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1875 candy cane dress

1875 candy cane dress, 19th century, projects

TA DA! …and quiz time!

I’m done! Wow! And it’s only Wednesday! Two full days before the event! This is a new trend!

I got all scientific tonight, doing everything in logical order — ie cutting all the ruffles/ruches, ironing all the pleats, sewing together all the trims, then attaching all the trims. Usually I’m way less streamlined, with lots of wandering the same route through the apartment over and over.

I knew I wanted to do something contrast-y with the sleeve trim, given that I was using the solid white fabric, but I wasn’t sure quite what. I got out a bunch of my fashion plate books and confirmed my suspicion that the trim needed to echo some other part of the dress — and since the bodice hem was echoing the overskirt, I thought I’d echo the underskirt with the sleeves.

So I ended up with a reverse version of the underskit trim — two rows of striped fabric in pleats (had fun reversing the direction of the bias stripe), topped with a solid white ruche on a red/white ruche underneath.

sleeve2 sleeve3

Finally, I sewed on the bodice hem ruffle and the ruche there (SO happy to discover I’d made extra ruches/ruffles when I was doing the skirt trim).

So now it’s quiz time! I put it all onto the dress form and sat down for my evaluation, and immediately started wondering about the bodice hem ruffle (the solid white bit). When I was looking at it in person, it looked like just a bit TOO much froof — but then when I took pictures with the ruffle showing, and then the ruffle tucked up under the bodice, I liked the with-ruffle better. It would be super easy to take off (I could just trim the ruffle underneath the ruche), but I’m just not sure!

What do you think?

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Finally, Sadie would like to say this:

deer mommee yor dres is FASINATING kan i put my maus under it and then hyd under it and atack the othr kat wen he waks by and wee cud shred it with owr litl paws it wud be SO FUN luv sadee


1875 candy cane dress, 19th century, projects

We have achieved sleeves!

Having a REALLY bad cold (literally two days on the couch with a fever) slowed down progress, but I wrestled with my mockup and finally got a sleeve that I liked. I realized that the problem was that the basic sleeve sloper I was using (drafted out of The Costume Technician’s Handbook) wasn’t fitted enough at ALL. Once I got a fitted sleeve, it was easy to add the flare below the elbow.

I also trimmed the neckline, and was thrilled to find that the extra top buttonhole is indeed covered by the trim, so I took off the matching top button and all is well! Yay!

Obviously I’m not going to be getting to the talma wrap, but I should be able to finish this for Sat. (GBACG day at Dickens Fair) with no problem. Just need to trim the bodice hem and the sleeves (still finalizing what I’m going to do there, but it’ll be a reverse color scheme — red/white trim on the solid white sleeves).

necktrim sleeve_mockup1 sleeve1

1875 candy cane dress, 19th century, projects

The skirts are done!

Now I just need to redo the sleeves and trim the bodice/sleeves. I’m HOPING to maybe be done with that fast enough to whip out the Truly Victorian Talma wrap — but we’ll see. It would be tres chic, but sanity (and sleep) shall prevail.

overskirt2 overskirt3 overskirt4 underskirt1 underskirt2

1875 candy cane dress, 19th century, projects

(Temporary) defeat accepted!

When, at 3am Saturday morning, the dress still wasn’t in wearable condition, I made the admirable decision to chuck it all, go to bed, and wear my black & ivory natural form gown. I worked and worked and worked, but it never happens as fast as I think it should.

Thursday night I made the sleeves. I thought I liked the mockup, but when I made the real deal I stopped liking it. I want to make it fit a bit more on the upper arm and then to flare out just from the elbow — right now it’s too much of a big tube. Forgot to upload photos, sorry!

Friday ALL day and night I worked on trimming the skirt. The pleats around the hem of the underskirt were the killers — it took a while to iron in the pleats, and then I had to pin each one into place before I could sew it. It looks fabulous, but it took most of the day.

At 2am I was finally making ruches, which I’ve got laid on here (not stitched) to see the effect (which is going to be really good!), but again, I was going to need a whole lot of ruching to make this thing wearable — plus I had yet to trim the sleeves. Sense ruled over sensibility, so to bed I went!

trim1 trim2 trim3 trim4

So! Now I will make this for the GBACG day at Dickens Faire on 12/11. Yay for new deadlines! Photos from the tea coming soon.

