30 January 2008

Talking the talk, and cutting the fabric

Way back in April of last year, I mentioned plans for a court gown based on one in Très Riches Heures. Nine months later, I have finally convinced myself to cut into the very expensive fabric I'm using for the project. I'm using a very simple cut for the gown, to make best use of my limited yardage (6 yards, but only 30 inches wide, with a directional pattern to boot). The front and back are each cut in a single piece, the full width of the fabric - no center front or center back seams. All the shaping will be in the side seams. Triangular gores for the side seams finish out the width of the skirt. I've got enough room to adjust still that I could add center front and back seams, if I find that I need shaping there, but my muslin seemed okay without them and I'm hoping to avoid that if possible. The gown will be a pull-over-the-head style, more body-skimming than tight. Working with heavy satin is hard enough without having to mess with eyelets or buttons or even zippers. The 'sleeves' are completely open, just draped from the armscye. At the top, I've got essentially half of the typical sleevehead shape, just a simple arc, and they gradually widen out to 15 inches by about halfway down, and are straight from there to the bottom. I've decided on a white silk broadcloth for the lining, which will be cut the same way except longer in the body, so I can turn it up on the outside for the contrast hem. The illumination seems to show a patterned edge to the hemline; I'm still thinking about whether to attempt that or to go for a much simpler straight edge.

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