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I thought I'd post here, since it's been a while since I've posted anything--and a while since I've been sewing. Since work has stopped me from doing pretty much most events (the inevitable reality I've faced since I earn no vacation time), I've skipped pretty much everything this year. Add to that the extra 20 lbs I've gained over the past two years left me ill fit in most costumes. So, I've demurred from most events. Fortunately, I'm back on Weight Watchers and getting interviews for new jobs. Two weeks ago, at the urging of a friend, I went to the local sesquicentennial reenactment of the early civil war battle that occurred locally. It was a very big event and I felt darn good! It's nice to have costuming mojo back, though right now I don't have any events in mind (though I suppose there are always dances at Gadsby's tavern).

Which is a very good thing, since in three week's time, I'm going to Burnley and Trowbridge's Robe Anglaise workshop. I've made these kind of gowns, but I've never felt good about folding down the back pleats. So...hopefully this will do the trick. In preparation, I've finally bound a set of stays I made two years ago (what a pain) and I made the petticoat for the gown.

The class is for a hand sewn gown, so I made this by hand. The silk is pretty dark--but it's what I had on hand and after emailing shots of it to Angela, it was deemed okey dokey (I may post more about my fabric choice thoughts later).

So, earlier this week and yesterday, I got sewing. It's a basic apron tied petticoat (tworectangles of cloth sewn up the sides to 10" of the top, then pleated onto two lengths of twill tape like front and back facing apron strings).  I'd say working on it took five hours, including time I spent un-doing the back and reworking it to make it fit better over the bum roll (I added more fabric to accomodate that). 

I'm holding off trimming it--true Robe Anglaises were, from what I can see in period prints and portraits, generally sparsely trimmed, particularly in American portraits. I'm thinking I'll probably stick to just some pinked ruffles at the neckline and possibly the sleeves. Another consideration I've given is achieving a degree of period accuracy...I'm aiming to put this dress in the very early 1780s when there was a brief rage for things purple. The profile of period skirts was pretty full, but Robe Anglaises were not commonly worn with panniers, so far as I can see. I fit the skirt with a bum roll--got a nice full period back look, but that didn't give much side fullness. So, in an experiment, I put my corded petticoat on over the bum roll. That gave it a really nice full look. I don't know if corded petticoats were ever used--has anyone ever heard of this?

BTW--the jacket is an old one from the closet--I noticed the ribbon coordinated, so yay, I scored another outfit! This top is super light, so it might be just the thing to wear if we decide to dress out some night.

I can't say how much fun I've had getting back into hand sewing! However, today I'm going to tune up my featherweight. No, I'm not totally down on machine sewing!

BTW--I notice that almost nobody is posting on LJ of late. I've noticed some folk posting issues with DOS problems on Facebook last winter--is that the reason for the exodus? Is the community moving elsewhere? I've seen some folks reposting on Blogger. Is there any reason? I find reposting such a PITA--and I have found the Blogger interface a clunky substitute for Wordpress, without the community benefits of LJ. However, maybe there's some kind of new community feature there that I've missed? Anyone have any thoughts?

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March 2013

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