|Bodice from the right side - one row|
of lace left to be finished.
It's not going to clear up as quickly as I would like because the series coincided with the Vintage Pattern Lending Library's 1912 Project, so I'm basically sewing things right now that would have been in the Crawley girls' wardrobes at the beginning of the series. Right now, I'm working on a princess-lined slip that would have gone over their corsets. All this work and prettiness only to be hidden by more work and prettiness on the exterior.
I've never done insertion lace before, and that was why I took on the challenge project. Turns out it's not that bad - especially if you're using a machine. I can't imagine the horrors of pre-industrial insertion lace, where every seam has to be sewn basically 5 times (seams, lace sewn on either side, then the central seam slashed and rolled back and sewn under the edge of the lace). No wonder they needed dressmakers and ladies' maids.
|Cutting behind the lace is a little nerve-wracking.|
|Once the cut is made, the |
seam allowances are
Since I'd already muslined the bodice of the slip, I used the muslin pieces to cut, adding 1.5" to lengthen the waist and then drafting outward over the lines of the skirt to match the width I added above. I sewed the front pieces together, then pinned and stitched the first 3 lines of lace, down the center front (nicely marked by folding and ironing) and then down each of the princess seams. The lace only starts below the bust. After the lace was stitched and pressed, I took scissors and sliced up the center of the fabric - a little nerve-wracking considering that if I slipped I'd have to find a way to repair the lace. And I'm no lady's maid, doing invisible mending in the servants' hall.
Once the seams were opened, they were pressed back against the garment and trimmed so that they would fold back neatly, to be pinned down and stitched almost on top of the original stitching line. The historically accurate instructions say to roll the seam allowance and whipstitch it, but that means I'd still be on the first seam, so it's me and my Singer, all the way.
|Stitching the seam |
I don't know when I'm ever going to get to use this technique again. I think it's lovely, but it's a little frou-frou for my taste (unless it's a historical costume) but I'd love to find some way to work it into something, just because. I hate learning a technique, knowing I'm likely never to use it again.
|Closeup of the neckline.|
I've pinned the eyelet onto the neckline here to get the effect, but it will be done more neatly and the corners will be mitered. And I need to find ribbon to thread through it. That I'm sure I have in the trim stash.
|Slip front with trim pinned|
at neckline, all lace inserted.
I haven't even starting constructing the back yet, or added the ruffle at the bottom. The back is pretty straightforward, princess seamed again, with a button placket because of course a lady couldn't dress herself. It might have been a prettier time, but damn, it was inconvenient.