Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Summer Picnic Ensemble

Well, it has been over a year since I last posted up anything.  It has also been over a year since I sat down at my machine and sewed anything.  Mind you, I wanted to, and my machine was always sitting there looking at me, and I had lots of creative ideas, I simply could not move against this load of inertia.  I would see all the wonderful ensembles my friends were posting up, and I just felt like I could not possibly sew on the same level.  That was my excuse, and I was buying it hook, line, and sinker.  Well, a few weeks ago I participated in a small fashion show, and I remember how much I really enjoyed the entire process.  I made a vow that I would pull something together within three weeks.  This was what I made after my extended hiatus. 
  I used three patterns for the entire "Summer Picnic Ensemble" as follows:  TV405 1872 Vest Basque Bodice, TV305 Bustled Apron Overskirt, and the Burda 7880 for the Foundation Skirt. 

I had purchased fifteen yards of this floral cotton fabric up in LA last year for $1 a yard and I knew when I purchased it, it was going to be this gown.  I also knew I wanted a pink satin ribbon trim to add a little bit of sparkle.  The lace is vintage and I used approx sixteen yards.  Lastly, I had some basic lace that I wanted to use as an overlay on the bodice, front and back.  Buttons I also had purchased up in LA at the same time as the fabric at twenty buttons for $1.00.  The patterns were also already in my stash, so I was ready to go.

I started with the foundation skirt, it is an old favorite, and I know all it's little tips and tricks.  I did go with the pleatted ruffle with the satin ribbon trim.  I knocked the foundation skirt out in one night.  Yeah!  Next up was the over skirt.  New pattern, first time using it, but overall it was pretty easy to put together.  It gives you the option of a pointed front or rounded, and I went with the round edges for the front and back.  The pattern also gives you the option to lengthen the back for a train, and I added four extra feet for a small train.  I also added a double row of ruffled lace and finished it with the pink sating ribbon trim all the way around with two bows on either side.  Neither the skirt, nor the overskirt were lined.  I wanted something light and airy for a summer picnic.  The weight of the lace and trim helps with the train, and I will probably go back and add a 3" layer of faux horsehair trim to the hem of the underskirt just because I like the way the fabric moves with it.  Lastly, I also added some organdy to the back of the overskirt to help with the puffy bustle look.  Start to finish on the Overskirt three days, I had to start/stop a couple of days. 

Lastly, was the bodice.  I have used TV patterns for skirts, but never for the bodice.  This was a whole new learning experience.  I thought I could skip the measurement section and just go one size larger and finish it up with some tailoring.  Nope.  Big word of caution, take the time to do all the measuring and calculations as it will save you time in the long run.  This bodice was a battle from start to finish and made me question my sewing abilities.  First off in the pattern picture, the "vest" section looks pretty low-cut, it's not.  I removed an inch and probably could have gone with two inches off, and it gaps at the top of the breastline, which drove me crazy.  I finished it, but I am still not happy with it and will probably go back and rework.  The bodice took me ten days.  I had to walk away several times and put myself in "time-out".  I changed a lot about the bodice and took shortcuts, so much of my frustration was my own fault.  But, I kept at it until I had wrestled it to a standstill and this is what I ended up with.  I am glad I started AND finished the entire project, and within the timeframe I had set myself.  Enjoy!   .