Apr 24, 2017

Making an 18th Century Inspired Dress Part 2 | Making the Bodice

Today I'll be talking about how I constructed the bodice of my 18th Century Inspired Dress. If you missed part one where I showed how I drafted the pattern, you can read it here.

With my pattern drafted, I cut out my pattern pieces from my fashion fabric and lining. My fashion fabric was a wonderful gray linen and for my lining I just used bleached muslin.

Fun fact: the linen fabric I used was actually from two curtain panels that I bought from Goodwill for $10. Second hand stores are a great place to look for cheap fabric if you know what to look for.

My notions consisted of 1 inch single fold bias tape and a couple of pieces of spiral steel boning. I usually use plastic boning/zip ties, but I had a couple pieces of spiral steel laying around from an old corset I took apart and they were the perfect length.

On my muslin lining I traced where I wanted my boning channels along the center front and stitched the bias tape on to create the boning channels. Below is what it looks like on the wrong side and the right side.

Then I stitched all my bodice pieces together out of both the muslin lining and my fashion fabric pieces. Once they were all stitched I ironed the seams flat.

Then, with right sides of both my lining and outer pieces together, I stitched with a 1/2" seam allowance along all of the outer edges, leaving a small opening (about 5") in the bottom of the center back so I could turn the bodice right side out.

After it was stitched I trimmed the corners and clipped the curved edges.

Once the garment was turned right side, out I folded the edges of the opening in the center back in by 1/2" and used an invisible whip stitch to close the opening.

The finished back edge.

Next, it was onto the sleeves! I also cut the sleeves out of both the fashion fabric and muslin for the lining. The first thing I did was sew them each separately along the seam line with right sides together. Then, placing right sleeve lining inside of the right sleeve with right sides together, I stitched along the cuff and turned it right side out.

After a quick iron, I top stitched by hand around the edge of the cuff.

I seem to have forgotten to take photo's of it, but the sleeves each have a small dart just above the elbow that helps shape the sleeve. If you want to know more about that you can read my post about my 1770's Polonaise which used the same sleeve pattern.

After this, I pleated the sleeves towards the back and set the sleeves into the bodice by hand.

At this point, I put the jacket on Trisha (below) for a quick look at how it was looking. I decided that the front needed to be top stitched, but other than that it was looking good.

I'm still happy with how it turned out, but there's a few things I wish I had done differently, like:
  • Pulled the side seam further back so it was visible in the back.
  • added more boning or flat lined with a stiff fabric.

And that's it for today's post. I'll be posting about making the skirt next week.

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