Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Working on my "Russian" Dress

I don't know if you remember a miniseries that was on TV probably 15+ years ago. It was either Peter the Great, or Catherine the Great, and I'm now leaning toward Peter, but it matters not. The costumes were wonderful, and I fell in love with the sleeves on the dresses. The dresses were layered of course, for warmth, and the sleeves were fairly tight-fitting, and from the elbow to the wrist, they looked like they were made about twice as long as necessary, and so had lots of wrinkles/folds there. The wrists were very tight.

So, since I had recently gone to a pattern-making seminar, I decided I could do this. I made a very plain, non-layered dress in a rust jacquard with tiny black diamonds, with tucks at the shoulders and buttons and loops closure at CB and at the wrists. The standing collar is quite high (6 buttons,) with an extra-depth bias piece for the outer collar, so it has folds like the sleeves. I wore this, usually belted, for several years, and it was especially nice on very cold evenings. I made it when I was a much larger size than I am now, and I tried it on the other day and decided I could remake it as a much more fitted dress. I took it all apart except the collar and about 1" of shoulder seam near the collar, and began pinning, etc. It's very interesting, and I'm finding that my now usual alteration taking length out above the bust is necessary on this too. I've put in fisheye darts below the bust, and horizontal darts too. In the back, I have shoulder darts, and fisheye darts, as well as a horizontal dart at the waist.

I was thinking of putting a half-belt at the waist to hide the waist dart, but since I've added the tuck above the bust, which looks like a really cute design detail, I'm thinking of using an exposed teeth zipper (gold) in the above bust (yoke) seam, and maybe I should do one at the back waist too. I think it would be kind of cute, but I suppose if I do that, I should get rid of the buttons and loops, and use a zipper as the back closure too. What would be very cute would be to use a zipper down the side of the collar and onto the shoulder seam. If I do that, I'll take the collar off and turn it so the opening is at the side. I'm planning to use an invisible zipper in the side seam as the actual closure. Anyway, I can't decide whether this is worth all the work, or if I'm just fooling around with it while I try to decide what else I want to do.

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