This isn’t the most exciting progress post there will be for this dress, but you have to start somewhere, right? And while I’m currently much farther along on the dress than this, I think it’s preferable to keep the posts shorter and be able to publish them sooner rather than doing a single massive one that will take ages to put together. I think these are also more digestible ‘bites’ of the process. ;o)
So, this is the very first layer of the actual dress that I cut and put together, where it all starts – the silk taffeta bodice foundation.
I think the photos show what’s going on pretty well, so I won’t write a lot about this step, except to confess that I’m still fine-tuning the shoulder straps and figuring out their exact placement.
And to say that I think this is quite a pretty design on its own that I’d consider using as an outer bodice sometime in the future (probably several years from now so I’ve had enough distance from this dress, lol).
Next comes the innermost petticoat. The photo below shows how the three layers are arranged with the silk taffeta on the outside.
Here is one of the petticoat back pieces all put together, ready for seaming. I worked the three layers as one and finished the edges with seam binding. I don’t know how, or even if, the edges of the original(s) were finished, but I really like cleanly finished edges if possible, especially since the horsehair canvas is particularly fray-y. These layers together create a really stable and sturdy result without a lot of bulk. This will definitely be a technique I’ll keep in mind for any future projects that require a comparable degree of structure.
Here is the same piece from the underside, just for overkill.
Here is the innermost petticoat put together with the ruffle of dress fabric sewn to the hem and mounted to the bodice foundation.
I did leave the upper edge of this skirt layer raw so as to not create any additional bulk at the waist – ’cause no one ever wants that! I hand-stitched it to the bodice foundation with this type of hemming stitch:
I have a close-up photo of this stitching with the next step of construction in the next post.
I didn’t have a pattern piece for the bottom ruffle/flounce so made an educated guess on it. I cut it from 2 widths of the dress fabric (which is 54″/140cm wide) and with an angled upper edge so that the hem would be level all around. Then I just gathered it and machine stitched it to the bottom edge of the petticoat.
So, a short and sweet post today; next up – the buttress petticoat! (I just love being able to use the word ‘buttress’ in reference to a dress!)