I've put aside my underfrillies project for right now and pulled one of my older dresses out of the closet to work on and, ultimately finish. My Indienne tea dress was originally started back in Fall 2010 simply because I was still on my high of getting into historical costuming (it was my second dress). After browsing through Heather's lovely collection of Truly Victorian patterns, I selected the 1869 Grand Parlor Skirt (TV202) and the 1873 Polonaise bodice (TV410) patterns. These were my reasons:
- I wanted a bustle dress. The bustle dresses were the reason I first fell in love with the Victorian period to begin with, and I wanted a bustle dress dangit!
- I loved the skirt. It had a train, was ginormous, and did I mention the train? Still rather ignorant of Victorian costume design, all I saw was the word "demi-train" and wanted it.
- Being a poor college student, the idea of a bodice with the overskirt attached attracted me to the polonaise. It meant I only had to get one pattern rather than two. Ignoring the fact it said for "intermediate to advanced sewers only" I still bought it.
Well I made up both patterns plus the bustle with attached petticoat (TV101), again ignoring recommendations that I make up the larger bustle to support the larger skirt and ended up with this creation - an early 1870s early bustle tea dress.
|Ignore the funny look, I was working with a school group when this was taken.|
I pulled the dress back out and wore it to my Dress U conference early this summer. As I pranced around in my lovely dress, I kept looking at it and all I could think was, "It needs more." Gone were my inexperiences of being a newbie sewer. I now had a better working knowledge of the costumes, trims, and the dress styles of the different periods. I wanted to upgrade!
It started right before the Canton Woman's Club Victorian Tea. My biggest gripe was the skirt for the outfit never hung right. It bugged me from day one but I wasn't sure what to do about it. I even sewed a false petticoat/lining underneath originally to help provide a bit of volume and attached a "dust ruffle" to the hem. All it resulted in was the outer layer of shantung silk kept slipping and never stayed in place.
|False dust ruffle attached to lining|
|Note how the skirt just "hangs"|
|Ruffle work in progress. All my ruffles I usually gather by hand and pin.|
|The top button ended up being moved almost two inches. Whoa!|
Well before I even get started on the sleeve bows though, I had one other small task. As a newbie, I never gave the idea of serging a second thought. As an experienced sewer now, I mentally kick the 2010 version of myself in the posterior. Rather than hand sew all of those edges or be super lazy and fray check it, I did the unthinkable, I removed the sleeves of the bodice to overlock stitch them.
|Removing the sleeves after 3 years|
If you look at the photo, the fabric edges on the right are overlocked while the two on the left are not. It's not very clear, but you still see a difference in the smoother edges of the overlocked fabric. Anything I can't overlock stitch gets a bit of fray check just to keep everything from raveling. There's also a little bit of tacking to do in various areas and then hopefully it will be finished.
Now I'm sure there are a couple of people scratching their heads going, "Wasn't it finished before? You've already worn in and now you're just making changes."
This is my clarification. The Indienne tea dress has sat in an extended state of being Done. "Done" means it may not be finished, but it is wearable. I've always known that I would probably be making changes to this dress at some point once I learned a bit more in the trims department. "Finished" means the dress is not only wearable, but will most likely not have any further changes made to it either. Once I make the changes mentioned in this post, there are no other changes I see myself wanting to make and will therefore add it to the Finished costume category.
I will add though that if you talk to most costumers, there is no such thing as ever being "finished" with anything.