Wednesday, 23 March 2011

The light blue dress, and something new...

The dress.

Now then, work on the light blue dress had to fall by the wayside for the last few weeks, thanks to work that had to be done by the re-enactor's market.

That was last weekend, and I've nearly recovered from the run-up to it, so I've started working on it again.

I've been working on the central panel at the front of the bodice area.  If you look at the design, there's an overlap at the centre front.  i've decided that this should be a separate piece, not an overlap of the two sides.
I want to fill this with a sort of beaded smocking. 

I tried making a version with just the georgette, but it was too flimsy to hold the shape while stitching.  I tried using an interfaced layer of satin, overlaid with the georgette, but that was much too stiff.  So I tried a layer of unstiffened satin with the georgette overlay, but that was too stiff.
I basically had the dilemma that I wanted the smocking to only be a layer of georgette, over a flat (unsmocked) layer of satin, but the georgette isn't up to the job of holding the smocking while working on it.


Then, while testing out an embroidery pattern for something else, I suddenly realised - water soluble stabiliser.   So yesterday I cut a piece of stick-on cold water soluble embroidery stabiliser, and marked up the smocking grid on the back.  I stuck it to the georgette and ran the gathering threads, and started stitching the smocking in place.  I'm only about half done, but so far so good!

The 'something new'.

This is a commission, not a 'want to' project, as such.

A "Napoleonic" hussar's uniform.  I use inverted commas for the 'napoleonic' bit, because strictly speaking it isn't.

It's loosely based on a Napoleonic Brunswick uniform, but the brief is that it's to have certain aspects of the uniform, and to be in certain colours, but the exact details are up to me.

The dolman and trousers are to be in black, the trousers to have leather re-inforcement and lace, the dolman to have dark blue facings with black lace and silver lace, and the waistcoat to be dark blue with silver lace.

As it's not a reproduction, I get to use my imagination on this one, and make certain bits of it up as I go along, which makes it much more fun.  don't get me wrong, I can do (and have done) a straight, dogged, exact repro, but there's much more scope for creativity in just 'making stuff up', and that makes it fun!

Anyway, starting with the dolman - the cuff and collar are braided (by hand) in a narrow lurex russia braid.  I've used lurex because I wanted to have a different shade of silver from the wider military lace (which is metallised polyester).

Now onto the waistcoat - the narrow braid (that you can see behind the wider braid, and at the (false) pockets) is the same lurex, and is sewn on by hand, because I couldn't get the loops to behave to my satisfaction with the machine.

The wider braid, in slightly squiggly rows, is metallised polyester (proper military lace.  The pattern of that is taken from an original Brunswick wastcoat (though the fabric isn't dark blue, and it isn't a hussar waistcoat, but an infantry one).

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