Monday, 1 December 2014

Re-do, part 2 - The Politics of Fashion

Woo-hoo, my entry for the Historical Sew Fortnightly Politics of Fashion challenge (due Sunday 15 June, so only a mere 24 weeks late) is finally finished!

Done at last!

When last seen, my Wiener Werkstätte inspired dress was complete apart from adding the rose decoration. So, once the roses were finally (and flatly) made a couple of weeks ago, it should have been quick and easy to finish the dress.

File under "Good in theory". The roses and leaves on the dress sleeves and the corners of the organza overskirt were easy to attach, but the posy at the bust just didn't want to play at all.

Part of the problem was not so much attaching the roses, as working out where to attach them. Trying to do this with the dress laid flat on the table didn't really give a clear idea of how the finished dress would look. Trying to do this with the dress on Nancy usually meant that the pinned-on roses had fallen off by the time I'd got the dress back on the table to sew it.

Then there was also the question of how the fasten the velvet band round the bust. The band is sewn on under the flowers on the left, and the original idea was that it would be left loose to wrap round the back, and close with a hook and bar concealed under some of the flowers on the right. However it tended to slip on the organza, which left the join of the bodice to the skirt visible at the back. In the end I sewed the top edge of the band to the bodice/skirt seam all the way round to the placket on the right.

The velvet band sewn in place round the back

The part of the band which was originally going to be attached to the dress does not have velvet over it, it is just petersham ribbon. I sewed this in place with a row of stitches to mark the centre, then added one large rose and a leaf. Then I sewed another large rose and a leaf to the other end of the band. The third large rose was attached to the dress, above the band, A medium rose was added below this one. When I tried fastening the band, some of the petersham was visible, so I covered it with a scrap of green satin.

The trimming in progress, with the band unfastened

Next three smaller roses were attached to the dress on the left of the posy, while on the right only two were attached, with the third one was added to the loose end of the band. Finally leaves were added round the edges, with two filling the gap in the centre.

The dress fastened, with not a hook or bar in sight

Actually getting the hooks and bars fastened when the dress is on is quite tricky under all those flowers, but it works, and I think it is quite an accurate reflection of the fiendishly complicated fastenings of the period.

So here is the finished dress shown beside its inspiration. For some reason the bodice looks quite a bit longer on my version. Not sure how this happened, as I can confirm that the band on mine is directly below my bust (making it even harder when trying to find the hooks and bars to close the dress!). Still, I'm really pleased with the end result.

The original, and my interpretation