Today, I finished a short shift at the Leventis Museum, researching the garments they have in their collection. I managed to examine four dresses - all custom-made - and what wonderful dressmaking it was. I'd really rather write about it now, but I got to finish my guipure dress by Friday.
I am sharing here a step-by-step work plan - it helps me focus and gives me a rough time estimate. Maybe it will also convince you to
never make a strapless garment with a corselet foundation. After all, the preceding work took me about thirty hours. I am not counting the first failed foundation (failed because of the wrong fabric choice). By accident, I bought cotton with cross grain stretch. I tried to rescue the corselet by cutting one layer on straight grain, and another on crossgrain, but it didn't work very well. At the end, I decided that having paid a little fortune for the guipure lace, I should make an effort and sew a new corselet... The plan!
THE CORSELET FOUNDATION
I will start by finishing the corselet: the only thing missing is a waist stay, which will be attached by hand.
This type of inner foundation is necessary for this dress since it doesn't have a waistline seam to support boning. The corselet is tighter and more fitted that the dress itself, allowing it to hang freely.
The corselet is sewn using two layers of woven cotton. The boning channels are stitched through both layers. Cotton edges at the bottom are hand overcast, and the hem lace provides neat and less bulky finish.
THE OUTER LAYER
The outer layer is practically finished: the shell was fitted, seams stitched, guipure was hand-basted to the two layers of charmeuse and muslin. Now I only need to close the gaps along the centre back seam by carefully appliqué of the quipure lace.
As next I need to cut and sew the lining, which I will cut using the original fitted toile pieces.
CONNECTING THE LAYERS
Once all the layers are done, they need to be connected. Lining and the corselet and basted together at the top edge and then sewn to the outer shell. The last step is best done with a zipper foot to avoid hitting the boning. Seam allowances are trimmed, graded and clipped.
The top edge is understitched by hand 1/2" from the edge.
The lining is fell-stitched to the zipper tape.
Finally, the lining needs to be stitched to the dress hem and the hem slit needs to be tacked so it doesn't accidentally rip apart.
Do you use brief step-by step plans for your sewing projects?