Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Red satin gown for the 6 year old

I made this dress for my 6 year old daughter for the local Renaissance Festival.

It's made from a lightweight silk and cotton blend satin (in her current preferred color: RED!). I interlined the skirt with a plain weave linen to give it more body. The bodice is interlined with cotton twill and lined with the same linen as the skirt. The hem of the skirt is edged with deep red petersham ribbon. I stitched two rows of narrow gold trim around the neckline.

The sash is made from a soft yellow-gold silk. I sewed a length of silk into a tube on the machine, turned and pressed it, then pleated each end and sewed on a tassel. I made the tassels from metallic gold thread and white silk and linen threads.

The bodice closes in back with hand-sewn eyelets and there is a bone on each side of the opening. I offset the eyelets for a spiral lacing.

The sleeves are made of two layers of blue-ish grey linen, trimmed with black petersham ribbon. The sleeves tie into the bodice; two lengths of black twill tape are sewn to the sleeve and a small brass ring is sewn to the bodice lining at the shoulder point.

Both the gown and the sleeves were patterned from diagrams in The Tudor Child, a super awesome book I highly recommend. Since my little one is a bit small for her age/height, I knew the 6-yo size pattern would be large on her, so didn't scale the pattern up exactly, but instead used the pictures as a guide to draw my own pattern to her measurements.

I have to confess I made the skirt a little skimpy because I was being cheap. It is gored smoothly in front and pleated in back.

I made everything mostly by machine, partly by hand, following the "no visible machine sewing" rule. So the main construction was done by machine and edges, linings, and eyelets were sewn by hand.

There is a petticoat of the same grey linen as the sleeves, trimmed with wider black petersham. The petticoat is just a rectangle, pleated all around, with a strip of wool batting in the pleats in the sides and back, to give a rounded shape. The petticoat is held up with two lengths of wide twill tape, sewn on like suspenders.

The shift details can be seen in this post. The cap is from her last costume. I made it when she was 3 and I am amazed it still sorta fit!

She loved her dress and enjoyed wearing it all day at the festival!

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

A shift for a 6-year-old girl

I made this little shift (or smock) for my daughter for the upcoming local Renaissance festival.

It's made of white cotton lawn. Why cotton lawn and not linen? I have no idea. Not sure what I was thinking. I guess maybe I wanted something very fine and sheer? But we do have a very nice fine handkerchief linen at work I could have used. Oh well, next time!

I cut this following the diagram in the book The Tudor Child. The book advises not adding seam allowances and just sewing them very narrow, 1/4" or less, but I wanted a wider allowance so I could make French and flat-felled seams more easily. I am very picky about a totally clean interior finish!

I started sewing it on the machine, and decided I would just hand-sew on the lace at the end. But I figured if I am handsewing the lace I may as well hand sew the neckband as well, and then I thought about maybe just handsewing everything that shows, and the idea of doing a little handsewing was appealing, so I went with it.

I could have done the whole thing by hand, but I just wasn't in the mood. For one thing, kids grow out of stuff so fast, and for another, this is going to be worn at the Renaissance festival, so hardcore accuracy is definitely not required!

So: the French seams at the shoulders and sides are machine-sewn. The flat-felled seams are machined for the first pass and then the edges are stitched down by hand. The neckband and cuffs were machined on the RS and the inside edge was hand stitched down. The neck slit is hand-hemmed. I actually did not hem the bottom, I just cut the body on the cross-grain and the lower edge is a selvage.

The sleeve seams are felled to each side so the sleeve end could open into a slit. As soon as I finished felling one sleeve seam, I realized I could have made the seam allowances MUCH tinier. (The Tudor Tailor was right.) They look huge! Alas. Another thing for next time!

The underarm gusset is felled all around, and the armscye seam allowance is pressed toward the body and felled.

This lace is synthetic, but I would never have guessed if I hadn't done a burn test. I thought it looked like a cotton bobbin lace and gave a historic enough feel.

The buttons are Dorset thread buttons I made using the directions in the book 50 Heirloom Buttons To Make. They are sz 50 linen thread over a metal ring. The button loops are also made in linen thread, and I stitched over the loops with a buttonhole stitch.

Next up: petticoat bodies and a gown! Little clothes are fun!