The one thing I really love about the 1903 Edwardian Blouse pattern, is that the originals were so often make out of battenburg lace. I am not able to make my own lace, so I went on a search for some battenberg yardage. I found bits and pieces, but nothing of any size. And then I went to Ebay, and started looking for tablecloths. Still, most of the tablecloths had only a little lace around the edges, the bulk being a solid fabric.
And then I found it! A round tablecloth (72" diameter) with a lot of the lace throughout, and it was in black, no less! There was only the one, so I bought it and hoped it was big enough for a blouse.
So I fold the cicle in half, matching the lace patterns as much as possible, and layout my pattern for cutting. The cloth being round, means that the grain line was really the radius of the circle, from the center to any given point of the outside edge, and top being the center. The fold will be the center front and center back and the rest is in a big arc. I started with the front piece, and layed it out maximizing the lace around the neckline. I would have prefered to have the solid fabric band a little lower, but then I ended up with the solid center getting into the shoulder seam. I had to settle with what would fit. I then placed the center back, to line up the solid parts to the same level as the front. I was worried that the sleeves would not fit, and I would have to make the sleeves 3/4 length. But they fit perfectly, once I placed the sleevehead evenly on the solid center bit.
I know that I need to stabilize the neckline first thing, or it will stretch and do horrible things. So I quickly finish the center back edges, and do up the shoulder seams. Because of the lace, I did french seams to make them neat and actually hold a seam. I made the collar out of a cotton broadcloth, and put it on. This will be covered up with a stock collar that buttons on, so I am not worried about it not matching.
The side seams are next, and now its on to the sleeves. One seam, and gather the wrists to fit a cuff. For the cuffs, I started out with just the broadcloth. But it really didn't match well. So I added an overlay of the batternberg edge, with the edge just a tad longer than the cuff proper. Then sewed the sleeves to them. I love how the cuffs came out.
I also cheated with the cuffs, and made them slip on rather than button closed. I didn't want to have to play with button holes in the lace and everything.
Sewing the sleeves to the blouse propper was the most difficult part, I think. Half of the armhole is lace and stretching all over the place, and the sleeve head needed to be gathered to fit. The gathers fit perfectly onto just the solid fabric portion of the sleevehead, so that worked out perfectly. I kep thinking "shrink" as I pinned the sleeves in, to combat the stretch factor, and in the end it wasn't as hard as I thought it would be. Though I think I may the shrunk a little too much; the armhole seems a bit snugger than it should be. Hopefully, this won't be a real issue.
This just leaves putting the waist band and gathering the front to fit. Again, I used a broadcloth band. It will be covered up with a belt anyway. I still need to add hooks and eyes. but here it is, all put together. I made up a short stock collar with a battenberg overlay.. But for some reason, I forgot to put in on when taking the pics.
So now I need to make a back corset cover, and a black skirt and petticoat. And a black chemise and drawers. Yay, more sewing!
At long last, I finished this dress!!!
I actually finished this a little while ago, and I took pics of it on a manequin in my messy sewing room. But those pics just didn't do it justice, so I wanted to wait until I had a chance to put on the dress, and get some decent photos.
And so, here it is. It still fits, and I looks just like I wanted it to. Now I just need a new top petticoat to go under it. I think this dress is the lightest dress I have ever made. I think it is less that 2 lbs all together.
Here is the link to the new pattern, just to get this out of the way first: TV403 page. And now my story:
When I told my sister Laura I want to find ideas for and Early Bustle bodice, she was mildly interested in helping me look. For about 5 minutes. Undaunted, I pulled a dozen books off the shelf and set to finding the next "new thing." Every five minutes or so, I made her turn away from her computer to look at what I had found, receiving an unenthusiastic "okay..." to the proffered item at hand. After failing to really get her attention by the 10th try, I had to give up and try a new tactic. So the next hour was spent whittling down the list to 3-4 pics I thought might work. I then showed the short list to Laura, and asked her which one she liked the best. She picked one, and of course, I picked another.
The more she looked at the one she liked, the more excited she got about the idea of a new bodice. She already had a skirt and overskirt made up for a new dress, she just needed a new bodice to go with it. This would be the perfect match to what she needed.
But since I am the one who does all the work, I finally made the decision to do the one I liked, and "thank you for your help." Her response was to turn back to her computer and mumble "okay..."
So, over the next few days, I draft up the pattern for my new bodice. I work out the kinks, have it pretty much finished, and ask Laura if she wants to try it out for me. She says she is going to wait for the other one. This one won't really work right for the skirts she already made. Looking at her outfit, I can only agree. And then I start to think about it, what kind of skirt/overskirt would this bodice go with? Answer? Not much. As I picture the bodice paired with each of the patterns in the TV line, I am left with the realization that it just doesn't blend well with what I have.
I am forced to concede to Laura's wisdom, her bodice is indeed the better choice. A few days later, I show Laura the pattern for her bodice, and she says "Print that up for me, so I can make it." Laura, who hasn't made a bodice in over 2 years, started in on it right away. And even more surprising, she finished it in a couple weeks. OK, she still has some finish work to do, but it is wearable.
End result, I have to say, Laura looks amazing in this dress.
Truly Victorian has always been proud of being a small local company, that uses local services and products to produce our patterns. The one downside, is that we are then limited by local availability. Recently, our provider of paper for the cover sheets of our patterns, Kelly Paper, has cut back on paper types and styles. Specifically, the legal-sized, colored, cardstock sheets we've been using are no longer available.
Which left us with a dilemma. We could keep the color, but go down to a letter sized sheet. Or we could go with keeping the legal sheets, and loose the color, going with a white sheet for all the patterns. After much debate, and redesign, we have come up with a compromise, which I like even better than what we have now. I wish we had come up with this earlier!
We are going with white sheets and new colored print. Here is a sample of how it will look. The patterns will still be color-coded by time period, so you can easily find patterns that can be mix-and-matched for complete outfit. But the overall look of the patterns will be more consistent, for a cohesive, professional look. We will be gradually easing in the redesign, as we exhaust our existing supplies and stock on hand. I hope you all like the new look as much as we do!
We have a new pattern for the Edwardian enthusiasts. Edwardian Underwear - TVE02.
This pattern includes a chemise with inserts at the neck, French circular drawers with 2 leg options, and a corset cover with ruffles. We have even included instruction on how to turn the corset cover and drawers into a combination.
Time to start practicing up on your heirloom sewing! And if anyone is looking for some fabulous cotton fabric, I found some beautiful combed lawn sold by the bolt at Dharma Trading Co. They also had silk habotai, perfect for underwear.
Oh, need a pic...
I am hoping to get photos of the garments this weekend. I will post them as soon as I do.