For the month of January, I hosted a #wednesdaywinterhistoricsewalong on Instagram, and coordinated a weekly Zoom sewing hour with some friends to motivate us to do just a bit each week. I’m not good at chunking out a project in this way, usually I start dreaming that I’ll finish a whole project! I have all evening/weekend/afternoon/etc.! In reality I end up dithering over which project to work on and usually accomplish nothing. So I was genuinely surprised at what I could accomplish in just an hour each time we met, and despite the fact that I did all of it by hand instead of by machine.
The first thing was to finish attaching the bodice lining and lapel facing. This area was why I first was working by hand, because there were areas where I had about eight layers and even though my Bernina is a workhorse, figuring out the tension and needle and such would probably have taken longer. I might re-do the lower edge of the collar later, as the under collar shows. I’ve heard that you can cut an under collar smaller and that somehow prevents this problem but I’ve never quite figured that out.
When I came to the sleeves, I was suddenly reminded of the reason I had put this project off. No matter which way I put them in, they seemed to hang backwards! Eventually I noticed a difference between the location of the gathers in the instructions diagram (right up to the back edge) and where they were on the pattern piece (sort of in the middle). Once I re-sewed them to match the image in the instructions, this seems to have fixed it. Sleeves are often too large on me, so I am curious to try it on with my dress and see if the puff sleeves fill it out a bit.
I felt like I was making good progress, but I was then immediately stumped by the skirt. Following the directions, I simply used rectangles of fabric sewn together, and gathered across the back. This was done in muslin for a lining and to test it out. The curved lower back edge of the bodice, when matched to a straight edge, causes the center front edges of the skirt to pull back funny. I toyed around with it, but didn’t have much luck. I am going to try to cut the upper edge to be shaped, by using the skirt pattern from the S&S gown as a template.
That was as far as I got, because I was also finishing a report for a class I had to take an incomplete on, as well as preparing a presentation for my local JASNA region. Also, moving back to Rhode Island for starting a new semester takes some time too!
Even though it is unfinished, I am counting this as my Historical Sew Monthly 2021 January Challenge project (theme: Joy) because it brought me a lot of joy to sew with friends and also to feel like I was making headway on a project that has really challenged me. I’ve already talked about the historical accuracy and other details of the project in other posts so I’m not going to repeat them here.