Monday, September 1, 2014

Inside the Robe de Madras

While I finish up some accessories to complete the look, I thought I'd share some of the inside of this dress. After all, the guts are my favorite part. I always look forward to seeing the insides of garments. Reproductions and originals.

The dress is mostly hand sewn. I only cheated on the long skirt seams. I have this weird, skewed view of hand sewing vs. machine, depending on the era. For 18th century, I enjoy hand sewing every centimeter. I revel in it. For mid 19th and forward, I mostly do machine, though I have been doing more and more by hand for convenience (yes, I just said that - I love hand sewing, both for the results and the process of it). 

For early 19th, it kind of falls in the middle. I don't reenact the era, so authenticity is for my enjoyment/education alone. I really enjoy sewing the fun bodice/hem seams, but get a little bored on the long skirt seams. I don't know, when 90% of the dress is done by hand, maybe I should just suck it up and get my running stitch on for those skirt panels... 

I will say, for 18th and early 19th, there are seams that are simply impossible to do by machine. 

Ah, here was a new one. On my other dresses of this era, I have just pinned the closures. On this dress I tried something different and did hooks on one side and eyelets on the other. I have not seen this in an extant dress, but it worked out great. The hooks go into the eyelets and the front is then very smooth under the bib. Also, having eyelets instead of metal loops doesn't cause the same pulling that can happen where the loops are stitched on. I like it. I'll have to look into seeing if hooks were even used for this at all. And hey, if not, I can always remove the hooks and just finish up that side with eyelets.

On a side note, that one layer of linen, at the front, is surprisingly strong! I tried on the dress without stays, after I had finished it, and the bodice really holds you up! It gives me ideas for a new, lighter, bust support, instead of my short stays, depending on the dress, of course.

The dress was based on the fashion plate of the same name. The pattern was draped over my Museo del Traje dress I wore to last years Jane Austen Evening. I love the fit of that dress. I only had to change the back closure to a bib front for this dress.

And my favorite part of any patterned fabric: the matching. 

I'm not kidding. I totally love doing this. It's like a puzzle! I love me some symmetry :)