Thursday, August 5, 2010

Vionnet toile #2

A couple of quick notes - I've cut away the seam allowances on the neckline, so this is the finished neck size, but I haven't trimmed away the armholes, so they will be 2.5cm smaller. The skirt is just portions of the total, cut on the correct grain, incorporating all of the seams but not all of the length, to save fabric and time. (I actually quite like it!) And it isn't pressed at all.
I can't believe it only took two toiles to get it to fit! (It helps that I'm not wildly different in size to the original wearer.) I was so eager to get the alterations done that I forgot to photograph how I added in the extra. I'll explain as best I can.
By measuring the sewn-up toile #1 I worked out that I had to add about 8cm to bust and waist. This is a very managable figure - 2cm each at CF, CB and side seams. Pretty straightforward - on a traditional pattern with side seams. I established where the sides were on my toile and marked that on the front pattern piece. Then I drew a line perpendicular to the CF onto the piece, making sure it went through the sticking out bit which contained the sides. I traced the stitcking out bit and slid the tracing 2cm along the perpendicular line, then blended the lines back to the original at the armhole and to an added 1.5cm along the hip bit I'd added to be safe, I figured I could always take it out) I just added 2cm to the CF. It'll lower the neckline, but since it's quite high that won't be a problem. To the back I added 2cm to the CB by tracing the original toile right down to where it curves in at the bottom. There I pivoted so that the original lowest point (at the CB) was on the new moved CB line. That just meant that I hadn't changed the length of this section and wouldn't need to alter the corresponding skirt piece. It's such a small amount I've changed the angle that I'm not worried that it'll affect the drape of the skirt hanging from that seam in any noticable way. I didn't have to touch the back skirt pieces, and the front skirt is a simple quarter circle with a right angled triangle cut off the top. Since I'd altered the section to be joined to the front skirt I worked out how much to cut off by measuring the lower bodice edge and applying pythagoras. I wish my kids had been around at the time so that I could have lectured them sanctimoniously on how useful mathematical theory is in the real world.
A bit of feverish haste to sew and slip it over the dummy and it FIT! Just like that! So I tried it on me. To my complete and utter astonishment, it fit me too! Now this is a relatively fitted dress with no fastenings - the stretchy nature of bias is what enables you to get it on and off. M Vionnet was one very clever lady. It's tight across the bust but otherwise damn near perfect. I was twisting and turning to see the back in a tiny wall mounted mirror but David said that when I stood still the back was perfectly flat. So I drafted and cut out sections of the skirt, just to get a feel for how it looks all together. There is only one area that needs tweaking, where I've altered the length of one bodice section and need to compensate on the skirt. You can see on the front that the lowest portion of the bodice is a bit puffy. Easy fix! I tried it on when I'd attached the skirt and couldn't believe how well it fits on only toile #2. I'll try a self-timer shot on me when the twins go to bed.

So that's whereI'm at. So very nearly there, with way fewer headaches than anticipated. I'm inclined to think that I've learned all I'm going to from the lining toiles, and since fabric choice is crucial it's not worth doing any further testing and tweaking till I know what I'm going to use. I have about 8m of a knit I got because if you bought the whole roll you got it for next to nothing. Curiosity might drive me to try a toile in that, just to see how it works. Who am I kidding? Expect toile #3 in a knit next!
I'm having so much fun with this project! I was browsing some of my historical reference books the other night, including this beautiful two volume set of drool inducing eye candy. And there in Vol II, p460 is my dress! In black silk. I wish they'd included a picture of the back, but at least it's a picture. Also I hit Google to see if I could get any help with the project and found this article from Threads written by Betty Kirke herself. She explains how she measured the garments to produce the patterns - fascinating!
And Sherry I had to laugh when you commented that you were suddenly bored with your project and wanted to spend an afternoon here - that was pretty much my reaction when I saw the wedding dress you posted - I'd love to spend an afternoon exploring your stuff! (And watching you do bound buttonholes. That'd be good too.)
Edited to add - Arrgh!!!! Blogger won't let me break up my text into paragraphs! Sorry, this is a massive chunk of unbroken text to read. What's their problem with spaces anyway?

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