Saturday, December 8, 2012


I guess it was a year or more ago that I told y'all about my score of nine yards of pink and brown striped taffeta, and how I wanted to make a Victorian bustle dress out of it. Well, my recent foray into the world of Steampunk has provided me with a super reason -- and desire!-- to pull that yardage out and get busy.

I'm not holding myself to strict authentic period style and pattern this time; I'm really just in it to have some fun and make myself a froofy-poofy candybox of an outfit. 

For a pattern, I'm using instructions written by Cathrin on her blog "learning to fly".  Her hand-drawn step-by-step notes look an awful lot like the sort of stuff I fill my notebooks with, so I immediately felt at ease with her project. 

Here's a pic of the skirt Cathrin made.
Mine will be much more colorful! 

The panel seams on the overskirt have drawstrings in them! Isn't that fun? I like the idea of being able to adjust the amount of poof in my overskirt, and the construction method is very familiar -- except that I'll be machine sewing this skirt, not hand sewing.

I'm a little spooked by that, I'll admit.  Hand sewing allows one a great deal of control. Machine sewing goes so fast, it's easy for me to make a mistake and then it's such a hassle to rip out the stitching. If I didn't want to wear the dress for New Year's, I'd probably just work it up by hand. 

Here's a look at the fabric I'm working with: the pink and brown will be the overskirt, and then I wanted a different look for the underskirt. I chose an antique gold taffeta. 

Gosh, the pic makes that gold look very washed out. It's such a lovely warm tone, really -- like caramel!  I originally thought a dark brown would be better, but the stripe is really more of a burgundy and when I tried to match it, the dark brown just looked blah and a matching burgundy made me think of barbershop quartets. For a while I carried a bolt of pale green floral damask around, and I'm still wondering if I shouldn't have gotten a few yards of that, too -- it was so unexpected;  pretty and fresh with the stripes! I have plenty of the pink stripe left, so maybe I'll make another skirt with the green for spring or something. I decided on the gold because it went nicely with the stripe, fit in with my "candybox" idea, and was on sale. (I got almost three yards for ten bucks!) Also, when I make a corset/wide belt/cincher for this outfit, I can use leftover gold fabric to bring it all together. 

I got all the skirt panels cut out tonight. My directions say to zig-zag or serge the edges to prevent fraying, but I think I'll just do proper flat-felled seams; it'll look more finished. It will change the way the drawstrings work, because I'll have one seam channel where the original item has two, but that's not a huge obstacle. 

Okay, enough yapping -- time for me to pull out Sally the Sewing Machine and get to work. 

EDIT: Oh heavens, last night I lay in bed thinking about leaving the gold out entirely and just doing the whole works in the stripe. Would that be too much? Or would it be jaw-dropping -- in a good way? Gonna have to think on this... cast your vote in the comments section!

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