Saturday, April 30, 2011

A Polonaise from 1780

I just finished a 1780's polonaise. It's very loosely based off of this one, from the V&A:

I like how the skirt is pulled up over the outside of the skirt. Also how there is trim along the skirts hem. I like the pinked ruffle on this petticoat from the Met.

I found some lovely silk and linen blend in L.A's garment district the last time I was there. It's embriodered in a tambor-ish style. I also found some not very slubby dupioni silk to make the petticoat. I had 20 yards of embriodered lace trim to use along the skirts hem and to trim the bodice. So it was easy enough to make this little polonaise. I used J.P. Ryan's anglaise pattern.

Here is the finished dress:

The bodice closes with pins.

To make this pinked and flounce petticoat I made myself a jig, used pinking shears to do the cutting and brushed the raw edges with Fray Block.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Pin-up Shopping

So if you'd like to buy one of the petticoats that I've been showing you all to make.... :)

The owner there is an old friend of mine. I'll be doing alterations, custom builds, and helping the owner get together her own fashion line.

Kinda exciting!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

1950's Petticoat... Chapter 3

 Gathering the Waist
Skirt Sections 
At this point in the game we should have 3 skirt sections ready for waist gathering. Just like all the gathering in this project... do this in the method that you prefer. I'm using a long straight stitch and tight needle tension. When your done the skirts waist length should be the same as your waistband, i.e. 10-12" longer than your real waist measurement.  So just to reiterate, 3 skirt sections, 3 separately gathered waist, at a measurement that is 10-12" longer than your waist


Cut your waistband  10-12" longer than your actual waist measurement and 3" wide. You can use whatever fabric you like. I chose a matte swimwear knit... but it's your petticoat! do as you choose! You will also need to cut a 1" wide piece of elastic 2" shorter than your waist measurement.  

Sew your elastics ends together into a continuous loop. 
Sew your waistband ends together into a continuous loop.

Fold the waistband in half horizontally, inserting the waistband inside the fold. Using a scant 1/4" seam allowance make a casing for the elastic. Move the excess waistband fabric around the elastic loop as you go. Be sure not to catch any elastic in the seam

At this point all of the waistband extra fabric will be pushed to one part of the elastic loop. Push around the extra fabric on the elastic and evenly distribute the excess.  Now using a 1/2" seam allowance just barely catch the elastic in the seam. As your sewing you should stretch the elastic so that you have a smooth surface. 

Your completed waistband should look something like this.

Attach the Waistband to the Skirt

 Find all the center seams on the skirt yokes, and pin them together.

Find the center seam on your waistband and pin it to the seam on the skirt yokes. This will be the petticoats center back. As usual with fitting a gathered piece to an ungathered piece, find and match the back centers, center fronts, and the side centers and work all of the excess fabric evenly throughout the waistband. The most tricky part of this is making sure that all the layers of tricot are even and that your not leaving a bit of the skirt out. You could of course sew all three layers of tricot together, and gather them all together, but I've found that you get more volume if the layers are gathered seperately. You could also sew each layer to the waistband seperately. But, why? If you are careful, and pin heavily and watch carefully as you sew, you'll catch all the layers and your petticoat will be awesome! :) You'll use a 1/2" Seam allowance to attach the waistband to the skirts... just follow the same stitching that secures the elastic inside it's casing.

The last thing you'll do is to try the petticoat on. Make sure it fit's right before you finish off the raw edge where the waistband and skirts are attached with a serger.

It's a nice fluffy petticoat... if you would like an even fluffier one add more layers! :) Shorten the skirt by shortening the lengths of the yokes and main ruffle.

Have fun Sewing! :)

** edited to add...
If you'd like a shorter petticoat, For every inch shorter subtract 1/2" from the yokes and 1" from the main ruffle. So if you'd like a 15" petticoat, subtract 3" from the yoke and 6" from the main ruffle.**

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Petticoat; part 2

Ruffle Assembly

So at this point you've got every thing cut... Yes?

We've got:
3 yokes
6 main ruffles
And 24 edge ruffles.

If you use a rotary cutter this will go pretty quick. But if you don't, mark your lines with some tailors chalk (wax) to make the cutting easier.

Ruffling without a fancy foot

Tricot is kinda like sewing air. This can be good and it can be frustrating. If you play with the stitch length, needle tension, and for some way odd reason sew speed, it will gather. I suggest to you to do a test. These instructions are meant for a ruffle to be reduced by half (an 8" fabric into a 4" ruffle). Have a go. If it's not working for you, there are tons of other ways to gather fabric. You can zig zag over a cord, pull a thread of long stitching, use a gathering, or ruffle foot... Etc.

