Tuesday, May 31, 2011

more sewing...

... but not for me.

When you are the only person in the entire extended family that sews, you can expect to get roped into things like this...

My niece (on husband's side of the family) is in the drama program at an arts high school. She was given a project to create a Restoration Era dress. Yes, that's correct. These kids have to MAKE a dress that would have been worn in the 1700's (or thereabouts). This is not a sewing or costuming class, this is for her drama mark. And it has to be done in three weeks. (I've got to believe there are some families freaking out right about now - if you don't know anyone who sews, you got to be up the proverbial creek...)
Anyhoo, I get a phone call on Thursday, begging for help. (She was put up to this by my SIL, but that's a whole other issue we won't get into. I'm all about helping the kids, parents be damned.)
So to make a long story less tedious, my SIL and Niece come out to my place on Saturday and we take a field trip to Fabricland.
Simplicity 4092,

And all the fabrics, threads, trims etc, that we'll need.

Back to my place, and I start laying things out and get the girl cutting. (It's her project!) She cuts out all the pieces, (thankfully, I have extra fabric, as I have to recut some of the smaller bits...)We start putting some things together, and she gets an idea of the construction techniques. I send them off (they live about 45 minutes from us) with all the trim that has to be sewn together (we're layering some ribbons and ruffles). I start the construction, taking MAJOR shortcuts (no facings - narrow hems, no boning, no lining, nothing extraneous!) It pains me from a seamstress point of view, but really, this is for a 16 year old. As much as I'm doing the basic construction for her, no one is expecting boning and lining!
I've got to say, it's looking pretty good so far! There are still the sleeves to add (with a major flounce and lace trim to the cuff...), and the blue overskirt (you really only see the front of the gold skirt.)
The gold underskirt is a separate piece, and as a waistband, I used the blue satin blanket trim we found - it's nice and soft and very wide, so it made a great waistband casing without adding too much bulk - this skirt is about 16 feet around!

You can see where I took shortcuts around the bodice - the blue upper edge is just hemmed, rather than faced, or lined.

But this fabric is perfect for our needs. At it's tablecloth fabric! Who knew? 60 inches wide, damask detailing, heavy weight (good body), and only $5.10 per metre! How cheap is that?
Of course, I was telling this to my MIL, and she hinted around for an actual tablecloth! Heck, why not? They have a huge table, and she likes the look of tablecloths, so I said I pick some up for her next time I was out - I'll customize the cloth to her table, and for less than $30, her 12 foot dining table will have a custom cloth.
But first,I have to return to the Restoration Era, and get this dress done! (At least, as done as I have to get it. Jess will have to sew on the trim, and hem it. Anything done by hand is to be done by her.

She's already planning on wearing it for Halloween this year...

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

That is awesome! Your niece is really lucky to have a generous aunt like you--generous with time and skill. You are very creative and imaginative. I'm astounded at the scope of the project, and the cost involved. Please show us the finished garment. How about wearing it at one of those Medieval Times dinner and jousting tournaments? I know, not the right era. But still.
Marlyce in Windsor

Lucky Canuck said...

Say, that's really neat! It's turning out great. I'll be excited too to see the finished piece. Keep us posted!

TracyKM said...

She is SO lucky to have you. What about all the other kids that don't have anyone that sews, or can't afford the cost to hire someone? This really doesn't sound like a high school project...even in community theater there are costume mistresses to look after those things, or they'd rent costumes.
I would have taken an easy way, LOL, and made a pauper's outfit or something. Surely not everyone got to dress so beautifully. Can't wait to see the final result. Other than time, is is complicated?

KnitTech said...

You're an amazing Aunt!

Brendaknits said...

At least she asked. I have a niece that says " You have to make my curtains". Oh yea?

Needles said...

Some people have the nicest, bestest aunts.

Acorn to Oak said...

What a terrific aunt you are! And, a fast, talented sewer! It looks great!

Carol said...

The DRAMA dept assigned this? Oh Em Gee. How on earth would a 16 year old who had never sewn get anything like this done???? I would have been tempted to make a doll sized dress. Except that working in small sizes would probably have made it even harder. I am in shock

Knit and Purl Mama said...

Oh wow when is her play? I should have read this post first before asking what she needed the costume for.