June 2015

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Saturday, 8 March 2008

Blue Italian Gamurra 1470/80

I really like blue- however I am trying to steer away from using it in medieval clothing- because it seems like it is one of the most popular colours used by re-enactors where I live. The most popular colour combination seems to be red and blue. There isn’t half enough browns or oranges or yellows- three colours I love and am determined to use more. However fabric that is useable and cheap (poor uni student here!) enough to buy is very hard to find, so if I find it, I buy it. Hence why when I saw some 60/40 cotton linen pieces in the remnants bin in Melbourne, I brought every scrap- even though not only was it blue, it was the exact same shade of blue I already had a dress out of. It is also the blue I ALWAYS get compliments on- so at least it is a nice blue!

This dress was my first experiment into Italian fashion, and I had a few boxes I wanted to tick. First- was to make a new skirt pattern. I wasn’t really happy with any of my patterns so far. I had found an article about a skirt in London made of 12 trapezoid shapes sewn straight edge to bias, and so decided to do that.

Second- was not to have a really high waist, as I had lost a lot of weight and wanted to show off my waist!. I decided on about an inch above my natural waist would be fine.

Third: I was to use lacing rings- I much prefer them to making eyelets! They are so much faster! Fourth: not to spiral lace it- I decided on ladder lacing.

Fifth: to finish it before I first wore it (excluding trying it on etc).

So, how many of these boxes did I tick? A grand total of two out of five. Hmmmm…

The bodice patterning was tricky- as I needed to draft a complete new one due to weight loss, and I had to draft it on my own. Pinning up your own back is hard. In the end, I got the fit around the bust right and guessed at the rest.

So I sewed it together and attached the lacing rings for ladder lacing and tried the ting on. There were two main problems. Firstly, due to guessing the side seams started at the sides at the top, and ended up as front side seams at the bottom. Secondly, the ladder lacing wasn’t working- the cord was pulling the lacing rings together vertically as well as horizontally, and the thing was bunching up. I asked for some advice on this second issue online, and was just sent links to how to ladder lace- which is how I was doing it- so not that helpful. I decided just to spiral lace it. So I spiral laced the thing, and it was uneven as the lacing rings were not set for spiral lacing- but I would fix that- just not now.

I worked on the skirt- which cane together quickly as I was just running stitching it. Each skirt seam took 20 minutes to sew, and didn’t need pinning first. If TV was really good it could take up to an hour for each seam though as I get distracted sometimes…

Once the skirt was done, I pinned it to the bodice. Problem the third: I looked like a freak.

I wanted this bodice to have a higher neck than I have had in the past, and of course it was only an inch or so above my natural waist. This made the bodice look freakishly long, which apart from making me look like a freak- didn’t sit at all well with the prevailing silhouette at the time and place. Also, there was this wrinkle down the bottom that wouldn’t weigh down and those side seams. I

decided to make it shorter, picked a shortness line, and tried to get mum to mark it even all the way around. It took several attempts as she wanted to do it with her sitting and me standing, making the ink run away from the tip in the pen and it not work, and she didn’t check to make sure it had drawn like I told her to. After her being confused about why it wasn’t working I finally explained it all to her, and she was marking the waist properly, still going on about how very high it was.

After this I evened up the line myself, and marked a line two inches higher and made that the new waist. I also re-did the lacing rings for spiral lacing.

After some time I worked out the knife pleating and the skirt was attached to the bodice. I made some sleeves- made mistakes on both of them but they were wearable.

I first wore this dress and it was not finished- the front seam was not sewn (hid it in the folds) and the sleeves were not hemmed at the top. Months later- I still need to finish these details, and make a nicer pair of sleeves. I am pleased with the result however- I like the look of the higher waist.

Another thing I have to do is make a new lacing cord. This one had a very loose patch for about 1cm (I got distracted with TV) and after a fair bit of using has started to weaken at that point. I have others, but this is light blue and I want another light blue one, as my next dress I am making is based on a portrait that has a light blue lacing cord.

1 comment:

Constance said...

Have just posted a picture of your dress below your post, have a look.