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Gala Worthy

No progress on my 1790s stuff yet. After I wrote my last post, I realized that while my Costume College stuff was wearable, I still had a few tweaks I wanted to make and with only 6 weeks to go, I decided to put that first rather than stress myself out by waiting until the last minute. I am not a fan of last minute sewing.

I turned my attention to my most import costume of the weekend – the Gala dress. Originally, I had a new dress planned for the Gala, but when I wore my 1780s satin gown all too briefly in Williamsburg this spring, I knew it was Gala worthy. Not only did it deserve another outing, but it saved me the stress of making a new dress. It simply needed a few tweaks to make it perfect.

When I was making the dress originally, I was working with a very limited amount of the ivory taffeta and didn’t have time to order more online. The sleeves ended up having to be too short and too big, and I barely scraped out the ruffle to go around them. They looked ok for the first wearing, but they didn’t read “right” to my eye.  Luckily, I was able to order more fabric when I got home so I had enough to fix the sleeves. I wanted to avoid completely redoing the sleeve if possible. They were a huge pain to set the first time around and I had no desire to repeat the process. I decided to try piecing a cuff to the end of the sleeve and covering the seam line with trim. I’m happy to say it worked beautifully! I also took the sleeve in slightly to give it a more fitted look. Overall they aren’t perfect, but I think they look so much better than before!

To finish the dress I added a row of cream self fabric trim down the center front and I also added some fringe to the sash. Not only does it help weigh down the organza and the tails to hang better, most fashion plates show some sort of trimming or fringe on the ends of the sash.

A few construction details - The dress is silk satin and silk taffeta, lined in linen. With the exception of the long skirt seams, the dress is entirely hand sewn. I used my favorite technique from Costume Close Up where the fashion fabric seam allowance of one piece is turned under and lapped over the fashion fabric and lining of the other piece. The seam is stitched with a spaced backstitch and then the other lining piece is whipstitched over to cover the raw edges. I love this technique and how it makes such a nice, neatly finished dress. Since the satin frays so much, I also covered the skirt pleats in a wide piece of tape to keep the insides neat. Finally, I boned the center back and side back seams to keep the back point straight and wrinkle free.

Posted: 6/17/2013 2:27:19 PM by Aubry | with comments
Filed under: 1780s, Costume College
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Project Details

Silk Satin Birthday Dress