Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Summer Project #1 - Medieval Dress - Part III

Well, it's been a while since I wrote about this, so if you need a refresher or you haven't read the first two parts, please see Part I and Part II.

So the cutting was going to be a challenge. I had a very limited amount of fabric and a set number of pattern pieces that I absolutely needed to cut. Since I wanted to waste as little fabric as possible, I decided to create a marker. If you don't know what that is, and/or you wanted a detailed explanation of how I went about making my own makers, you can read that post here. Here's what I ended up with:

Creating my own marker helped me see that I had enough room for five godets!

So I cut out all the pieces and started sewing them together. I first attached the godets to the dress panels, aligning the bottoms (which would later turn out to be a mistake). After the godet was inserted into the open seam, I pinned up from the point of the godet up the rest of the seam, like so:

1) Lay out the godet within the seam, not forgetting to true your pieces so the ends all match up nicely.
2) Pin and sew the godet to one side of your seam, right sides together
3) Now do the same with the opposite side.
4) Finally, close the rest of the seam - if you're ambitious you can combine steps 3 and 4.

Of course, I managed to forget to true the seams, so I ended up with this:

Neither of my seams matched up...

So after I re-finishing all the seams and godets, I cut the sleeves and inserted them. I decided the gown needed something more, though, so I went out to my local fabric store to pick an elegant lining for the sleeves. I was very lucky to find the perfect fabric on sale for $5/yard. It had an elegant border which I decided to use to my advantage.

By placing the sleeve pattern right against the decorative border, once I set the sleeve in, I would be able to wrap the border around to the exterior side. I also used some of the border along the open top seam of the sleeves and around the collar. Here is the end result:

The wrapping of the sleeve border is clearer in this picture.

This detail of the sleeve shows what the border looks like on the outside of the sleeve.

Once that was done I had my cousin come over for a fitting. Unfortunately the chemise was too tight around the bust, and she couldn't easily lift her arms - which was a problem considering she needed to dance in this costume. So, back to the drawing board... After careful consideration I decided not to re-cut the bodice. Instead, I chose to rely on a good old Medieval friend again: the gusset.
As I will explain in my main article tomorrow, gussets can be used in a variety of ways to expand seams where extra movement or give is necessary. These are not to be confused with the godets mentioned above (more here).

Side view of chemise with arm raised, before expansion...
...and after the expansion.

Before I added the gusset, the area pulled and tugged around her bust and bicep. After adding the gusset, it fit quite well. I think it's clear from my illustration exactly why it is called a kite gusset.

Once I finished fitting the chemise the second time, I had only to finish the neck. I decided to use bias for that. I made two eyelets near the center of the front bias, then wrapped this around the front of the chemise, where I had already attached the two pieces of cording.

I think the whole thing turned out pretty well, and I heard the dress received nothing but compliments at her Medieval Fair. She was the only one there with a home-made costume.

Stay tuned for the final installment in this exciting series: Pictures!

Nostalgically Yours
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1 comment:

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