I had my first fitting with a friend about 2 weeks ago (an forgot to take pictures, of course). The first finding was that the top fit pretty well. With just a few minor adjustments at the bust to correct for the fact that I was not wearing an Edwardian corset that tips the chest forward, I was satisfied. The shoulders fit surprisingly well, and I was concerned because this is sometimes a problem area for me.
On the other hand, the skirt is just a subtle disaster. It is cut an a fairly dramatic A-line, which was surprising, given how columnar the design sketch was. I have regraded hips on skirts before, but this correction is eluding me. Let's just say that I have now made the skirt 4 times. Bah! I have decided to wait to work on this any more until my mom comes for a visit and we can muddle through the problem together.
Here's the basic problem:
1) the hips are too wide and the flair of the skirt is too dramatic
2) when I pin out the excess, the changes to the draft lines look so strange and unwieldy that I become convinces they can't be right
The skirt should fall more or less straight down from the hips, with only a gently angle for walking ease. My redrafted lines seem to want to nip in too far, creating a trumpet skirt shape.
Just this morning, I took a close look at the lines from the Laughing Moon Titanic pattern, which actually does this, so maybe I'm not too crazy.
At this point, I just want to be sure that I am doing the right thing so I don't screw up the very expensive fabric that the final version will be made with.
And another thing...
And then we come to the skirt overlay. I am making my skirt overlay out of silk organza, which is sheer, but sturdy enough to support the trim; however, it is incredibly "springy" when gathered.
I was suspicious of the gathered over layer because gathers anywhere above my hips tend to give me a lumpy, dowdy look. This "stuffed potato" look tends to distract from the long sleek line of this dress.
I pinned on an over layer because I thought it might change the way the skirt was hanging and explain the overfull lines of the skirt.
The over layer does seem to keep the under layer more controlled, but the gathers were doing me no favors at all. In the picture above, I was on draft #2 of the skirt. Shortened in the hem was a good step, but I decided to go back to the original lines because I was convinced that I had done something wrong.
I had to use some slightly heavier scrap fabric because it was wide enough for the back skirt pattern.
WTF?!?! With the heavier fabric, most of the excess fullness was pulled to the back and the hip lines were waaaaay better. There was nothing for it. I finally had to admit that I was not going to get very far with this unexpectedly tricky alteration if I was working in fabric that had a significantly different drape than my final silk georgette. I rooted around in my stash until I found some left over silk from the Bat Costume. Since I have sworn off all-black costumes, I figured that I was safe to use this. As you can see in the photo below, the drape is pretty similar.
The hips were still too wide, but I decided to tack on the over layer to see if I really needed to bother with alterations. I used some silk organza for the over layer and tacked some heavy trim to the bottom to see if having some weight on the organza was enough to pull out some of the ballooning effect.
Looks like that's a no. The whole circumference that the high hip is still too much. I took out the excess and this is what we got:
This is looking better, but the under skirt may still be too full. Also, I kind of like the train effect at the back, I may keep it.
I too the trim off and did a little more smoothing of the over layer and got it looking pretty good:
This is when I tried adjusting the under layer again and chickened out, again. There are some good ideas in the works, but I will just have to wait for a second pair of trained eyes and hands to help me. Mom gets here in two weeks or so. More updates then.