Sunday, July 14, 2013

Corded Petticoat (Historical Sew Fortnightly Challenge #15: White)

As I mentioned back in May, I'm tackling my first reproduction challenge. I am going to make an Ada Lovelace costume.

This portrait is dated circa 1838, so I needed the proper undergarments to get the right look.

I chickened out and did not attempt a late 1830's corset. I wanted to, but I also want to wear this costume in August so... I'm going to tell myself that the line achieved with a mid-Victorian corset and the line achieved with a late 1830's corset are close enough.

I decided that I really did need to make a proper petticoat to create the right shape under the skirt.

I purchased Jennifer Rosburgh's tutorial and went to town. This tutorial was well worth the purchase. The pattern is not difficult, but her input and advice on technique was very valuable.

I chose to make a two-layer petticoat and sandwich the cords into between the two layers. This allowed me to create the corded sections in one long spiral. I used cotton organdy, which I've never worked with before, and it's now my new favorite thing.

The hardest part was getting the first through third rows of cording because I had to work with the two outer layers and the seam allowance. After that it was smooth, if tedious, sailing. I used cotton yarn that was slightly less bulky than 1/8". This meant that I needed a lot of yard. I probably used about 100 yards of yarn all told.

I cannot say this enough: do not expect to finish your corded petticoat in one sitting. You will go mad.

After the organdy layer was finished, I decided that I would need an under lay to keep the organdy away from my legs. I made a (relatively) quick tucked petticoat out of some muslin and gathered them both into the same waist band. I have no idea how historically accurate this is, but I wanted to reduce bulk at the waist.

Then I starched the two layered petticoat and let it dry. Three hours of ironing later (no joke!) and the skirt would stand up by itself.

Here's some photos of the project:

I've added a little bum pad to help create the line of the skirts in the portrait. 

The second under-petticoat. 

Two petticoats in one waistline. 

It seriously stands up on it's own. For hours. Days possibly. The cat knocked this over in a cat fit of mystery fright. 

I am submitting this project for Historical Sew Fortnightly Challenge #15: White.

The Challenge: White has carried many connotations as a colour, from defining culture and social boundaries in Ancient Egypt (only foreigners and those connected to the afterlife wore colour), to denoting status (white was often an expensive colour to produce and maintain), to implying purity, or simply cleanliness.
For this challenge ‘white’ is defined as anything in the white family – from brightest white, through to ivory and cream and all the shades between.

Fabric: Cotton Organdy (corded overskirt), Cotton Muslin (tucked underskirt), Cotton yard
Pattern: Jennifer Rosburgh's Tutorial (available for purchase here)
Year: 1820 - 1860
Notions:  Polyester thread, approximately 150 yards of cotton yarn
How historically accurate is it? Except for the machine sewing, this it pretty dead on technique. I joined the two skirts together in one waistband, which is probably less accurate (it would cut down the reusability of both skirts in other outfits -- not very frugal). Overall: 9/10
Hours to complete: 40 hours (most of that spent sewing the yarn into casings)
First worn: Scheduled for early August
Total cost: 3 yards cotton organdy ($24), yarn ($15 - two different kinds used for no good reason), 3 yards muslin from stash ($6), thread ($1) total: $47

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