My website saga is almost as convoluted as this dress diary, so I decided to split it up into pre-2009 and post-2009 construction, since pre is pretty much a list of everything I’m NOT doing on this anymore. On this page, in each garment section I’ll recap the painful past, then hopefully move on to the finished product. I’ve kept the dates of progress and blog-style formats for updates to remind myself of how long this beast took!
It was done except for a little hand finishing, with it’s second version of trim on it and the patch of strapwork on the kirtle bodice.
Miss Alyxx, please come to the board and write 100 times… I will not rip apart and remake my kirtle bodice. I will not rip apart and remake my kirtle bodice. I will not rip apart and remake my kirtle bodice. I will not rip apart and remake my kirtle bodice. I will not rip apart and remake my kirtle bodice. I will not rip apart and remake my kirtle bodice. I will not rip apart and remake my kirtle bodice. I will not rip apart and remake my kirtle bodice…
Maybe it’s the Ides doing it to me, but I am immensely bugged by the trim contrast on my PDSvN kirtle. I got the back half of the skirt attached last night and I’ve started and stared at the front and can’t get over it. Ggggrrrrrr.
A short recap of my tale of woe, which began in 2004 when I started this gown. I really didn’t like the original under-sleeves so I thought I’d do a fake strapwork under-sleeve (like the Darmstadt doublet in Janet Arnold). That I liked. I tested my idea on a strip down the front of the kirtle bodice, which I liked, and thought I’d continue that down the front of the skirt instead of more silver passemeterie (of which I already had 55 yards of and would need every bit of it for the overdress). So far, so good, except when I started the strapwork on the sleeves it didn’t turn out very nice at all. After trying to apply it by hand which was too uneven to lay properly, and by machine which tore up the gimp no matter how fine a needle I used, I abandoned the idea. I have not yet decided how to approach new under-sleeves and will leave that to the last, I’m sure, but I have wasted a significant amount of my green silk in cutting all the little strips. Ggrrrr
So anyway, fast forward a few years. I find the perfect wide silver passementerie trim to place on the kirtle and I do so to my satisfaction. The problem is, the trim goes ‘round the hem and up the front, and stops at my little patch of strapwork. It’s not that I don’t like the strapwork; it’s that to my eye the trim should continue to the neckline. I like everything about this kirtle except that and I really am stretched for time. I don’t want to have to try and remove the strapwork and apply new trim because I know something would happen and I’d end up ruining it and I don’t have enough fabric to make a new one and it’s NOT GOING TO SHOW UNDER THE DRESS ANYWAY!!!
…I will not rip apart and remake my kirtle bodice. I will not rip apart and remake my kirtle bodice. I will not rip apart and remake my kirtle bodice. I will not rip apart and remake my kirtle bodice. I will not rip apart and remake my kirtle bodice. I will not rip apart and remake my kirtle bodice. I will not rip apart and remake my kirtle bodice…
I had to take the strapwork off the kirtle and add the new trim. I am weak and just couldn’t take knowing it was there, even if no one would see it but me. LOL!
Well, I’ve ripped all of the silver trim off the kirtle, again. That’s 2 trims down. I have the third (and final?) trim ready to apply.
I love hand-made trims. I luuuuurve them. I buy lots of them, usually from India, because I am too lazy and don’t have enough of my own time to make them myself. The trouble with handmade trims is that they can often be uneven, so getting two tows to match down the whole from of a dress can be infuriatingly difficult. I’m sure you know where this is going… one end of the trim I’m using on the PDSvN kirtle is decidedly thicker and with a larger repeat than the other. I can’t just wrap the whole piece in one line around the garment and run both ends up the center front. Noooooo, that would be too easy.
Harumph. I sense a lot of pinning in my future.
I FINALLY got all the trim on the overskirt of the PDSvN! Just a couple of rows left on the pendant sleeves and I can’t start putting the thing together! Oh, no I can’t… then I can start pinking & slashing the sleeve linings. Yeah, that’s next.
I’ve been drafting up the slashing pattern for the oversleeve linings and I did some tests on patches of the leftover silk and it doesn’t show up as well as I hoped. I’m enlarging the design to accommodate 1/2″ slashes instead of 1/4″ and that looks good. Now I’m trying to get the rows of dots to show. I’m working on a good quality, low-slub dupioni and I’ve tried small exacto cuts, a leather needle, sewing machine with heavy-duty needle and no thread, and an awl. The awl is the only one that makes any kind of mark you can see, but it’s inconsistent in size and distorts the fabric around the holes too much. It looks terrible.
I found success with a small leather hole punch.
I did get some work done on the PDSvN overskirt. The lining is partially in and I’m going to go cartridge pleat it now. The sleeve linings are all pinked now.
So I think I’ve realized the reason I haven’t finished that damned Pfalzgrafin gown is because I can’t stand the horizontal doublet stripes. I’ve never liked them but wanted to make the faithful reproduction. That’s the only part I don’t like of that gown, and I’m never going to finish it if I make myself make the part I don’t like. I’m ready to let it go…Now I like trim layouts of one of these… don’t know if I have enough trim to do the girl’s, but we’ll see… I am re-inspired! Not enough to actually sew, but enough to start thinking about the dress again.
I finally got back to the PDSvN gown which I’d REALLY like to be able to wear to the Joust at the end of October.
Order of operations:
sew on shoulder tabs (not on original dress)
add outer and back doublet trim
sew side seams
add waist tabs
figure out what I want to do with the damn hanging sleeves
Can I squeeze a pocket into the folds of the skirt before attaching to the bodice?
figure out what I want to do with the damn hanging sleeves – leaning towards stitching the pleats and using hooks & eyes. The originals were stitched on.
Getting the trim on and placed accurately took longer than I thought it would. I stitched it all on the dress dummy to avoid any weirdness from hanging weight vs flat lay. It means a lot of body contorting to sew down the back with my left-meathook-of-a-hand. *sigh* I have a huge knot in my back and have lost several layers of skin on my index fingers, but it’s lookin’ sharp! SO glad I finally jettisoned the horizontal trim stripes. I like it so much better this way. I guess I should start calling it something else now that it’s not a copy… Brutus. Brutus shall be her name!
BTW, the undersleeves pictured were made by Michaela de Bruce – I love them and will use them until I decide what to do for mine, or not.
Construction continued solidly through October and Brutus was FINALLY worn to the Tournament of the Phoenix on October 27th, 2012
I am really enjoying making hats right now. I started by making a pleated Italian bonnet for my client’s suit and thought, “Oh, I should have one of these for every outfit!” I’m well on my way!
I finished his striped orange one, and a mini black silk satin one for my Viscountess dress. Then I’m halfway through a mini teal one for this PDSvN dress, and a red velvet strap-work one I started for my article, and then I think I want a white one.
Each of these requires feathers curled for it, of course. And that takes a couple of hours to put together a plume. But I am really enjoying this far more than anything else I’ve made in a long time. HAT LOVE!!!
So, my problem is that I have piercings on the inside of my ears. I can get them out myself with pliers but I can’t get them back in. So every time I work with St George as the Viscountess, I have to go to the parlor and have them put back in. It’s a pain. So, I’ve been wanting to make a caul with a shaped band that would cover my ears so I don’t have to take them out, and I finally got it done! I used some leftover fabric from my Chaz II petticoat and shaped it so it sits right over my ears while still showing dangly earrings.