The Felicite Noir fabric arrived today-- one day sooner than expected. I had gone to JoAnn's in Roxbury yesterday to look for a possible contrast petticoat fabric, and found one I liked. The gown is going to be a sacque with stomacher. I also acquired a dress form. It's a medium size and I'm more like "stout" at the moment, but I'm going to buy some beans and pad what needs to be padded a la American Duchess.
First, however, I need to alter my stays which are still too small. I discovered that they have massive seam allowances (Yay me!) which will help a bit. Those will be let out. Then Au fil des passions posted a pic of some stays that laced over a boned front panel. That will be my solution until I lose more weight.
Day 2-- Chemise revision. The chemise I have is made in very nice linen, but with a couple of mistakes. It has a drawstring neckline. That will have to remain; once it's cut, it's cut. However, the sleeves with the drawstring and ruffle are going to have the ruffle removed and the correct buttoned bands applied. And where in heaven's name did I put my supply of sweet little bone buttons...? So that's first, then down to the grocery for some beans to pad the dress form and get going on the stays.
A few hours later: Looks like the decorative front panel for the stays will not be needed. I set a panel in the center back plus two in the sides. At the moment, I've got them TOO BIG!!! I'm not unhappy about that, and will soon have them pared down to a good fit. I'm not going to show them off to anybody-- the inset fabric is pretty, but a few decades out of date. But to wear under a gown, they'll do.
Days 3 & 4-- Cut bodice lining, fitted on dress form over stays. Realizing the potential for error between form and bod, attempted to fit on me in stays this morning, but working alone could get only a rough idea. I can hopefully manage to pull things together literally and figuratively with the inside back lacing, I re-measured self in stays and adjusted the form. I'm getting ready to do the final stitching on the lining, pin it on the form and (YAY) start putting the outside together. I machine stitch everything that doesn't show and hand-stitch everything that does.
As a mantua-maker I'm rather slapdash. I measure myself, look at Arnold, and cut a toile out of an old sheet in the shape of the piece in the picture, with my measurements. Then I pin it up, try it on, and alter until it fits.
Day 6-- Getting along with it. The back is pleated and attached to the lining, the side front panels of the skirt are stitched on. It's on the dress form now and I'm pinning the back of the bodice over the skirt pleats to be hand-stitched on. After that, the bodice front will be hand-stitched onto the lining. Pocket slits also need to be hemmed.
Day 7-- Having realized early on that I did not have enough of the Felicite fabric to make a petticoat, I decided to make a virtue of necessity and do a mixy-print outfit. While I love the colors of the fabric I first selected, the stitched squares just really aren't right. Anyway, my local quilt store seems to have acquired a lot of lovely Indienne style cottons lately. I chose one in cream, green and tan on a rust background that really makes the black fabric pop. Got enough for the petti and a flounce or two.
Welllllll . . . . I quit doing daily updates. But I finished the gown and petticoat, with accessories, and wore it Saturday. It needs a few tweaks, but looked reasonably good. The mixed print look played well-- the Doremus House is a Dutch farmhouse, and mixed prints seem to have been more typical of Dutch women. I may make a plain black petticoat to wear on other occasions. The lacemaking demonstration went well also. I'd actually had to re-learn the craft in order to do it! I don't have any pictures of the finished product at the moment.