1775 maja, 18th century, Costume College, events, projects

Maja Sleevage & Closures

Been plugging away on the Maja… first, in peering at the painting, I realized I had forgotten a section of embroidery on the waistcoat, along the neckline, on the “underside” piece (which doesn’t have any other embroidery).  Whoops!  So I opened the edge seam up and fixed that.  Then I took off the jacket facings/turnbacks, as I’d mismeasured and was missing a tiny corner of black near the bottom of the facing.  I had originally thought I would just piece in the missing square, but I hadn’t liked how I’d finished the edge.  Obviously the CF and bottom edge are bound in contrasting black; I assume the neckline is just sewn shut like a standard bodice.  I couldn’t figure out how best to finish the scalloped edge of the facing, though.  I had tried clipping and turning in the SAs, but that looked like crap, so then I tried continuing the binding all the way up the CF… and that looked like even more crap.  So, I pulled off the binding and the facing, made new black facings and re-embroidered them, reattached them, and then redid the finishing.  I ended up doing the SA turn in thing, but this time I basted the turn line, then basted the SA down, then edge stitched, then pulled out all the basting.  Lots more work, but it looks WAY better now!  I know this rework may seem silly, but I’m really trying to make this a “absolute best I can do” project (versus “I just want a pretty dress” projects, which I am giving myself permission to bang out).

So!  Amongst all this I worked on the sleeves — first embroidering the spangles on the sleeve and cuff, then putting it all together.  I couldn’t tell for certain whether the black under the sleeve closures (decorative? functional?) was an underplacket or faked by laying the black on top.  I decided it was a weird place to split the sleeve open — wouldn’t it make MUCH more sense to have a placket along the seamline?  So I applied the black on top, as that seemed easier.  I’m going to make the closures “functional” in the sense that they’ll tighten the sleeve up a bit at the wrist, but I’m not going to slit anything (ie I can get the sleeve on over my hand without needing to open anything).  I similarly wasn’t sure about whether that was a “real” cuff (as in lined and separate from the sleeve) or again just laid on top… when I peered at the painting, I didn’t see any real dimension to it, so I decided to just lay it on top and stitch it down.

I’ve also been on the hunt for the right closures.  I’d been peering at the painting again, plus Alyxx had some good comments on a previous post… so I’ve decided we’re looking at pompoms and toggle buttons with some kind of tufty action.  No problem, I thought!  I’ll just get some beads that are the right size, and thread something through them to make the tufts!  Except duh, how will I then attach the beads to the jacket?  So, I’m going to accept that the “right” toggle isn’t something I’m going to be able to achieve, and tracked down some vintage glass buttons that look very much like the toggles and will be ignoring the tufty bits.  I was surprised to find that there are many instructions for making pompoms online, and they’re really quite easy.  I wanted to use silk, so I went over to Needle in a Haystack (I’m lucky in having a really nice embroidery store in my town) and got some silk embroidery floss.  I made about half as many pompoms as I need (somewhere between 24-30, depending on what I assume is going on in sections I can’t see in the painting) before running out of the floss, so I need to go back and get more.  I’m also going to follow Shelly’s excellent suggestion (on a previous post) and make my own lucet cord.  It’s period, it looks like the painting, and it’s not too hard.  In order to see what it would do, I made a ghetto lucet tool by cutting the shape out of cardboard.  It looked good, so now I’ve ordered a real lucet tool and am waiting for that to show up.

I am considering what I’ll do if I can’t get this done enough in time for the CoCo gala.  I’d really like to wear this, and I probably will… but then I’ve wanted to make this outfit for SO long, and see again about this being an “absolute best I can do,” and I don’t want to have to skimp.  Right now, I’ve got done:  most of the bodice, the sleeves, base skirt is cut and assembled (minus pleating/waistband).  What I have left to do:  redo one more bit of embroidery on the bodice, make more pompoms, make lucet cord, attach all the closures, double check the bodice fit and then sew down the straps, attach the sleeves, cut out the skirt trim and apply it, cut out hem and attach the apron, pleat/waistband the skirt, knit the dorky pink snood, buy black velvet and make the montera cap, attach vintage flowers to the cap, cut black ribbons for the shoes.  Phew!  I THINK I can get most of that done — the big work is closures (making lucet/pompoms and attaching) and the rest of the skirt (trim/apron/pleat/waistband).  I COULD forgo to the dorky pink snood for this wearing, but I don’t think it’ll take too long to make.

If I can’t get this done in time, I guess I’d wear the 1787 roundgown… but while that’s pretty, it’s not really gala-worthy!  So I’ll focus on trying to get this done enough to feel like it’s wearable.

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1 Comment

  • Reply Loren July 16, 2011 at 3:27 pm

    It looks so cool! I hope whether you finish it completely or not that you wear it to the Gala, I’m dying to see it in real life.

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