1886 fancy dress "champagne", 19th century, projects

Champagne: Nearing the Finish Line

I’ve been sewing away on the champagne costume and am nearly there.  I managed to get the sleeves and trim on the bodice, add the gold netting to the neckline, and make the gold netting underplacket.  I’ve been wibbling about how to close things — I want to do whatever is lazy and easy, but none of my options seem to be either!  I want the LOOK of a laced bodice as in the original fashion plate — I like the contrast of the ribbon on the netting.  I kept thinking about ways to fake it, but they seemed harder than just sewing lacing rings on the damn thing.  Only problem is I only have 6 lacing rings on hand, so I decided to try using some of the flat sides of grommets as well — essentially works, but they are wide, and long story short I had to take them all off anyway, so I may hit the hardware store tonight and see if I can find some other kind of substitute.

Here’s the crappy late night cameraphone try-on pics, in which you can see my problem (other than the one lacing ring that snapped off, hence the wonky lacing) — it’s too big!  Not if I close it all the way, but I was conservative in how much I cut out of the front to make the lacing gap, because nothing is worse than thinking you want an X wide gap and then you try it on and that X has doubled, but the thing closes edge to edge.  I tried lacing it a little bit loosely, especially on the top half, just to see the effect of the netting and lacing, then in a fit of craziness took off the gold balls along the front edge, cut off a bit more from the CF, and resewed it all (all while watching “Sparkle,” which I can report is pretty shlock-tastic).

Front, a little wonky because of the too-big issue!

Le side!

Back, looking a little limp below the waist b/c of no bustle/skirts.

Also, the cats report that Mom wandering the house with a really long ribbon trailing from her bodice = GOOD TIMES.

The sleeves took a couple of tries just to figure out what I was going to do.  Originally I thought whatever I’d use as the gold netting would be the sleeve too, as in the fashion plate, but after scouring Joann’s I couldn’t find anything in the right shade.  I’m weird, but I love the caramel-y gold color of the taffeta I’m using for the hat, and all of the nettings I could find were either too yellow-gold or too brown or not sparkly.  Whatever, Joann’s!  And here I thought you were a bastion of sparkly synthetic craptastic fabric.  I even checked the casa collection aisle, which was terrifying!

So first I decided to make the sleeves in the same gold taffeta as the hat, and even got so far as patterning the same shape from the fashion plate (narrow cap, wide hem) and hemming it, only to discover that my armscye was WAY bigger than my sleeve sloper’s armscye.  As I was pondering my options, I was worrying about having a dark green dress with random gold sleeves, and hit on the idea of doing an overlapping tulip sleeve in the few scraps of the green velvet that I had left, and then trimming it with Yet More Gold Balls.

So, what’s left:  find more lacing rings, sew those on, add one more row of gold ball trim to the skirt, widen the skirt waistband about .5″, and throw together a necklace out of yet more gold balls.  Oh, and figure out how I’m attaching the champagne label — I think I’ll just tack it to the underskirt and call it done!

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  • Reply Trystan November 30, 2012 at 11:35 am

    I love the gold balls! They look awesome w/the green :)

  • Reply Lindsay T December 1, 2012 at 9:13 am

    Ditto Trystan’s comment! Also, for lacing rings I love to use the ring half of toggle necklaces – I think I stole that one from Jen years ago…

  • Reply Adrienne Myers December 1, 2012 at 9:30 am

    The half toggles are pretty good for lacing rings. I got mine at the craft section of the dollar store, so I have about 40 of them left. I am diggin the gold trim on the petal sleeves. So charming.

  • Reply Danielle W December 1, 2012 at 10:28 pm

    The tulip sleeves are really lovely. Can’t wait to see the finished product!

  • Reply Dickens! | Historical Personality Disorder December 2, 2012 at 4:51 pm

    […] fact that I was scandalously dressed as a boy, and was palling around with one woman dressed like a champagne bottle and another dressed like a bee, we felt it wouldn’t be prudent to stay for very long at […]

  • Reply Jennifer Rosbrugh December 6, 2012 at 6:51 pm

    I love what you did with those floral stem balls! Fabulous. And I loved the cork hat too. :-)

  • Reply Cynthia December 10, 2012 at 11:55 am

    You looked fantastic at Dickens! I wish we’d had more time together.

  • Leave a Reply to Lindsay T Cancel Reply