Skirt shape

Have an idea but you just need someone else to agree (or disagree) be fore you go ahead as planned? Here is the place for feedback.
Iris
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Skirt shape

Postby Iris » Fri Nov 04, 2011 5:42 pm

I caved and bought a probably-1900 cotton skirt and a probably 1890 silk bodice from an ebay seller. I'm congenitally cheap, so I figured because we do house walks that cover a long span of years, I'd get a running start on a couple of outfits for my $26. Both are in remarkably good shape. Then there's the problem of shape: the bodice fits a 24-inch waist and I'm 25 1/2 - 26. No problem: insert additional lining and a gathered or pleated middle.
The question is choosing a skirt shape. Because the black faille bodice has lace trim at the neck and sleeves that alternates black fiber and dark brown metal (I'd never seen wire lace before - very cool) I thought a changeable brown-black would do for the skirt. The lace pattern is very simple: what looks like big bass clefs at the edge with four graduated smaller bass clefs inside each large one. Hmm. I could repeat that design on the skirt in soutache if it were a straight-front skirt like TV 261. Plates I've seen from 1890 look very similar, sans bustle. But maybe I want more drape to let the black-shot brown sparkle a little more? I've seen lots of drapy skirts in 1890 fashion mags. It seems like an even split between the two shapes in La Mode Illustre. (I don't spell in French.) Whadda you think?
Iris
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Re: Skirt shape

Postby Iris » Fri Nov 11, 2011 2:19 pm

Here are a couple of pix that show skirts that confuse me. I'm wondering if I should try for a hybrid of TV 290 (draped skirt) and TV 261 (four-gore underskirt)? Thanks for all opinions.
Attachments
1889_sep_petersons.jpg
These seem to be draped in front like 290 and also falling into big soft folds at the back like 261. What do you think is going on?
1889_sep_petersons.jpg (101.67 KiB) Viewed 14383 times
1890_8.jpg
Do these look as if they have overskirts? The blue has the right bodice shape but my sleeves are poofier.
1890_8.jpg (62.72 KiB) Viewed 14383 times
1889_may_petersons.jpg
Are these all really overskirts? My sleeves are very similar to the black dress, second from left, in length and lace edge trim.
1889_may_petersons.jpg (108.7 KiB) Viewed 14383 times
MaryGode
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Re: Skirt shape

Postby MaryGode » Fri Nov 11, 2011 2:44 pm

In the last plate, the one with your comment about sleeves similar to yours, they all look like two layers to me. I can't really tell what's going on with the one on the left, but the rest look like skirt/overskirt. Although the black one you noted could be a polonaise bodice, maybe..?
Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society. ~MarkTwain
Iris
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Re: Skirt shape

Postby Iris » Fri Nov 11, 2011 8:09 pm

Thanks, Mary,
My eye is getting better but still isn't as trained as experienced Victorian seamstresses. I like the draped fronts, but the overskirts don't seem as bustles as TV290. That's why I'm wondering if I should just go with TV261 to get the right shape. It wouldn't be hard to use just the back panels to make an overskirt, but I love, love, love the draped front. Which to choose. :idea:
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Re: Skirt shape

Postby Heather » Fri Nov 11, 2011 10:19 pm

Have you thought about the 1891 French Fan Skirt, TV294. It think that you want an 1890's type dress, but still like the swags of the late 1880's. That is exactly what this skirt does.
Iris
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Re: Skirt shape

Postby Iris » Sat Nov 12, 2011 6:28 pm

Thanks, Heather,
Yes, I thought of that first. There aren't photos of the back that I could find so I wasn't sure it would have the volume the magazine pictures show.
I won't get around to making it until after the holidays. My rush in deciding is the annual Field's Fabrics sale. This year it's 25 percent off everything in the store except more off on some fabrics. Wools, for example, are 50 percent off. You can see why I want to get my fabric ASAP. Their regular prices are better than JoAnn's and their quality is much better.
LidiaBest
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Re: Skirt shape

Postby LidiaBest » Sun Nov 13, 2011 2:06 am

Oh Field's! I haven't been there in years and only went once, to the Grand Rapids location. I got 4 yards of purple silk for only $2 a yard because it was on clearance! **sigh** I love that store.
Lidia Best
Iris
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Re: Skirt shape

Postby Iris » Sun Nov 13, 2011 7:30 am

The Field's in Kzoo is next to the airport and a friend says whenever her daughter flies in from Raleigh, NC, she insists they browse Field's before they go to my friend's home.
Iris
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Re: Skirt shape

Postby Iris » Mon Nov 21, 2011 1:13 pm

Finally shot some pix with brown-shot-black fabric and some braid I think might work -- but I'm open to suggestions on that. The front was shot with some of the new fabric that I'll probably pleat to enlarge the front. Does anybody know what those little fabric loops attached to the back of the armscyes are for? I'm still not certain about skirt shape. I can see why Heather said the French fan skirt might work well, but pix might influence her view: because of bodice shape and frou-frou-ness. If that's still the best choice, fine. If not, fine I'll go with another.I just don't want to screw this up.
Attachments
TV query inside.JPG
TV query inside.JPG (179.62 KiB) Viewed 14264 times
TV query back.JPG
TV query back.JPG (112.92 KiB) Viewed 14264 times
TV query front.JPG
TV query front.JPG (167.11 KiB) Viewed 14264 times
Heather
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Re: Skirt shape

Postby Heather » Mon Nov 21, 2011 1:34 pm

I am looking over the plates that you gave before. And 2 of them are 1889, which still have a bustle under them. 1890 looses the bustle fairly quickly. So I guess the biggest deciding factor here is, are you planning to wear a bustle or not? If you are wanting a bustle, then you choices are between TV261 and TV290. You can make a plain back on Tv290 if you would rather have a straight fall down the back.

