Tuesday, May 17, 2016

New 18thC Stuff!

The blogging continues!

In the swirling insanity of this semester's finals, I managed to actually squeeze out two new 18thC outfits. The first was for myself - a new gold caraco. I loved the fabric I had used for my 1890s ballgown so much that I decided I needed to make something 18thC out of it. Thinking I had a good three yards to play with, I drafted up a pattern and set to work.

Unfortunately, once I actually took out the fabric I had left, I discovered that I had about a yard and a half, and a bunch of scraps.  Eep!  But I am a master fabric finagler. Instead of cutting the caraco en forreau like I wanted, I instead made it as a quarter back bodice with a separate skirt. The skirt was cut out of two full-width panels of fabric that were 20-inches long and then pleated to the waist. There wasn't a lot of fullness to work with, so I couldn't get the big pleats that I wanted, but I did have enough to make some nice pleats at the sides and at the side back and back seams, so it all worked out in the end. After a day of staring at fabric, cutting fabric, worrying over fabric, and finagling things, the caraco was about 80% complete.

Thankfully I had an old petticoat that worked perfectly with the fabric. It's such a perfect match, that I'm thinking of going back and getting more to use to redo the front panel of the 1890s ballgown so it matches better. I also had a stomacher made of the same material, which meant I didn't have to try and make one out of the caraco fabric. Za!

I thought I would have enough fabric left from cutting out the main caraco to do some self trim along the gown edges, but once I saw how little fabric I had left, I began to worry that I would have enough to even do the sleeves.

I made a quick trip to the fabric store hoping to find something for my fella (that's another post), and managed to find the exact same gold fabric the petticoat was made of! They still had it in stock, even though I had bought it about 10 years ago! It was amazing, and I couldn't pass it up. I bought a yard to use as trimming so I could use my few scraps to piece together some sleeves.

And piece I did. To make things easier on myself I used a two piece sleeve pattern, but even that had to be broken up into smaller pieces. Each sleeve ended up being about four pieces that were stitched together with tiny, tiny seams and lots of hopeful thinking.  I managed to hide the biggest seam with some trim, and the sleeves ended up looking a lot like the ones on the caraco in Janet Arnold's patterns of fashion, so I call that a win. The only real piecing seam that's visible is on the inside of the arm, so it's only really noticeable if I gesticulate wildly.

Overall, I'm pretty happy with how it turned out. I wish I'd had time before the event to add some lace to the sleeves, but otherwise everything turned out pretty much as planned. The sleeves were the biggest hassle with the piece that needed to be done, and the extra trimming to cover the weird seams that resulted, but everything else went fairly smoothly! Next time, I'll talk about the 24-hour suit I made for my fella for the same event.

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