Monday, May 25, 2009

Rebekah's yellow dress

I finished Rebekah's yellow dress today so I can check one more item off of my list! Anymore it takes me three days to finish a dress. Day 1: cut out bodice, sleeves (always hand hemmed) and waistband and assemble including neckline piping and completely finish neckline (also by hand). Day 2: rip skirt panels, iron and hand hem to proper length, put in 3-5 growth tucks and iron it all neat and pretty! Day 3: run gathering stitches or pin in pleats and attach skirt to outer waistband by machine, whip stitch inner waistband after ironing, make 5-7 hand made buttonholes (I don't like hooks & eyes) and attach buttons - usually china but occasionally mother of pearl. I used to work somewhat quicker but I find it easier to pace myself this way for right now. Rebekah's dress is following my favorite style for this summer, a gathered bodice, bateau neckline and cap sleeves. She will have silk ribbons at the shoulder but I didn't pin them on for this picture, I have some pretty yellow from Wooded Hamlet that will go well, I think. Her skirt is only 85" wide as I was short on fabric.

Her pettichemise sleeves really shouldn't be peeking out, I need to make sleeveless chemises for all the girls this summer but I'm pretty sure that I won't get it done. Maybe I can just pretend that I meant it to look that way!
I hope everyone had a nice Memorial Day!

Friday, May 22, 2009

New dresses for Abby

I think we finally have our computer issues worked out and so I can blog about what I've been doing during our down time. I want to get all of the children's sewing done by the end of June so that I can concentrate on sewing the baby's layette. BTW, for whatever reason blogger won't let me put these pictures in the correct order. :-(

We went fabric shopping today so that all of the girls could choose a new dress. Most of these fabrics ranged from $2.99 to $3.99 a yard and I know I'll be sorry that I didn't buy more yardage when I had the chance! From top to bottom they belong to: Abigail, Elisabethe, Rebekah, Tabitha, and Katie.
This aqua diamond dress was originally for Elisabethe but the waistband came out way too tight in spite of my correctly (or so I thought) measuring it, it therefore became a play dress for Abby. It is a little longer in the bodice and skirt than I would normally make for her, but she'll grow into it. Below is a close up so you can see the print.

The lavender dress below is the one I sewed first, it is intended to be a "Sunday best/going to Grammas" dress. It has a bateau neckline with some light gathering along the neck and cap sleeves with silk ribbon bows at the shoulder. The skirt is 80" wide with 3 half inch growth tucks and it fastens with 5 hand worked buttonholes.

And a full length shot.

This is the full length shot of the aqua dress, it is made in the same style as the lavender except there's no gathering along the neckline. The skirt is 80" which seems so full and feminine, I really like that look. It has 3 half inch growth tucks and 5 hand worked buttonholes as well.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Tabitha's revamped summer frock

I finished Tabitha's new dress today. It might look familiar as I was working on it last autumn. It originally was a winter dress with coat sleeves, but the sleeve pattern was off and after I tried to fix it and they still weren't right, well, it got put away for a while. ;-)

So I took the sleeves out and re-cut them into the loose sleeves they are now and trimmed them with waved braid. It's the 100% cotton trim that I got from E-Bay a while back; it is shaped somewhat different than modern rick rack, closer to the original stuff a little bit. The color combination is period correct for the 1860's, even though it seems pretty raucous for modern tastes. I also put 5 growth tucks in the skirt rather than my usual 3, it's a sure bet that they will have a growth spurt the minute they get a new dress! ;-) It does have a waistband, though it's hard to see; the waistband has the stripes going horizontally instead of vertically as they are in the rest of the dress. I've done that several times and I really like the way it sets off the waist.

There is a discussion over at the Sewing Academy about sewing for others. The recommended rate is between $25 and $30 an hour as advised by those who do/have made a business out of it. I timed myself when sewing the trim onto the sleeves, it took me an hour and 20 minutes to do them both. At that rate I'd pay around $40 just for the trim, not counting the actual dress construction (and the trim on the bodice!) and fabric. Dear me! I find that very motivating when I'm tempted to think that sewing is a waste of time. But regardless, it's my job to make sure the children are clothed, I suppose I should call it my duty since that's really what it is. I'm thankful for the many sewing, crafting, painting, quilting, doll making, history loving fellow bloggers who continually inspire me to approach my duties with renewed vigor and inspiration. Thanks to all of you!