If you don't want the bustle, then your choices are TV294 or TV298. TV294 has the rumpled front, TV298 is the plain slim front you see in 1890-1. The bodices don't change that much in this 2 year time span, so you can pretty much go with anything you like. SO the next big question, what do you want it to look like?

Oh, I can't see the loops in the photos, but I imagine those are hanging loops. They put loops at the armholes to hang up the clothes.
Iris
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Re: Skirt shape

Postby Iris » Mon Nov 21, 2011 3:12 pm

Thanks Heather. I was worried I was misdating the bodice. If it looks 1889-91 to you, I'm heaving a sigh of relief and getting down to a decision on the year.
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Re: Skirt shape

Postby Iris » Fri Jan 20, 2012 8:42 pm

OK, holidays are over, major curtain projects are nearly finished, time to think Victorian clothing. I found a book by Frances Grimble that gave me ideas for the 1889-1890 mini-era: Directoire Revival. So that's why the examples I posted looked as if there were skirts + two-thirds!
I'm planning to make the brown-shot-black as the underskirt with black faille that very nearly matches the bodice for the back using TV261-R as my pattern. I really like what Cynthia Griffiths did with her TV261 and it will be my partial inspiration skirt.
Where I'd like help is attaching all that back fabric to the waistband. Petticoats often were dropped below the natural waistline to minimize bulk and I've seen some surviving underskirts that were fairly flat and made of cotton where they wouldn't show under the overskirt. I'm assuming a big part of the reason for the underskirt construction was the high cost of fabric. I wondered if another reason might be to reduce bulk into the waistband.
Should I fuss with dropping the back of the underskirt? Is there another technique I'm missing? It just seems that two layers of 46-wide taffeta gathered into the back waist will be a lot of fabric.
Thanks in advance for all suggestions.
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Re: Skirt shape

Postby MaryGode » Fri Jan 20, 2012 8:55 pm

Are Victorian skirts ever made with cartridge pleats? That's the best solution for controlling vast masses of fabric I've ever seen.

How heavy is your taffeta? Have you tested any methods yet?
Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society. ~MarkTwain
Iris
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Re: Skirt shape

Postby Iris » Sat Jan 21, 2012 11:48 am

Thanks, Mary. Appreciate the suggestions.
According to Janet Arnold's "Patterns of Fashion", there's an 1890-91 light-weight wood dress in the Museum of Costume that is cartridge-pleated. There's an ottoman silk skirt in the Victoria and Albert Museum that uses cartridge pleating attachments to the waistband but the folds are four inches deep. All that is hidden by the bustle overskirt (she dated the dress to 1887-89.) Words cannot express how much I hate gauging. Give me pleats any day. I'll do it if gauging is the only way
That said, both fabrics are medium-light in weight. I haven't experimented because I haven't cut anything yet and don't have scrap to play with. I want the design clearly in my head before I set scissors to fabric.
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Re: Skirt shape

Postby Heather » Sat Jan 21, 2012 3:31 pm

I use 2 layers of 45" fabric across the back all the time. It is pretty much every skirt/overskirt combo to have this same amount of fabric. It all works, no problems. I've even done it with upholstery weight fabrics. It seems like a lot when you first get into this period. But you do get used to it. So long as you have a good sewing machine that can handle the bulk, it's good to go.
Iris
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Re: Skirt shape

Postby Iris » Sat Jan 21, 2012 4:41 pm

OK, Heather. I trust your judgment completely. There is a wuss factor at work here.
Iris
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Re: Skirt shape

Postby Iris » Sun Feb 05, 2012 4:40 pm

My black faille arrived for the overskirt in back, but it's shinier than the bodice. The reason is the weave: the bodice is an unusual faille with the ribs offset every eighth of an inch and the new faille's ribs are straight across. This difference reflects light differently, so the bodice appears less shiny.
Any ideas short of sandpaper on how to dull down new faille?
On second thought, I have enough very fine sandpaper around to do that.
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Re: Skirt shape

Postby SarahS » Fri Feb 10, 2012 3:02 pm

Well if the sand paper doesn't work you could try some experiments with bleach solutions. It will get rid of some of the shine, but whether you can find a solution that won't fade the color too much or damage the silk I don't know, but if you have enough scrap material it might be worth a try...I did this by accident once.
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Re: Skirt shape

Postby Iris » Sat Feb 11, 2012 10:35 am

Thanks for the idea, Sarah, but bleach scares me silly. Chemistry was never my best class. I've noticed that either I'm getting used to it, or household air pollution may be sufficient to dull it down a hair. The more I look at the new faille and the bodice together, the better I like the overall appearance. This is my first dress of this era and I'm just panicking. Civil War era dresses (except for Heather's major ball gown) are just lots easier, and by 1895, skirts are easier.
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Re: Skirt shape

Postby Erin » Tue Feb 14, 2012 12:53 pm

Hi ladies - I teach chemistry, so perhaps I can help explain a bit. Sodium hypochlorite (common household chlorine bleach) is a strong oxidizer. The chemical composition of animal fibers such as silk and wool is protein strands. These unarmored strands can't withstand a strong oxidizer, and will actually melt (destroying chemical bonds) when exposed to one. This is why exposure to bleach dulled your silk, SarahS - it actually dissolved some of the surface fibers. This is also why you test a fabric's wool content by soaking a small piece in pure bleach and seeing if it dissolves. Cellulose cell walls found in plant fibers (cotton, linen) are stronger and much more resistant to oxidation, which is why you can bleach those fabrics without damaging them. Also note - these are the same reasons why you should NEVER use OxyClean on silk or wool or other animal (protein) fibers. HTH!
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