It would appear that I am taking this Spring Break thing seriously and not getting anything done around here. While visiting the lovely town of Northfield, MN (whose motto is “Cows, Colleges and Contentment“) I visited a bead store and found some beautiful glass pearls that I think will work really well for some of the pearls on the net partlett and coif. The strands were only $2.50 each, which was pretty inexpensive.
I also purchased the linen for the roped petticoat, as well as some 3/8 in. clothesline for the tucks. It is a natural fiber (not sure which kind as it doesn’t say on the package), and the following exchange happened in aisle 17 of Ace Hardware:
Me: Thanks! This should work.
Ace Salesguy: What are you using it for?
Me: Oh, I’m making a roped petticoat.
Ace Salesguy: (crickets) …ah…. what?
Me: A roped petticoat. (I lean over and pantomime large hoops near my knees.) Like a hoop skirt?
Ace Salesguy: Oh, like bride stuff.
Me: Yes, like that. I also use 1/4 in. cable ties for boning my corsets.
Ace Salesguy: Really?
Me: Yep. You could spend almost as much time in the hardware store as the fabric store when buying stuff for a costume.
Ace Salesguy: Huh.
He really was very sweet and did appear to be fascinated by the idea of using hardware supplies for something other than their intended use. I had a different experience with the guy I talked to at Home Depot. I asked him where the cable ties were and he told me which aisle to go to, and of course asked me why I needed them. I told him for corset boning, and he said, “Oh, then you need the 1/4 in. ones. Those are over in plumbing.” And did you know there are stainless steel cable ties?
Margo has been drafting the skirt pattern and had some concerns in regards to drafting up Janet Arnold’s pattern to fit me, and still fit within fabric width guidelines. My waist is a bit larger than Eleonora’s, and as such the skirt needed to be larger. She could not fit the pattern into 22 inch (as was period for fabric width as per Arnold) widths and still fit my waist without doing lots of piecing. The funeral dress also had a seam down the front of the dress, and I really can’t have one due to the punch needle embroidery. (I am planning on having one in back, but the portrait shows no seam in front and that is what I am going with.)
Here were Margo’s concerns in regards to sizing:
“The Eleonora skirt in Arnold seems to be made up from 22″ widths. The side gores are pieced. However, to make the skirt fit your waist size, I had to increase the width of the front pieces to 30”.
If you want to maintain the 22″ fabric width, I can shift the seams. The cut would still be correct for the period, see the Sabina Von Neuburg skirt in Arnold.
This still leaves you with seams at center front and back. The original has trim on the center front, but with your version, with conspicuous embroidery, you may not want a CF seam. I can shift those seams as well, if you like. I did a test layout and the yardage would be about the same (5 1/2 yards) either way.”
She sent me a pdf file with drawings of the options:
My plan is to have a center front panel with no seam without having to do excessive amounts of piecing. I left it up to Margo to find what she considered to be the best placement of seam lines within current fabric width guidelines as per her software. I think the second option looks best, but I trust Margo’s experience in this area.
There has also been much discussion on the fabric again. Margo thought the ground of the fabric might be silk, but I thought it was velvet. Someone told me it was “BRICCATO RICCIO – velvet pile, voided & brocaded with silver gilt and silver loops” (silver on the example).” Margo referenced this site in giving an example of voided velvet. I found roughly the same info on Realm of Venus. Which meant that heavy silk bridal satin could be a suitable substitute, with the punch needlework done on top.
At which point I checked pricing. My top price per yard for velvet had been $15/yd, but had instead grown to $30/yd due to finding NOTHING that looked suitable. I priced duchesse silk satin and it ran anywhere from $47-69. YIKES!
After hyperventilating a bit, I discovered that Bella of Realm of Venus did agree that “the fabric had a satin ground, but it is still considered velvet even though it is void of pile.”
So I started thinking silk, and how much easier it would be to hoop, etc. But then I remembered that there was velveteen with a very small pile (a la the see-through velvet I had shipped to me in the mail) and that maybe it would be a cheaper option. Then Bella mentioned the idea that doing punch needlework on satin might cause lots of pulled threads and puckers and I got a headache just thinking about the horror that might cause.
And then I had to lie down for awhile.
When I got up I decided that ultimately the most cost efficient (even at $30 a yard) and least likely option to make me pull out my hair and lose my mind was the velveteen. I have found several at Mood Fabrics in NYC (Thanks Mood!) and the lovely woman at the warehouse there was able to compare samples to the portrait I sent her via e-mail and she found a couple that seem to be pretty close. They have very low piles and are also more lusterous than the typical velveteen/velvet. So they would have the appearance of the satin shine in the portrait, while giving me ease of manipulation.
So I am now firm on a fabric choice, firm on a corset choice and that is after changing my mind about eleventy billion times. Ah well.
I have sent for samples of the fabrics the warehouse lady thought would be closest and whichever one matches the best is getting ordered. It is a lot of money for fabric, but if I am going to make this dress, I want to do it as close as possible colorwise to the portrait.
Luckily we have already paid for braces for the kids. And who needs new socks, really?
So as God is my witness, there WILL be pictures by Friday of the things I have completed thus far. I just need to find the cable for my camera and we will be all set.