Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Ice Blue Silk Elizabethan Gown - A Stash Project

This last week I started working on my next project, an Elizabethan gown with some French styling. It's an ice-blue silk taffeta, with some beaded trim for the bodice. The sleeves will be paned with little gold and pearl jewels holding the poufs in place. The hem will have a light gold braid trim that exactly matches the unusual light gold border on the beaded trim.

This is primarily a stash project, as I've had the blue silk for 4 years, the beaded trim for maybe even longer, I didn't need to buy any interlining fabrics (linen, cotton duck cloth, felt), I had zip ties for boning, had the silk to line the skirt, have the sleeve jewels and linen or organza for sleeve poufs, etc. The only thing I bought for this project is 3.5 yards of gold braid to trim the skirt hem.

 Some things I'm doing differently than usual on this new dress:
1. Zip ties for boning. I have always used spring steel for boning my kirtles and gowns. I have decided to try zip ties for this dress to see what I think. Right away the problem of their thickness arose. This bodice has 5 layers of fabric and still shows the boning! Once I can put it on and see if it bothers me, I'll make the decision to change it or not.
2. Tiny eyelets! On the pink linen kirtle underneath the blue silk bodice, you can see the size of the eyelets I normally make. I'm trying tiny eyelets this time, just for something different. They do get sewn a little faster. I'll have to lace it up with ribbon through a tapestry needle to fit through the little holes.

3. More fabric in the skirt. I don't think I have a single dress with more than 3 yards of fabric in it, give or take a couple inches. This gown will have a full 3.5 yards of fabric in the skirt (didn't quite have enough for 4 yards), hopefully giving it more body and fullness, mainly because the blue silk is so light.

4. Lining the skirt. I don't have any gowns that have a lined skirt; I usually just wear a petticoat and not worry about it. However, this silk fabric is very lightweight and a little bit see-thru and that's not gonna work! I am fully lining the skirt in a silver silk dupioni to give the gown some weight, movement, and prevent the petticoat showing through the fabric. This means I won't be adding my usual strip of fabric padding on the pleats, just using the two layers of silk.

Here's some inspiration art. I'm mainly going for the look of the first dress, especially the sleeves, which will be almost exactly like these. Girl needs a partlet and a girdle belt, stat! Second image is for the sleeve poufs and lacing up the back. Third is for the partlet, trim style, and sleeves.

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