My Titanic dinner dress is finished, but before I reveal the completed outfit, I thought I would talk a little about the construction. I got quite long-winded so I'll break it up, focusing today on the underdress . I make no assertions that my construction methods are entirely period correct, but I did use the diagrams and drawings in Patterns of Fashion and Costume In Detail as a guide.
Because I had a very limited amount of printed charmeuse and wanted to use the border to full effect, the underdress constructed was fairly straight forward. I started by making a fitted square neck princess seam bodice from polished cotton. Each seam was boned and the bottom was bound with bias tape.
The finished boned underbodice
Originally, my plan was to construct the underskirt using a shaped skirt pattern, but I soon realized that would disrupt the border at the hem and it would be too difficult to match the pattern nicely. Instead, I draped the charmuese skirt onto the fitted lining, centering the design at the front and smoothing toward the sides. I put two pleats at each side and one at the side back to leave enough fabric to accommodate my hips and butt. I basted the charmuese to the lining by hand. The skirt center back was sewn using a French seam. I angled the seam from the waist out to the hem to leave as much width as possible in the hem so I can actually walk in this dress. No hobble skirt for me, please!
The side pleats stitched down
Using what little fabric I had left, I then cut a strip of the border to go across the bust down to the waist and attached to the lining by hand.
The front of the underbodice
Because I didn’t have a fully realized construction plan when I started the dress, I messed up the closures a bit. I had the underdress close in the center back, but the over dress closes at the side front. This wouldn’t have been too bad, just a little inconvenient, except the back of the overdress bodice crosses over and part of the underdress shows. Silly me! Rather than undo all my work and make the underdress close at the side, I created a flap using the rest of my charmeuse border lined in polished cotton that goes across the center back closing to hide it. The flap is attached at one side and then uses snaps at the top and other side to hold it in place. It’s an overly complicated closure and I don’t have any documentation to support it, but it was a logical solution to my mistake.
The back, closed.
The back, open.
Posted: 3/18/2012 12:14:41 PM
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