Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Raising the Titanic: the first pattern

We're slowly but surely getting our first round of patterns in the Vintage Pattern Lending Library's 1912 Project.  Technically, my group hasn't gotten their pattern yet, but the pattern pictured here was issued as a special challenge pattern, to be sewn at our choosing.  Challenge patterns are either more difficult than the other patterns, or have special or more time-consuming techniques.

With this much insertion lace, this pattern definitely falls under "time-consuming," but I think it also falls under "gorgeous," "fabulous" and "I want a waist small enough to wear that."

Which I do not have, but I don't think many women do - even back then.  That's why they wore corsets.  And this beauty was meant to be worn over the corset, which was in turn worn over some kind of combination chemise/underdrawers garment.  So this is actually the third layer of getting dressed. 

No wonder these women felt faint all the time.

After I printed and taped the pattern together and laid it out on the living room floor (do I need to tell you how many pictures I erased before I got one without a cat in the frame?), I flat measured the waist seam, which is marked.  Sorry the markings are so faint - they're pretty light in reality and no matter how I tweaked, I couldn't get them to come up any darker. 

Get this - with a corset and more underwear underneath, the waist measurement is 26 inches.  How much wearing ease do you think that probably is?  Again, no wonder these women felt faint all the time. 
I'll be making this up to fit me, but it's going to take some maneuvering.  Just looking at it, I know I'm going to have to lengthen it from shoulder to bust, and then again from bust to waist.  Waist to hip I might be okay, and the fit isn't as specific there anyway. 

The slip, by the way, takes 3 yards or so of lawn for the garment itself, 12.5 yards of 1" lace for the insertion (or 8.5 if you don't add it to the pleated ruffle), and an additional 1.5 yards for said ruffle.  There's also 2" lace for the top, and eyelet that gets threaded with ribbon.  That's a lot of work for underwear.

Even though I'm generally not the fluff-and-ruffles type, this will probably end up being a nightgown.  I can't go through all this effort only to have it hang in the closet, unworn, and damned if I'm making going through all that for someone else's benefit.


neighbourhood.gal said...

This is an exciting project! It seems like it will be a nice change from modern clothes.

Toby Wollin said...

Whoa - Do you have to count the lace insertions in terms of how big this is? Like, every 1" insertion adds an inch in width or does that point become moot with the seam allowances for adding the lace (like, half an inch on each side equals 1" and the lace equals 1" and therefore it's a wash?

renee said...

That will be gorgeous! My hat is off to you for undertaking this project.

Marjie said...

Oh, that's pretty. I would like to have sewn that, although I'd need to do some size alterations!

joannely said...

What about wearing it out with a colored slip or bodysuit? Seems a shame to just sleep in it...what about serving cocktails on the patio and a themed party?