The Ladies' Tea Guild

Friday, March 14, 2014

Finally finishing a project ...

Photo: Elizabeth Urbach
Several months ago I began to make a dress for the museum where I work.  We conduct custom tours for 3rd grade classes in our Victorian house, and the tours include a short dress-up session and photo opportunity.  The girls' costumes that we use are Jessica McClintock and similar Edwardian-inspired dresses from the 1970s through 1990s, that are not only historically inaccurate for the time period of the house (1855 - 1875) but they're getting really ratty, faded, and in need of replacement.  But hey, they were donated 15 years ago (i.e. FREE) ...

Anyway, I decided to use some of the smaller lengths of fabric (under 4 yards) from my stash to make some more accurate costumes to replace some of the ones in the worst shape.  To this end, I bought the two Civil War girls' dress patterns from Simplicity, and set aside a few lengths of fabric to use, and during my time backstage at our last Lyric Theatre production, I got one dress cut out and partially sewn together.  Unfortunately, I wasn't able to finish it, so it remained on my "unfinished project" list for several months!  Lately, though, I've gotten it back out, and finished it by hand.  I had to make a few alterations to the pattern, though, to suit its purpose as a dress-up costume that needs to be easy to put on and take off, and needs to fit easily over a girl's regular clothes.  I chose the largest size the pattern offered (size 8) and then cut it a bit larger -- as much as I could get out of my fabric, which was only about 3 yards, when the
pattern called for closer to 3 1/2!  I saved fabric by making the lining from plain white cotton instead of my fashion fabric, and by making the skirt less full, since it won't have to go over petticoats or a hoop.

I also left the bodice and skirt completely open up the center back, and put in a strip of hook-and-loop tape to close the neck, and made waist ties to close the waistline at the back.  I also didn't put in the growth tucks so the skirt will be long enough to cover the girls' modern jeans.  I hope it's big enough; we get a lot of big girls on our 3rd grade tours!  I'm hoping to take it in to the museum next week.  

1 comment:

Steph said...

Finished projects are such a good feeling!

Now stir the fire, and close the shutters fast,
Let fall the curtains, wheel the sofa round,
And, while the bubbling and loud-hissing urn
Throws up a steamy column, and the cups
That cheer but not inebriate, wait on each,
So let us welcome peaceful evening in.
-- William Cowper (1731-1800)
"The Winter Evening" (Book Four), _The Task_ (1784)