|Skirt, bodice, and bib are together.
As stated in my two previous posts, the pattern I'm using for the bodice and skirt is Laughing Moon #126 Ladies Round and Trained Gown with High Stomacher Front, c. 1800-1810. The bib started out as a combination of two of the LM bib options with modification by me to resemble the inspiration piece sold on eBay as a study garment. Overall I'm pleased with how it turned out. The bib is not an exact replica of the inspiration bib but that's kinda hard without having it to draft a pattern from.
Anyway, here is the progress so far.
Attaching the Skirt and Finishing the Bodice
When attaching the skirt, I didn't follow the instructions on the LM pattern very closely. I've studied several extant dresses over the years so I ended up attaching the skirt similar to how our foremothers did it. Instead of sandwiching the skirt pleats between the bodice and lining, I sewed the back panels to the bodice and lining as one then pressed the seam toward the skirt. I did use the LM pattern's placement marks on the bodice to know exactly where the skirt panels needed to be set. My choice in attaching the skirt is a personal one. I like the way the skirt hangs better when the bodice and lining are treated as one. This choice is by no means a reflection on the instructions included with the LM pattern, which are great BTW. Laughing Moon has excellent patterns and instructions but I have a tendency to add my own twist to things (or as some of my associates would say, "reinvent the wheel." It a form of self-torture. 😂)
|Back skirt panels are sewn to the bodice (outer bodice and lining are treated as one) using the patterns recommended seam allowance of 5/8" then the seam is pressed toward the skirt.
Another view of the skirt and bodice seam.
|Here is a close-up of the cut made on the bottom of the bodice edge (two pictures above). The lower seam of the bodice is now complete but the cut area needed to be overcast to keep it from fraying.
Interpreting the Original Bib Construction
Below are the four photos I used to figure out how the original bib was constructed. As mentioned in a previous post, this bodice was the only part of a c. 1800 gown to survive. It was sold on eBay but very little information was available on it.
|The extant bodice date 1800.
|Side view of the original bodice. Such a lovely piece....sigh.
My Method of Attack! (aka The Weird Way My Brain Works)
After studying the photos as closely as possible, I decided to make each half of the bib separate. I used the smaller of the two gathered bibs in the LM pattern as a starting point.
|After sewing a gathering stitch on the top and bottom of the center section, I gathered it to fit the bib top and bib bottom sections. Here is it pinned in place and ready to be sewn.
|This image shows the bib top and bib bottom sections pinned and ready to sew to the gathered centerpiece. This is the same image as above just flipped over.
|A small spaced back-stitch was sewn the length of each bib section, on the right side, to secure the seams and add stability.
At this point, I realized that I hadn't added a seam allowance to the side of the bib pieces where the two halves would be joined (center front of the entire bib). In theory, the three-sectioned bib pieces could have been cut on the fold (like the LM pattern instructions) but, alas, they weren't I hadn't accounted for a center front seam....sigh. So I had to punt. I ended up pinning the two halves together down the center front and running a small overcast stitch along the edges. The stitch was firm but not tight so that the seam could be opened up flat when complete.
|I worked the tiniest overcast stitch possible in order to join the two bib halves together down the center front. This join butted the two halves together without creating a wide seam.
|Both halves are joined together.
|I cut a 1" strip of fabric for the centerpiece of the bib.
|A 1/4" of each side was folded over and pressed.
|The strip was laid on top of the bib's center seam and pinned. The strip was sewn in place with a small whip-stitch hidden on the sides. A spaced back-stitch was also sewn the length of each side.
|I wanted the bib to be lined but not with anything bulky that would affect the drape of the outer fabric. In my stash, I had some thin navy colored silk. I taped all the bib section pattern pieces back together and cut out a lining on the fold.
|Close-up of the sides and drawstring channel before sewing.
|The bib is sewn to the front skirt panel as seen from the right side.
|Almost done. Not be bad if I do say so myself.
Now that the bib was complete, I could put the hem in. This was going to require a helper so I went to visit my friend Dottie. Without her help, the hem would have been a disaster. After a couple hours of fussing with the line, the hem was finally ready to go in.
|Better image of the first hem fold with the horsehair pinned in place. Now it will be folded over again to completely enclose it.
|A hemstitch the holds everything in place.
To be continued..........
Other posts related to this project
Making an early 19th-century mourning dress
Making an early 19th-century mourning dress: The Skirt
Making an early 19th-century mourning dress: Sleeves