More frocky goodness, Part II

On to the actual sewing part.....

Work has currently stalled on the Beaded Frock of Instanity, because I am perilously close to having the beading finished. What I need to do now is start putting the bodice together, so that I can ensure that all the beading patterns match up properly.

So, I have been fixing some of the problems with the black and gold Cranach frock that I made last year. Here's a slightly blurry photo of me wearing said frock (that I nicked unashamedly from Miss D, because it's the only photo that I have of this dress. Sorry D)

Now, the bodice is pretty good. I'm really happy with the way it turned out - there are a couple of things that I would do differently, but overall it's turned out well. I'll go into some of the details about how I built it a bit later.

The skirt was a disaster, which is odd, because you'd think it would be the easy part. The problem stemmed from the fact that the dress is made from a really soft wool twill. I has a beautiful hand, and a lovely drape, but realistically speaking, was too soft and drapey for a renaissance frock. So over the past couple of weeks I took the skirt off and re-jigged the whole thing. Firstly, I lined the skirt with a ramie-cotton blend fabric, which has enough stiffness to add some body to the soft wool. It's essentially bag lined - the inner and outer layers of the skirt are sewed together at the waist, right sides together, and then flipped inside out. This also meant that I had a nice clean edge to attach to the bodice. Around the hem I have sewn a deep band of......ahem, stiffening fabric.....(I'mnotgoingtotellanyonethatit'stullebecausethen they'llknow) which has the two-fold benefit of kicking the hem out, and helping the pleats form the deep conical shapes that you tend to see in the Saxon gowns in Cranach's paintings. If I were to try a more period approch, I would lean towards canvas, or a woven horsehair braid, although it's possible that I wouldn't need a layer of stiffening, as the quality of the fabric used is likely to be quite different. As all fabric in our time period (600-1600AD) was hand woven - and this is one of those times when the word "always" can be used with impunity - the weave was tighter, and the fabric likely to have quite a different drape. One of these days I'll pull out some of the documentation I've got floating around that talks about the making of fabric, so that I can back up what I'm saying here, but that's a project for later.

Once the fabric was lined, I could re-attach it to the bodice. I used some thick, felty wool to pad out the pleats in the back, but I left this out (this time) in the front, because I didn't want too much bulk over my tummy. Now all that's left is to hem it, and sew on some guarding to match that on the bodice. That ought to be fun - there's over 10 linear metres in that hem, that's a lot of handsewing.......Sigh! I will post some photos once I have figured out why the flash on my camera isn't working.

More frocky goodness

Further to the post before Luke Skywalker (yes, it was terrible) I was talking about the picture of the chicky with the red insert in the front of her frock. Well, here she is!

And here is a close-up of her tummy

It's an interesting view - and you can see how it could be interpreted as an under-bodice stiffened with boning or reeds. I am loath to use the word corset here. When I think corset I think of it as being a much more rigid undergarment, used to shape the body, rather than moulding itself to the body's natural shape, and just smoothing everthing out a bit.

May the with you.

Sorry.........just couldn't resist!