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How to apply lace as an edge finish for the Scroop Henrietta Maria dress thedreamstress.com

Tutorial: How to apply lace as an edge finish for the Henrietta Maria Dress/Top

One of the finishes I suggest for the Scroop Henrietta Maria dress and top is a lace edge finish.  It’s a really fun and easy technique, and yields a gorgeous finish.

The Henrietta Maria Dress & Top, http://www.scrooppatterns.com/products/henrietta-maria-dress-top

Since it’s not a technique everyone is familiar with, I thought I’d do a tutorial.

The concept is very simple: basically, you sew lace along the raw edge of a fabric, to cover the raw edge and keep it from unravelling.  You can use it on seam allowances, and on hems so you only have to turn them once.  On the Henrietta Maria, I like to use it on the neck and sleeve edges.

For this tutorial all you need is a narrow (approx 2cm/3/4″), soft lace to finish your edges, and whatever you want to apply them to.  I’ll be using a Henrietta Maria dress to demonstrate.

How to apply lace as an edge finish for the Scroop Henrietta Maria dress thedreamstress.com

Start by applying your interfacing pieces to the wrong side of your sleeve and body pieces:

How to apply lace as an edge finish for the Scroop Henrietta Maria dress thedreamstress.com

Set your sewing machine to a small length, medium width/height zig-zag.  I have mine set to 1.8 & 3, respectively.

How to apply lace as an edge finish for the Scroop Henrietta Maria dress thedreamstress.com

Today, for maximum nostalgia factor, I’m using my beloved Janome SW 2018E, the New Zealand sister of the first sewing machine I ever owned.

To prep your lace and fabric, overlap your lace over the RIGHt side of your fabric for about 7mm/1/4″ (use the motifs on your lace to pick an appropriate line).

How to apply lace as an edge finish for the Scroop Henrietta Maria dress thedreamstress.com

You can pin it, but I find it easiest to just hold and control as I sew.

Place your fabric and lace on the sewing machine, with the needle falling just off the edge of the lace on the left side of the zig-zag stitch:

How to apply lace as an edge finish for the Scroop Henrietta Maria dress thedreamstress.com

Zig-zag!

How to apply lace as an edge finish for the Scroop Henrietta Maria dress thedreamstress.comFinished, it looks like this:

How to apply lace as an edge finish for the Scroop Henrietta Maria dress thedreamstress.com

And from the wrong side:

How to apply lace as an edge finish for the Scroop Henrietta Maria dress thedreamstress.com

The zig-zag stitches do their job of preventing the fabric from unravelling, but the overall finish just looks much more elegant than a straight zig-zag stitch.

It’s particularly effective once all the tucks are sewn in:

How to apply lace as an edge finish for the Scroop Henrietta Maria dress thedreamstress.com

How pretty is that!

How to apply lace as an edge finish for the Scroop Henrietta Maria dress thedreamstress.com

Next up: how to sew an elastic waistband into the Henrietta Maria dress, and a photoshoot featuring the finished frock (possibly with some historical posts in between, to keep things lively and because I swore I wouldn’t be one of those bloggers who launches a pattern line and then never blogs about anything else 😉 ).

Rate the Dress: 1860s florals and swags

I’ve been on a bit of a roll lately – two extremely popular Rate the Dresses in a row!  Last week’s Florentine noblewoman in green sailed in with a spectacular 9.3 out of 10, just missing out on pipping the princess from a fortnight before to the post – much to my disappointment, as I personally LOVE the green dress, and give it a perfect 10.  (actually, if we include my scores, the princess drops to 9.3 and this bumps up to 9.4 😉 )

Oddly enough, my favourite things about the painting – the reality of the partlet strings, and the faithfulness with which the artist rendered the sitters hands, rather than turning them into generic, idealised hands, were also the things it was most criticised for.

This dress, from the (envy-inspiring) collection of Alexandre Vasilliev, would be a fairly unremarkable example of 1860s fashion, in a classic pairing of red and grey, were it not for the spectacular trompe-l’oeil floral and ribbon pattern bordering the skirt.

Dress, early 1860s, Collection of Alexandre Vasilliev

Dress, early 1860s, Collection of Alexandre Vasilliev

The lush floral pattern, whether it is printed on or woven-in, is an extravagant display of the technological advances in dyeing, printing and fabric weaving that characterised the mid-19th century.  The design, with its lavish use of colour, is absolutely typical of mid-century taste, and links the simpler silhouette and main overall colour of the dress to the desire for the new that would make any innovation, no matter how ostentatious, popular.

