Saturday, April 4, 2009

Massive update

Well, it has been a while since I have gotten around to updating here, and I have worked on so many different projects between now and the last time that I did! I keep remembering ones that I still need to photograph...

But anyways, I think I will start with a project that I started working on in January, and only yesterday got back to:

Open Robe/Gown c. 1795

I have wanted forever to make one of these, and every time I saw one in Sense and Sensibility, I would say to myself that I was going to. So, finally, in January I started to look into finding the pattern for one. I ended up going with the V&A diagram from Patterns of Fashion, 1660-1860 by Janet Arnold. I also referenced the diagram by Norah Waugh in The Cut of Women's Clothes, but since hers was without a grid, I mostly used Arnold's. This was my first ever attempt at scaling up an entire pattern (I drafted up some sleeves for my cranberry gown), as well as my first extant-gown-based pattern. After working with simplicity patterns (although they were wonderfully easy to use, I must say) and being frustrated by the less-than-period-correct aspects of them, I was very excited to attempt this gown. Not to mention, there was basically no other choice. At least from what I could find, there were no patterns on the market that really resembled what I wanted to make. Even if there had been, it probably would have been cost prohibitive anyways.

So, I went to work scaling up, by hand...which was a trick with limited space and curly wax paper, but I managed to draft the pieces out. Then, upon making a quick muslin (which I am now using old sheets from Salvation Army and other such thrift stores, and what a wonderful bargain!), I realized that no, I would not magically be the same size as the original owner. Thus began the re-scaling to fit my own measurements. I managed to create nice, correctly sized cloth pattern pieces, which I proceeded to hang up on the wall and not touch until two days ago.

Now, I have managed to get most of the way done on this piece and I am pretty happy with it. It is made entirely of old sheets, but I actually sort of like the color of the fabric. Its too thin really to work effectively as the jacket/robe it is supposed to be, but oh well. Its still really just a practice and hopefully I will eventually make a nicer one. But for now, it works.

Excuse the crappy images, I couldn't be bothered to clean up the shots too much as they are still work-in-progress images. I still need to drape and sew the right side front, and attach the pleats to the lining...not to mention hem. More pics to come when it is all done. Also, it is pictured here with my cranberry gown underneath...which is its self terribly wrinkled as I dragged it out of a drawer just to see what the robe would look like over something. Hopefully I will get to blogging about the cranberry gown soon, and maybe I will even iron it! lol.

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