All posts tagged: 1905

A corset for Emily: draping the pattern

I haven’t blogged much about Emily’s dress lately because I have been focused on my 17th and 18th century sewing, but I have been plugging away on it. Obviously the thing that I really need to make a the dress fit right is a 1903ish straight fronted corset. Based on period advertising, the most common straight fronted corset imported and sold in New Zealand in the first five years of the 20th century was the famous W.B. Erect Form Corset. For my 1903 corset, I used images of the WB erect form, and Norah Waugh’s ca. 1901 straight fronted corset pattern. The patterning on these things is insane.  The panels are ridiculously curved, and the seaming has no relation to the bone placement. I’m draping my pattern on Isabelle.  I’m not sure if this will really work.  The 1903 silhouette is so extreme that it’s really hard to fit and figure out from anything that remotely matches a normal body shape.  I’m just going to try my best, and hope!  

Achieving Emily pink

I know that last week, when I blogged about the evilness of pintucking, before life and a lack of internet derailed the blog, I promised to tell you what the pintucks had taught me. But that’s the wrong way to tell the story of Emily’s dress, because before you can pintuck fabric you have to have the right fabric. I already told you about the quest to figure out the correct term for the fabric type, and then to find a modern replacement, and that I ended up buying white silk taffeta.  Obviously Emily’s dress is extremely pink, not white. So, how to get extremely pink fabric?  Dye it! When I went to dye Emily’s fabric, I was a little scared.  It was a very precise colour, and a LOT of fabric to dye at once. I kept trying to put it off, but when I looked out the window I noticed that our camellia bush had put out its first bloom of the year, and it was exactly the right shade of pink.  Obviously …

Emily’s 1903 evening gown: matching the fabric

Having determined that Emily’s dress was made out of a fabric very similar to silk razimir, and having gotten over my initial shock at the extremely pink colour and decided that the colour was integral to the dress, I had to try to find the same fabric.  Or at least a fabric that acted in the same way. I searched, and searched.  I ordered fabric and fabric samples off the internet, and got peculiar corded silks, weird sclumpy twill weave silks described as silk ottoman by someone with no fabric knowledge, silk twill that was lovely but didn’t behave when you tried to pintuck it, and other unsuitable fabrics. I scoured the fabric stores in Wellington and further afield.  I did find one gorgeous piece of palest pink silk razimir (which the fabric store, also incorrectly, called silk ottoman), but alas, at $150 a metre it was beyond my budget.  Also, even if I could have paid $150 a metre, I would have been far too scared to dye it a deeper pink.  And it …