Detail of dress, 1860s, Alexandre Vaselliev

Detail of dress, 1860s, Alexandre Vaselliev

The florals and colours of the dress are echoed in the bonnet it is shown with, linking back to the natural imagery and the ribbon motif.

Dress, early 1860s, Alexandre Vaselliev

Dress, early 1860s, Alexandre Vaselliev

What do you think?  A good balance of modesty and ostentation, or gauche and showy?

Rate the Dress on a Scale of 1 to 10

HSM ’16 Challenge #5: an autumn cardigan

I had grand plans for the Historical Sew Monthly 2016 Challenge #5: Gender Bender.  I was going to finish my 1916 Wearing History jacket, and give it a few twists that made the correlation between the jacket and menswear even more obvious.  But life, as it so often does, got in the way, in the form of unexpected overseas visitors and exciting opportunities.

With the month coming to a close, I was in a bit of a panic.  What did I have on my sewing list or in my UFO pile that wasn’t going to take 20 hours to finish, and that was for a man, or that showed the influence of menswear?

How about a 1920s cardigan?

Perfect!

A 1920s inspired cardigan thedreamstress.com

Even better, I realised I had a half-finished blog-post on the history of cardigans for my terminology series sitting in my draft folder.  I could cross two UFOs off my list in one go!

A 1920s inspired cardigan thedreamstress.com

The cardigan is made from midweight merino knit in black, with buttons in black and light brown.

A 1920s inspired cardigan thedreamstress.com

Although black became a fashionable colour in the 1910s and 20s, it wasn’t a particularly popular colour for knitwear, though it was certainly used.  Merino wool, sometimes called botany wool, was used for knitwear throughout the 1910s or 20s (it was specifically listed in the types of woolen products banned from export from Britain during WWI).

I based the look of my cardigan on numerous images of 1920s cardigans with V-necks, loose silhouettes, and low pockets, particularly two featured on the page of 1920s knitwear in Fashion: The Ultimate Book of Costume & Style.  While I used the 1920s as my primary source, the basic style appears in the 1910s and lasted well into the 1930s, with only slight variations in shape and detailing:

Good Housekeeping cover by Coles Phillips, Aug 1916

Good Housekeeping cover by Coles Phillips, Aug 1916

SPORTS ENSEMBLE, comprising soft tweed check skirt with fitting basque, blouse with short sleeves, and cardigan, in green crepe mousse. Auckland Star, 8 December 1930

SPORTS ENSEMBLE, comprising soft tweed check skirt with fitting basque, blouse with short sleeves, and cardigan, in green crepe mousse. Auckland Star, 8 December 1930

I’m wearing the cardigan with my ‘Bambi & Bows’ 1929 dress, a 1930s girdle and petticoat, and vintage (probably 1960s) cotton stockings, which matched the outfit perfectly in real life, and then ruined the look by photographing as ochre.

A 1920s inspired cardigan thedreamstress.com

My hat is a complete cheat – it’s a modern hat that I quickly safety pinned into a sort of cloche shape, and added an arrow clip, and called it good

A 1920s inspired cardigan thedreamstress.com

Hat aside, I was extremely pleased with the outfit, particularly how comfortable it was.  Cotton stockings with garters are SO much nicer and snugglier than modern tights.  The whole ensemble was warm and easy to move in.  No wonder cardigans were so popular in the 1920s!  I’m now inspired to make myself even more Rosalie stockings for modern wear, and a few 1930s wool crepe dresses, and this look could become a winter staple.

A 1920s inspired cardigan thedreamstress.com

What the item is: a mid-1920s cardigan.

The Challenge: #5 Gender-Bender

Fabric/Materials: 1.6m of midweight double-knit merino wool.  I think it was about $30 a meter – not cheap, but it was so nice and soft!

Pattern: My own, based on my Mackenzie cardigan pattern.

Year: ca. 1925

Notions: 20cm of cotton interfacing, 5 wooden buttons, thread.

How historically accurate is it? The overall shape and materials are pretty good, and machine knitted cardigans with sewn elements did exist, though home-made ones did not, so that part is marginal.  Maybe 70%

Hours to complete: 4

First worn: By me, ALL THE TIME, because it’s so comfortable

Total cost: $40ish A 1920s inspired cardigan thedreamstress.com