Thursday, May 13, 2010

Tudor Gown: Smock and Petticoat

Last night I finally begun the actual pieces for my Tudor gown! I have completed patterns drafted for my smock, petticoat and kirtle. All that's left is the gown and farthingale (which I haven't decided if I will make or purchase.

Due to my budget I decided to go with a lightweight muslin for the smock instead of linen (which I would much prefer!). For a base piece, although I would love to be as period as possible with my fabrics, the muslin will have to do for now. I began cutting and sewing last night. Despite the many garments that I've made I had never actual done any french seaming. Most of the garb I've made was really just whipped up and though construction was done well it wasn't done as properly as it could have been. I don't own a serger and wanted all of my seams finished on this piece. Since I'm taking the time and making the effort to draft the pattern I figure this one should be done right. :) I finished the smock on the machine fairly quickly and spent the next couple hours catching up on my stories and handsewing the arm holes so that the seams were completely encased. Even though it's a simple garment I'm really proud of the way it came out so far! I have yet to finish the neckline, as I must wait until the kirtle is finished to get the proper fit, but the seaming is lovely and it will be so comfortable to wear.

Today I began cutting the fabric for the next layer - the petticoat. While traditionally they are red I wanted something more earthy so I chose a dark, chocolately brown taffeta. It reminds me of a Dove chocolate commercial, where the chocolate is flowing and silky looking... mmmm... Thus far the lining is cut and after I grab a bite to eat I'll work on the top fabric. I really can't wait to get sewing on this one. With any luck I'll have the day off of work (I'm an on-call) and I will be able to finish the entire garment today, with the exception of maybe the hem, which is to be hand sewn down in a herringbone stitch, something else I've never done. I think I'm going to use some of my scrap taffeta and practice before I potentially butcher my gown though. lol Hand sewing is not exactly my strong point but that's half the fun of making this outfit - it's challenging me to learn new skills and really get outside of my comfort zone.

Later that afternoon...
So, I worked on the petticoat more since I didn't have to go into work today. Woohoo! I got a lot accomplished. I was able to cut out all the top fabric, put together the bodies and skirts of the lining and taffeta and make a few yards of bias tape from my leftover taffeta to finish the bodies.

Next up is hand sewing the entire hem of the outer layer of the skirt. It's going to take a while but I really want to make this gown special so hand stitching it is! It'll be good practice too since I'm not that familiar with that stitch. It seems to that it will be a tedious yet rewarding evening. :) Once I'm good and sick of the Herringbone stitch then it's on to pinning my outer skirts and lining together, knife pleating all around, finally sewing the bodies to the skirt and finishing it all off with hand sewing the lining down to cover the seams along the waist. Whew!! lol

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