30 December 2006

Kampfrau gown assembly

Originally uploaded by Catrijn.
I've sewn all the pleats down onto the linen tape, and then pinned the whole thing onto the bodice to re-check fit. I apparently drafted the bodice a bit too long-waisted, and had to move the skirts about an inch higher than expected. It's just as well, because the bottom edge otherwise would have needed to be shortened. The extra-wide seam allowance is nice too, because it looks like I'll need to tack the backside of the pleats down to it in order to keep the seam allowance pointing down rather than up. I think I need to put in most of the hooks and eyes so I can actually try it on properly before I actually sew the waist seam, since it's hard to tell how high or low the center front will hang when you're just holding the edges together with your hands while you're wearing it.

Obviously, I don't have a dress form, so it's a little hard to set gowns up for display or photography. I almost bought one this week, but they are expensive, and I spent my money on fabric instead. (6 yards silk-faced brocade, navy blue with gold fleur-de-lis!) Once the front closure is ready, I can hopefully get some pictures with me modeling it.

27 December 2006

Kampfrau gown - skirt assembled and pleated

Originally uploaded by Catrijn.
Since the last update, I've sewn the side seams and a front opening on the skirt panels, and, as the picture shows, pinned the pleats in place. I've pleated onto a linen tape that is cut and marked to the measurements of the bottom of the bodice. That gives me a bit more stability to pick things up and move them around compared to just pinning the fabric to itself. I can also completely sew down the pleats before attaching to the bodice, while still being assured that it will line up correctly.

I've used a combination of stacked pleats and box pleats, which are structurally and visually similar. The skirt panels are divided equally between the four bodice sections, but the back sections are significantly narrower than the front, so I was able to get 5-to-1 stacked pleats all across the back. (I find that stacked pleats behave a bit better than the roll pleats that Kass mentions in the directions. Both styles have the same take-up.) Because the front sections are wider, I have just a couple of stacked pleats at the sides and then switch over to box pleats. This leads to less fullness in the front, which isn't really a bad thing, but if I'd had enough material, I might have preferred to add width to the front skirt panel so that I could do stacked pleats all the way around. It seems to hang quite nicely, though, so I'm happy with the way it is. Of course, the material has so much body that it quickly falls out of the pleats and into much larger, looser folds.

Next, I'm going to sew the pleats down to the stay tape, and then attach the skirts to the bodice. Then I'll either put in the front closure (hooks and eyes, I think) or finally get started on the sleeves. I still haven't decided whether I want to line the sleeves, though, and I''m not totally sure what fabrics I'll use for the cuffs. (I cut pieces for doing main fabric + contrast fabric, but I'm thinking of maybe doing both sides in the contrast fabric.)

15 December 2006

Kampfrau gown - skirt update

I've sewn the guards down to the skirt panels; about two evenings worth of work. I did end up moving the top band down by about an inch, so the spacing is a bit better. Other than that, though, the panels look a lot like they did when the guards were just positioned rather than sewn, so no new pictures yet. I probably won't have much of a chance to work on this project until after Christmas.

11 December 2006

Kampfrau gown - skirt panels

Originally uploaded by Catrijn.
These are the two skirt panels laid out with the slashed guards on top. They look kind of skimpy when they're just flat like that, but the pattern tells me that two 60 inch panels is quite reasonable, so I'm just going with it - that's all the fabric I have.

I bought a rotary cutter and mat just to do the little football cutouts on the guards. That was a lot easier than using scissors like I did for the bodice. The corners aren't half as precise as I'd like, and I had to go back and trim most of them with scissors, but really they look pretty good when you're not peering at them from 3 inches away. The only thing I'm thinking about changing is the spacing of the bands; I might move them closer together. I need to get them pinned down where they are now, though, so I can hold it up to see for sure.