It took a couple of weeks to arrive, and it was exactly as described. From start to finish of this project probably took me about five days of intermittent effort. Soaking was the first step, as the ensemble really was dirty. It was actually about three soakings before I was happy. From there I went ahead with the skirt first. I removed the existing waistband, as it was tattered. The skirt had two buttons on the waistband, one front center, and one back center. The button hooked into button holes on the bodice to help hold it in place. However, with the overall fragility of the fabric, I did not recreate the button feature, I went with a simple set-in waistband. I also learned how to hide my fabric darns by tucking them in a fold or a pleat, and there were a lot of them! By adding on a new waistband I was able to adjust the sizing to fit me by easing out some of the gathered fabric in the back. I also went ahead and added a vintage white petticoat underneath the skirt to help showcase the windowpane plaid, and also to protect the outer fabric from future stress. The skirt has a small four inch train.
Next came the bodice. Now this ensemble came with two bodices, both "day" bodices, both in poor shape. One was in worse shape than the other, (probably because she wore that one more than the other?), so I elected to use what I could of the lesser one to help patch together the other one. I took the first bodice completely apart to make extant pattern pieces before using what fabric I could to restore the other bodice. My goal is to have Spoonflower custom print out at least two yards of fabric in the future, so I can recreate this bodice again, but that will not be an inexpensive endeavour to be sure! I was able to let out some of the gathering and pintucking in the bodice, plus add in some extra fabric under the arm to make it a wearable size for me. After much detailed work, I was happy with my efforts to conserve this ensemble. I will probably save this gown for the occasional Fashion Show only.
|Saved for extant pieces due to shattering and holes|
|Day dress, 1897 (by UConn Today)|
|Finished Restored Gown|