29 March 2016

35 by 35 no. 22, a Victorian wrapper

Sewing again
Finally! I made a Victorian dress.
It is a wrapper, from Laughing Moon Pattern #118. I made the dartless version, so it doesn't look like much from the front -- mostly like 8 yards of fabric with a hem. The back is identifiably Victorian.

Firsts for me in this project:
1. An in-seam pocket (incidentally, the pocket in this pattern is huge; I can fit my entire class's homework in there without folding it)
2. A lining (flat-lining)
3. I said, "Bah, I know how to set a sleeve" and did so without reading the instructions. -- I was rushing to get the project done before Purim, so I omitted the armscye piping.
4. I closed a whole bodice with hooks and eyes and it works!
5. Victorian coat sleeves. They are not rectangles like modern sleeves; they are banana-shaped. Interesting.
5. I started and finished a dress in three days!

This month's theme for the Historical Sew Monthly is Protection.
I could say something about Purim... about how the custom to wear costumes is to show that things really aren't what they appear to be, that even those who threaten us are all part of G-d's plan, just in disguise....

What is maybe more relevant to the HSM is that what surprised me about this wrapper is how unprotected it is. A wrapper is an informal dress for wearing around the house.
But you really can't do a whole lot of housework in a floor-length dress with droopy sleeves and expect the dress to stay clean. An apron does not provide protection where it is most needed.
I suppose the lady who wears this wrapper hires a servant who wears something a little shorter and narrower sleeves to bake the cookies for forty mishloach manos.

The Challenge: Protection.
Material: Cotton broadcloth, white and pink. I've been feeling pastel this year.
Pattern: Laughing Moon #118: Ladies' Adjustable Morning Dress, Wrapper, and Maternity Dress
Year: I'm going to take a shot in the dark and say 1855, because
How historically accurate is it: I juxtaposed an 1840's standing collar with 1860's coat sleeves, which is probably unjustifiable. I piped nothing. Otherwise I think it's all accurate.
Notions: a bunch of hooks and eyes. I think that's it.
Hours to complete: one evening, one afternoon, and another day besides.
First worn: for Purim.
Total cost: Don't remember. I was able to get the whole short lining out of the recommended yardage, though.

And the question I always add, Is it suitable for beginners? -- No. The shape is simple and the techniques are basic, but trying to work with a lining means twice as much ripping-out and re-doing because one of those layers is going to wrinkle and get in the stitches. If you left out the lining, which would be simple to do, it would be all right, BUT the pattern is not written for beginners -- e.g. there is no comforting reminder to sew "right sides together" with every step.
Bottom line, it would be suitable for beginners if you leave out the lining and sew with someone who has slightly more experience or a bump for engineering.

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