After sorting out the foundation garments for this project (which you can read about here) I moved onto what became one of my favourite parts of it – the petticoat!
You may think, petticoat? How is that exciting? Oh friends I tell you, petticoats of this period are where it’s at!
Draping is not something I have a lot of experience with. So choosing a style to reproduce where one of the main features is a lot of draped tucks to create a very sculptural look was not a decision that was good for my stress levels. This part was far more intimidating than any of the hard-core foundation work that came before. I think a lot of my trepidation came from when I was working on my wedding dress. I spent at least 3 months trying to make a one-shoulder draped and ruched bodice work and just couldn’t. Ultimately I scrapped it and went for a much simpler design – ironically, it was taken from another Charles James gown! Aha…ha….ha.
I was scared to start this, so I put it off as long as possible. As part of procrastinating against the inevitable I decided to do a really nice finish to the upper edge of the bodice that would never been seen once it was finished. Unfortunately, I only remembered to take pictures after the dress was back on Maddy and ready for muslining the bodice covering. Putting the dress on Maddy and taking it off her again had got to the point of being pretty labour-intensive, so exterior photo of this only. Sorry! There was only a 1/4″ seam allowance for the bodic upper edge; what I decided to do was sew a length of narrow double fold bias tape around it, turn it to the inside and hand-stitch it to the bodice foundation interior. This did have the practical advantage of adding more substance to that edge so it would hold-up better when it came time to fold all the pleated fabric of the bodice covering over it. At least it seems logical to me that it would.
NB: the shoulder straps are not sewn to the bodice front here, just pinned. And no, you’re not seeing that wrong, they are not showing identical fabrics…..