1875 candy cane dress, 19th century, projects

Confession time

I’ve been avoiding my blog like crazy, both because I’m deep in must-sew-deadline-approaching-mania, and because I’m irritated (just slightly) with one element.

The buttonholes took me THREE DAYS — but that’s what you get for making bound buttonholes, I suppose! This time around I used the method in the Reader’s Digest Book of Sewing (or whatever) described as “foolproof” — sounded good! I certainly need that when it comes to bound buttonholes! Basically there’s a whole lot of basting involved, which before you remove to complete the buttonholes allows you to measure so you can be sure there isn’t any wonkiness. This actually worked out well except for 1 buttonhole which is slightly wonky, but hey, I can live with that. I turned the stripe on the straight for some contrast on the buttonhole lips.

So then I made my covered buttons out of white taffeta and sewed them on…

buttons1 buttons2

…after which I was able to start binding the edges and finishing up the neckline, which is where the irritation came in. I wasn’t 100% certain about how the V-neckline would be affected by the front overlap, so when I finalized the neckline I realized that my top buttonhole is too high — it really should start one buttonhole down. I’m HOPING that once I put on the super-froofy trim, I can cover that buttonhole — in which case I’ll just take off the button and ignore it. Could be a whole lot worse, but it’s a drag because it’s not something I can rip out.

buttons3 buttons4

So now I’m onto piping edges and sewing in boning — the lovely Mercurio stopped by Lacis during a trip to the East Bay and got me boning and boning tape — yay! We love her!

And now I’m off to the race to the finish — and no, I CAN’T wear the dress without trimmings (I did buy pinking shears, so that’s good, right?). Besides, there’s no victory to attending an event unless you haven’t slept the night before, right? (But seriously… let’s just say I predict I’ll feel a bit peaked on Friday [cough cough]).

1875 candy cane dress, 19th century, projects

hee! i look like a big stripey candy cane!

Over the last few evenings I cut out the bodice (refreshingly easy as I had a separate piece of not-off-grain fabric) and basted together my layers, and then put together the main bodice pieces. Did the first try on tonight — the fit is a little weird around the armholes and neck because I haven’t clipped the seam allowance yet:

bodice1 bodice2 full1 full2

…after which I took in the darts just a smidge at the top (to get rid of that pointy thing) and took in the waist at the sides a bit more. I’m also going to lower the V neckline a bit to avoid the choking look.

Now I’m trying to gear up for buttons and buttonholes — le sigh! Seems like an awful lot of work making bound buttonholes, but you know me — no machine shortcuts here! I looked through a bunch of period images and fashion plates to see if anything used any other closure, but it seems like buttons were ubiquitous. Of course, I only have 8 covered button forms in the house, which necessitates another trip to Joann’s for supplies.

I also need to get boning for this. I never buy boning ahead of time because you never know what final measurement you’re going to end up with. I want to just do the easy thing and order online, but Lost Coast Historic Patterns doesn’t have the lengths I need, Greenberg & Hammer and Farthingales want me to spend my firstborn child on shipping, and we all know what happened with Grannd Garb when I made my 1910s corset. So it seems I’m going to have to call AlterYears or Lacis in the morning — maybe Lacis? I could just go over there, but when you live in San Francisco, a trip to Oakland takes about 3 hours round trip, and that’s just too much time out of my life!

Back to buttonholes…

1875 candy cane dress, 19th century, projects

Tonight I finished up the bodice mockup and pattern

Had to do some adjustments to the darts and finalize the neckline — I ended up just making the back rounded. I figure I’m going to put a big ruche on it, it doesn’t REALLY matter what shape it is. Plus, all the interesting shapes I was finding in fashion plates etc. worked better for tailored styles — the froofy ones like mine just seem to be round and froofy.

My left side (your right) is the fitted side.

bodice_mockup4 bodice_mockup5

Now if I can stay awake long enough, I’m going to start cutting!