Wednesday, March 13, 2013

What Happened to the Semiformal Dress? (1950s skirt and petticoat)

I started and finished the skirt in a matter of hours.  It probably would have been less if I had been paying more attention to what I was doing, but alas.

Recall from the inspiration post that the skirt is a simple circle skirt.  Since hemming circle skirts has been, in my limited experience, decidedly not fun, I made a lot of 1/2 in double fold bias tape out of the skirt fabric and used that to bind the edges.  In hindsight, I realize that it would have been just as effective (and probably nicer looking) to use 1/4 in double fold bias tape.

Coil? of bias tape
I pinned the bias tape whilst watching Foyle's War with my family.  My dogs decided that my skirt looked very comfortable.   I came back to my seat once to find this:

One dog in the place of honor atop the skirt and one lying half under my chair.  And they're not small dogs, either.
I used one of the few decorative stitches on my machine (and by decorative, I mean not simply a straight stitch) to attach the bias tape.  It's "decorative" in that the needle makes each stitch twice, which gives it the illusion of being thicker.  In hindsight, it's completely unnecessary.  It adds nothing to the design.

I cut a placket (at least, I think I did -- I have no idea what that thing is called) about six inches deep at center back and bound it and the waist with bias tape (hindsight says that I should have made an actual waistband).  Of course, being the brilliant thinker that I am (sarcasm), I didn't check my math when I was cutting the fabric and so the hole for my waist ended up being way too big and I didn't realize that until I had finished binding everything (and I didn't even think about trying it on until I was done).  I fixed the size issue by taking out a good three inches on each side.  Seriously.  Imagine making two huge darts, one at either side.  That's what I did -- none of this fancy "multiple small darts" thing.  Oh hindsight, you really are amazing.

The skirt closes in back with a hook and eye closure, but I'm not happy with it so at some point I'm going to make it close with button holes.

I started the petticoat a very long time ago and finished it a very long time ago.  It was supporting my skirt during the Steampunk Symposium in January.

Let me begin by adding my cry to the complaints of seamstresses around the world: tulle is evil!

It's very hard to cut into even strips (I eyeballed it with a ruler and pins).  It slips and slides and stretches and ugh!  But, it doesn't have to be hemmed, which almost completely outweighs the slipping and sliding in my book.  Not completely, but almost.

I feel like the biggest problem with this particular project was that it didn't seem like a garment until it was done and wearable.  The tiers spent a lot of time looking like long strips of tulle and it was not until the entire thing was assembled that I felt I had accomplished something.

The strips of tulle, fresh off the cutting board.  Very hard to believe that they're ever going to be something.
 For the most part, I followed Alice Lon's directions.  It's actually not much of a tutorial, so I supplemented it with Sugardale's tutorial.  I made it two layers to one waistband rather than what Alice Lon suggests because of a mistake I made when I was calculating the gathering ratio.  Always check your math.

This is about when the petticoat actually starts to look like something.  Right about when it threatens to take over the desk.

Tada!  Modest poof on the dressform, because at the time this picture was taken, the petticoat had gone through petticoat hell.  It went to a steampunk convention, to school with me one day, a fashion show, and was stuffed into a suitcase for almost two weeks.


Here's a picture of the petticoat at maximum poof (underneath the super lightweight modern petticoat) the day of the Steampunk Symposium.

I am extremely amused by this.

First test of a 1950s petticoat is underneath a heavy circle skirt for a steampunk convention.

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