it last that I sewed the skirt higher up the bodice in back to try to fix the too-low waistline issue, but I’ve raised it a bit higher (maybe .5-1″?) — technically I should let out the skirt length by that much, but I’m planning to ignore it and hoping that that won’t cause any crises.
After all this, I really want to make one of those jeweled head pieces that you see in so many Florentine portraits. I poked through my jewelry making stash and found some possible items — but I’ll report back on how that goes after I’ve attempted it!
Edit: might help if I uploaded the pictures I took, eh?