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Sep 06

A New Space

The past year has been quite a whirlwind.  What started as a bathroom renovation soon expanded to the kitchen and eventually ended with our house on the market.  I spent Presidents’ Week moving out of our house and into and apartment, and then Memorial weekend moving out of the apartment and into our new house.  The rest of my summer was spent unpacking and organizing.

But now that we are settled and I’ve mostly gotten my sewing room set up, it’s finally time to start sewing.  The best part (for now) is that my sewing space really is literally in the center of our living space, so I can still watch the kids while I work.  (They are now three-and-a-half…independent enough to mostly play on their own, but still too little to pretty much even be able to turn my back for a moment.)

Okay, so on to the good stuff.

The GBACG is hosting a Moulin Rouge themed event, so of course, I need to finally make the can can dress I’ve wanted for so long.

First, I needed a pair of drawers…closed drawers, for obvious reasons.  I found some leftover fabric from another petticoat project and set about making the drawers from Folkwear’s Edwardian Underthings pattern.

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The only change I made was to apply the ruffles a bit higher up so that the legs didn’t end so low.  They are already a bit shorter than my usual drawers, but for a can can outfit, I really wanted to make sure they didn’t end up too long.

Next up, I pulled out my copy of Truly Victorian’s can can skirt.  Once I actually sat down and looked at the yardage requirements, I nearly expired…seven yards of fashion fabric, seven of lining, and eleven for the ruffles.  Since I wanted to make the ruffles from the same fabric as the lining, that was 18 yards of fabric.  I pretty much don’t have any fabric just laying around in those sorts of yardages, but before I ran off to the store, I wanted to be really sure I actually needed that much.

When I looked closer, I realized that the ruffles used a doubled up piece of fabric.  Not only would that make the skirt twice as heavy, I felt like it made the ruffles look heavy, which I didn’t like.  I decided to go ahead and take the time to finish both edges of the ruffles.  This made it take a VERY long time (roll hem one edge, press and shell stitch the other edge, pleat top edge with ruffler foot, sew to skirt), but I’m much happier with the finished look.

I also shortened the skirt by six inches.  I’m only 5’3″ and am used to shortening patterns, but Truly Victorian patterns–especially their earlier ones–usually seem like they are made just for me, so I was a bit surprised at how long this one was.  It’s possible that they designed the skirt to be ankle length, but the little research (mostly visual) that I’ve done preparing for this project suggests that the skirts take after the fancy dress costumes of the era with a length that hits closer to mid-calf.

These two significant changes means that I was able to cut down on the yardage requirements, but not by that much really.  I ended up using 12.5 yards to complete the lining–shown below with just a little bit of the top row of ruffles not quite complete.

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My fashion fabric is a synthetic brocade that washed beautifully, but I can already tell it’s going to fray like the dickens.  Thankfully, I’ve got my serger up and running and threaded with black, so I was able to serge EVERY edge of the skirt panels almost as soon as I got them cut out.

The skirt is now pinned to my dressform to relax before I hem it at attach it to the waistband. (The ruffles really are under there…it just doesn’t look like it because the dressform has no legs.)

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Next up…a fitting is in order.

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