Well, thanks to Polly/Oliver, I’m still running three days late for HSF challenges, but my Chinoiserie skirt is done (done, done, done DONE!), and I swear this is the last time I’m late and my White challenge will be in before the deadline!
The Chinoiserie skirt has been a bit of a sewing rollercoaster. It’s gone terribly well, and then well, terribly, and then terribly well, and then well, terribly. Now that it’s done I think I’m pretty pleased with it.
Kinda unsure though.
So what went terribly well? The double piping, as long as it was around moderate curves. Just look at how tiny and neat it is here, even just pinned on:
And then sewed on properly:
It’s the perfect blend of my Chinese inspiration, and Western sewing in 1903 (though they might very well have done it exactly as it was done in China).
Unfortunately, when it came to apply the piping around the extremely sharp corners and curves of some of the front detailing, things went well, terribly.
The one on the right isn’t as sharp and precise as I had hoped, but it isn’t terrible. That blob on the left though? Urgh. Seriously! What happened? I’m not even sure – I had to hand sew those areas, I thought I’d done them very precisely, but once I’d sewn both lengths of piping, and pressed, I suddenly had a bulging blob of sewing goop that looked more like it was inspired by Ghostbusters than the mysteries of the East.
Luckily the other side of the front turned out much better, and it is near my hem, and the overall effect isn’t too bad, en masse.
And even just pinned on, you get an idea of the effect of the pattern, and how it improves the fall of the skirt, giving it some necessary swish and bulk.
The way it changed the way the skirt hangs is actually one of my favourite things about my decoration. I always knew it would help give a little body and support, and act like cording does in a petticoat (the piping is, after all, essentially four lines of cording), but the effect is even better than I hoped.
Also, the last two photos give the best impression of what the colour is really like.
In order to sew the applique on, I sewed the centre front join, pinned it on to the skirt, checked that it was exactly symmetrical, and then machine sewed the top edge on from front to back, stopping 6 inches from the centre back.
I then machine sewed the bottom edge on all the long smooth points, getting as close as I could to the fancier cut-ins.
Then I checked, trimmed and sewed the centre back seam, pinned the last section in place, and machine sewed it. Finally, I hand-sewed on the pesky cut-ins.
Clearly I haven’t gotten to the top, but I could wear the skirt with a simple shirtwaist (Separates challenge perhaps?), and there will be a challenge later in the year that will be suitable for finishing up challenges.
The Challenge: #14 Eastern Influence
Fabric: 2.5 metres of plain weave delft blue wool with a slightly fulled finish ($8 from an op shop), 1 vintage silk & metal obi ($5), scraps of ivory silk-cotton (free – left over from another project)
Pattern: My own, based on a pattern in the Ladies Tailor Made section of The “Standard” Work on Cutting, 1900
Notions: 27 metres of piping cord ($8), hem tape (50 cents), 9 hooks & loops (inherited).
How historically accurate is it? The design is not based on a specific historical precedent, though there were designers in the early 20th century using Chinese textiles for inspiration, so it’s plausible. The construction is 85% accurate. The hem isn’t (machine invisible hemming) and I’m not sure about the techniques I used to create my appliqué. So 80% all up.
Hours to complete: 11. Doing the appliqué properly would have taken another 15 or so, which makes me feel a lot better about it!
First worn: Not yet, I need to finish the bodice.
Total cost: NZ$21.50 (and that will cover the bodice as well – not bad!)
Looking at it now, in the warm glow of morning, I’m feeling quite a warm glow towards it. The mistakes are so minor, and so near the hem, that they are unlikely to be noticed, and I’m going to experiment before doing the bodice, to make sure I can get the collar perfect.
And, of course, the most important question? How does Felicity feel about it?
I think she approves!
Of course I approve. It’s gorgeous, and it’s lovely scrummy warm wool. Get over yourself Mommes and come give me a cuddle!