I’ve finished binding the tabs of the bodice of Ninon’s dress.
My bound tabs
I used kid leather to bind the tabs. This may not be 100% historically accurate.
There are numerous examples of 18th century stays bound in leather, but I couldn’t find any extent 17th century bodices with leather bindings. However, all the bodices I did find were bound in a different fabric from the main bodice fabric: usually a sort of ribbed tape. I couldn’t find a suitable modern alternative, especially in the right colour, so I decided to go with kid.
I cut apart an old kid glove for my bindings. A few years back I found a bag of mis-matched and soiled gloves at an op shop and I picked them up thinking they might be useful.
My soiled kid gloves
Boy am I so glad I did! Binding stays with kid leather is soooooo much easier than any other kind of binding. Because the leather doesn’t fray, you don’t have to fold in the cut edges. The leather folds smoothly over the inner and outer curves of the tabs. The kid is soft enough to easily push a needle through. It’s fantastic.
I’m binding all my stays in kid leather from now on – and I can, because it only took 3 half inch wide strips of kid to do these tabs, and there is enough of the one glove left to do it another 3 or four times. Considering I have a dozen gloves, I have kid for a couple dozen stays! Happiness!
The leather curving over the tabs
The other cool thing about the kid is that when you run out of a piece you just overlap a new piece and continue sewing.
An overlapped join in the kid
I’m sure my sewing technique will get better as I do more kid binding, but this first attempt doesn’t look too bad.
The binding from the back
As you may have guessed from yesterday’s post, all the eyelets are done on Ninon’s bodice, and I’ve put the lining in and completely finished the outside.
I used some soft white linen that I had in my stash. The white was a little blinding against the dark gold of the duchesse silk satin, so I dyed it.
Too much contrast
I used exactly the same dye that I used on the silk, but it came out pale yellow. It’s fascinating what dye does on different fibres.
Dark gold yellow on beige silk, pale yellow on white linen. And my eyelets
The entire lining is stitched down over the boned linen base using running stitches, just like the outer duchesse silk satin.
The stitched down linen lining
I finished the edges of the front point, and the entire neckline by turning over the edges of the lining and tacking them down to the turned-over duchesse silk satin using an invisible whip stitch, just like the finishing on the Bath dress.
Finished neckline and front point
The lining stitched down around the neckline
Unlike the front point, the tabs don’t get finished in this fashion; they will be bound. In preparation for that, I’ve basted all around the tabs just to hold everything in place.
The finished front edge, and basted tabs
So now I need to bind the tabs. And make sleeves. And find some awesome jewels to go around the neckline and down the front.
Chiara will be modeling Ninon’s dress at the upcoming talk on Baroque and Rococo music and fashion, so she came over last night to try it on.
She looks sooooooo amazing in it.
There are a few little tweaks that need to be done (particularly the modesty drapery around the neckline), but for the most part, it’s perfect.
These aren’t the best photos, but you get the idea. I’m in love. Seraphim sing.
It's so atmospheric and fabulous and golden!
Modesty draping definitely needed
The skirt poof! The sleeves!
Look at that waist! And the smooth torso!
As you can see (or guess), I’ve finished all the eyelet holes, and the lining. Since the photoshoot I have sewn the sleeve straps, so the only thing left to do is the sleeves and then the construction is done!