Dress Diary: Mardi Gras Italian Bodice

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With all the travel I’ve been doing for the current reign, a trip abroad and a cross-country move in the summer, and the general instability of not knowing when I’ll get a job in Savannah, we’re trying to be really smart with money. So war sewing is almost entirely from old bits of things in the stash. Maybe the yardages are weird. Mostly, they’re fabrics that are pretty but made from dead dinosaurs, purchased at breath-taking discounts when I started playing and knew less than I do now.

There are some rolls of fabric in the back of the studio closet, and one of them is a beautiful polysilk dupioni satin bought the week after my first event. It’s heavy, drapes beautifully, and the wrong side of it has just the right texture and sheen amount to be almost indistinguishable from real silk. Better still, it’s a shade of purple that I KNOW I can get with natural dyes in a couple of different ways. The photos below are a true representation of the color. It’s perfect for an Italian (my pattern is at the bottom of this post). And a nice Florentine dress is perfect for war sewing because it’s fast and really flexible and forgiving on how much yardage you have to work with. I planned to whip something out in an evening, trim it with some gold ribbon I have left over from the wedding, and move on to even more sewing.

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HA! A friend is making a purple and gold entari, some jokes about making Mardi Gras garb ensued, and now it’s become A Thing Which Is Happening For War. I modified the bodice pattern to add some fabric around the inside of the neck opening a little so there’s less chance of bra straps showing and more room and stability to tie on sleeves.

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photo 4And – a totally new thing for me – I decided to use the lightweight interfacing I have in my stash for some reason. The gold one I did is lined in a really heavy fabric, and I love how secure it is and how much it allows me to have the right shaping and smoothness I see in portraits. The more experience I get, the more I find that there’s a good reason people tell you to do things, like use similar fabric weights together, or take the time to line garments, or to pick the right needle, thread, and stitch for the fabric and seam type.

So the interfacing is an experiment. The internet made it seem like it might be a good idea, and looking at the layers inside the bodice of my wedding gown backed up that guess. A Laurel I trust said I probably wouldn’t like it and that a heavier lining would be a better choice. I’d already fused it on by the time she said that, so now it’s going to get field tested!

It’s a fusible interfacing, so you just put down a damp cloth and iron that sucker in place. A previous experience with Heat n’ Bond has made me wary of things that fuse with irons not holding up to the first washing. I’m really scared it’s going to unstick and get all bunchy and awful inside the bodice. ┬áLet’s hope it stays put…

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