Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Striped Italian Dress: The Details

Today we're getting into the nitty gritty details of my striped Italian dress. Missed the reveal? Start here.

Fabric: 4.5 yds striped polyester ($4/yd), left over black linen and printed cotton for lining (stash), 5 yds muslin for lining ($2/yd)
Pattern: The bodice is self drafted and the skirt is based off of Henrician lady's petticoat in the Tudor Tailor
Year: 1590s
Notions: ~20 yds green velvet ribbon ($10), ribbon for lacing ($3), zip ties ($5)
How historically accurate is it? Definitely not in the fabric department but I'm very happy with the overall look
First worn: Ohio Renaissance Festival October 2014
Total cost: $46

I moved the lacing to the side back on my bodice pattern which was pretty easy since I had a seam there already. I also made the back neckline square. Each piece is made in the normal way-a piece of canvas covered in fashion fabric and then lined in cotton or linen. There are zip ties stabilizing the edges of the opening and also three in the front to help keep the bodice lying nice and flat.

The skirt is lined in muslin. The skirt seams didn't line up with where I needed an opening so I made a facing and made my own slits where I needed them.

I really wanted 1/2" velvet ribbon but apparently no one makes 1/2" velvet ribbon. Originally, I had 5/8" black velvet ribbon but it was too wide and looked too harsh. So I picked up 3/8" green velvet ribbon instead and it looked much better! I stayed pretty true to the portrait trim layout except I left off the little loopy bows at the waist.

I pretty much mirrored the front trim placement on the back since the portrait only showed the front of the dress.

The back caused me some serious trim placement issues. The original bodice back was way too narrow at the back for this trim arrangement, but since the whole thing came out too small and had to be remade anyways, that helped out a lot! On the front, I managed to get my eyelets to come out between the trim but on the back I had to make a hole in the ribbon so I could get to the bottom eyelet.

I ended up not using any hem stiffening since my kirtle had a stiffened hem. But I did add three rows of trim to the bottom. The portrait didn't show the bottom of the dress but it makes sense to me that a dress with that much trim on the bodice would have some on the skirt as well. These rows of ribbon actually helped stiffen the hem a bit so I got a very nice silhouette on the skirt. 

For the sleeves, I started with my self drafted sleeve but made it a bit narrower for a more fitted look. It is also lined in muslin. I searched high and low for a tutorial on the sleeve puff and found just this one. I started out with and 8" wide strip but ended up going down to 6" so it wouldn't lie straight out. I probably should have interlined or stuffed the puff to get it to behave better.

I used a 54" long strip and gathered it to the sleeve. After playing around with it a bit, I sewed the bottom edge down 1.5" from the top of the sleeve and the top edge .5" away from the top. I finished the raw edge with a strip of straight grain fabric. Bias might have behaved better but I didn't want to make any and bias + stripes makes some crazy looking bias tape.

While making the puff, I added 4 strips of ribbon to help it behave.

 Each sleeve ties to the bodice with 3 ties. Just make sure that you have someone to help you dress who can tie bows. Otherwise, you'll be running around before faire trying to find someone to tie your bows since your husband apparently never learned how.....

I also whipped up a new partlet since I wanted one without a ruff. It's made from cotton voile that I had lying around from my wedding dress. I used my same ruff pattern (forget where I got it from) but made it straight front instead of slanted to meet in the middle. I started out hand sewing it, but got bored and finished the rest by machine. I decided to use bias tape to finish the bottom and make ties all in one go. By this time I was in a rush to get everything finished and I was not about to make tiny ties and turn them by hand.

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