Start Sewing!
Edge Ruffles
Once you've got your gathering method figured out, start by gathering all of the edge ruffles. By the end you'll have a satisfactory little cloud of puff.

Yokes and Main Ruffle Assembly

Next sew into tubes all three yokes. And sew together the six main ruffles into three tubes using two main ruffle pieces a tube. So three yokes and three main ruffles.

Finishing Main Ruffle

Next sew the edge ruffles to the main ruffle using a 1/4" seam allowance.

When you come to an end of an edge ruffle just place another on top and keep going. If you did your ruffle test right you'll use 4 edge ruffles per side. When you've finished one side turn the main ruffle around and sew edge ruffles to the other side. When done it should look like this:

Now gather up the center of the main ruffle. I did this in two sections. Going from seam to seam on the front main ruffle section, and seam to seam on the back main ruffle section. Leave lots and lots of thread. This is so you can pull the thread to make the gathering tighter, and have plenty thread to let out if the ruffle is too tight. By having two sections to pull from your giving yourself tons of wiggle room.

It should be said the the main ruffle gets folded an half and is actually two ruffles in one.

That pictures upside down BTW.

Attach Main Ruffle to the Yoke
Ok, now your going to sew the main ruffle to the yoke, using 1/2 seam allowance.

This bit is drama.

The best advice I can give is to mark the yokes center front, by folding the yoke in half. Pin one of the main ruffles seams on the seam of the yoke and the other main ruffle seam on the center mark you've just made. Play with your main ruffles gathers until the main ruffle fits on the yoke. Pin it in place and sew the main ruffle to the yoke.

I'm trying to show the seam allowance there... 1/2" on the yoke, and your just sewing right down where the gathering threads are.

This is the finished ruffle assembly. Your going to make 3 of these.

Ok.. Next blog post will be attaching the ruffle assemblies to a waistband. Good times!

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Saturday, April 2, 2011

Grand Ideas... 1950's style.

(This is part 1 of my Petticoat Tutorial)

I had a grand idea last autumn, (when I had more time) that it would be really fun to, make a fluffy fifties dress, go down to the old "Welcome to Vegas" sign and have my picture taken with Elvis. For many reasons this sounds fun to me. First, because if your a costumer from Vegas this should be a big ole "Well Duh." second because it would look good on my Steamer of the Bride site, third because making a merry widow sounds fun, and last but not least, "Yay!! Elvis!".

The plan, as it now stands, is to make a fifties dress with a petticoat and a longline/corset/bra/merrywidow type thing.

I'm using patterns for the bra and dress. The petticoat is my wacky idea though.

If you really think about it, making this bra and petticoat is pretty silly, for they are easily bought. In the petticoats case, bought for less than it costs to make. My instructions will make a longer wearing and much fuller petticoat though. So grain of salt girls... You are forewarned.

I've started on my petticoat already. I'm using THE BEST FABRIC FOR PETTICOATS... (This of course is for the silly fluffy lolita, rock-a-billy, costume type petticoats.) that being tricot.

Tricot comes in many different colors is lightweight, doesn't need to be hemmed, is washable, holds it's volume, and is fluffier than my hair on a humid day. It comes on a 108" bolt. This is really important to keep in mind as the instructions I'm about to give just won't work with a narrower fabric.

This will make a 21" length petticoat... If you want a shorter petti, mess around with the numbers to get you where you need to be. Lolita petticoats are several inches shorter, between 15" and 20". I've used this same formula to make 6" tutu's. You get the idea.

Ha!! Check out my awesome graphic!!

Ok... Really sad.
What this is saying is:
Total length = 21"
Waistband = 1"
Yoke = 10"
Main ruffle = 8.5"
Edge ruffle = 1.5"

Cut List
Waist band, this is cut from whatever you want to use, (something more substantial than the tricot) I'll be using a swimwear knit... 10-12" larger than your waist and 3" wide. You will also need 1" wide elastic cut 2" smaller than your waist. (this piece includes 1/2" seam allowance.

Yoke = three 11" long tricot x the full bolt width (this piece includes 1/2" seam allowance)

Main ruffle = six 17" long tricot x the full bolt width (this piece includes 1/4" seam allowance)

Edge ruffles = twenty four 3" long tricot x the full bolt width

This petticoat requires 6 yards of tricot

Here are some sources for tricot fabric:
Sew Sassy
Lace and Fabric
Waverly Baby

I am in no way connected to these sites, nor do I have previous experience with them. As with all online shopping, shop at your own risk.

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