I’m making slow but steady progress on my green gown, in between other small projects.
The last time I blogged, I had finished the bodice and was starting to tackle trimming the skirt. This is the just-finished body of the skirt – no petticoat or hoop underneath – not bad looking plain! The skirt is made up of two panels of the green silk taffeta and one panel of same-colored plain cotton, in the back, where it will be covered by the pleated trim and the apron bustle. The piecing was necessary because once I had got the skirt assembled and all my strips cut out for pleating, I had only one tiny scrap of fabric left, and I wasn’t willing to give up the apron part of this costume, so I removed a panel of the skirt and replaced it with cotton.
I used the green cotton to back the green taffeta strips, to avoid having to do 170 feet of hand hemming!! I ended up with two strips that measured 330″ long and one that measured 370″ long (the reason the weren’t equal was that I had the idea that if I couldn’t quite get the pleats to go all the way around the skirt, it would be okay if there was a small gap in the back, where it would be covered by the apron. Therefore the only strip that I made certain would be long enough to go all the way around was the bottom one.)
Turning a giant tube of fabric inside out!
Then came pleating! As I was worried about a shortage of fabric, I couldn’t be as generous with the pleats as I’d have liked – the ones on Katherine’s skirt are quite deep.
Here’s a shot of the skirt with the first layer of pleats on (no, that’s not a dead body under my skirt; just a shoe.) I also threw the bodice on to get an idea of what it’s going to look like, but I wasn’t wearing my corset so I had to hold it shut. I have to say, I was a little discouraged at this point, because the pleats on the skirt just looked so sad and little – but as I’ve kept working on it, I’m feeling a little better about it.
Today I got the second layer of pleats put on, and tomorrow I’m going to tackle the last one. Then, if all goes well, I can whip together the apron on my next off week, which will bring this costume to a finish! I’ve certainly spent long enough getting it together that I’m ready for it to be done!