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Oh, the underskirt. Look at that thing! It’s a magnificent Rococo Monster! I’m not even using a full size pannier, those are just pocket hoops under there! It’s enormous and I adore it.


The pattern is my own, and still needs some perfecting, but I was inspired by these extant petticoat examples:

At the Met

At the V&A here and here



Photos and Notes from the Build:

Cutting the pattern out with my fancy specialty pattern weights.



These little dudes came from Home Depot about a decade ago, and they are excellent little workers. Highly recommended!

The furbelows I came up with turned out quite pretty. I wondered what to do about the edges. Historically, the edges were pinked or punched with scallop shapes… but that certainly won’t work here. While I was playing with a strip, the solution presented itself to me right away—remove some warp, and I’m left with a gorgeous fringe of gold weft. So, that’s what I did. Each strip had some warp removed and was ruched up, leaving what you see above. 

Just a friendly FYI, this is not a method for the faint of heart. You will quickly be consumed in a nest of uncontrollable string, no matter how careful you are. Your vacuum cleaner and chair wheels will hate your guts. Your dog will stare at you mournfully while he's tangled in a string coocoon. Plus, if you screw it up, your entire costume will unravel and you’ll be trailing strings around like someone threw a Silly String grenade at you. One would think you could just pull some warp/weft and voila! Lovely fringe. NO! IT’S A TRAP! You need to secure the edges with perpendicular stitches… not parallel. Parallel stitches will likely just pull right out along with the warp given enough tug—it’s not secure enough. Plus, if you get too close to the anchor  thread you are left with a bristle brush effect, and that’s just not pretty. I used a reverse blanket-looking stitch that I thinned down so it’s only visible upon close inspection. Also, exactly matching thread is imperative. It is also imperative to cut exactly on grain, so you’ll need to pull some threads out to see exactly what’s going on. It’s a very long and persnickety process. If you are not very careful with the details, you could have a total mess on your hands. I recommend this method only in the most desperate situations. Sure, it looks pretty, but if I can edge with lace or trim instead, I certainly will!



Trueing up the grain for very straight cuts...



The perpendiular stitch I used to keep everything from unraveling...



Using that stitch on both sides of the fabric strip...



Pulling out the warp...



Nice and smooth after pressing. You can kind of see how those perpendicular stitches hold it all together...



This was just a small portion of the warp removed. With some proper witchcraft, I think I can make an army of blue zombie cats to do my bidding...



Ruching up the strips using gathering threads, then pinning them to my cutting board to even them out nicely...



Adding the Poufy Puffs to the bottom ruffle...



Because I can’t help myself when it comes to putting pearls on everything: Pearls.



Monkeying around, seeing where I'd like the final ruffly bits to be...

Sewing on the furbelows. And sewing and sewing and sewing...



How hard can it be, right? Oh my god it was like wrestling a bear. 



I lined the skirt with a stiff pleated layer of petticoat net, which helps give the skirt more body and shape, instead of just hanging there limply. No one wants to see hoop bones under the skirt!  I usually use cotton crinoline under the skirt, but since this fabric is heavier than usual, I wanted to keep it as lightweight as possible. The petticoat net worked brilliantly and should hold up very well over time.

Seen above, pleating the petticoat net inside, rolling up the skirt as I went to keep it under control. I have hence thought of 50 ways to do this more effiecently-- isn't that always the way? Oh well. It's in there and it's doing its job, so whatever.



Home stretch! Getting the binding all around the top was a bitch because it was very thick with gathers. Next time, AARGH NEXT TIME, I will employ the more simple and less hair pulling methods I came up with... after I was done. 

Here are some photos of the finished underskirt, ready to be nearly completely hidden away by the full gown. Poor thing. 



Full Front...



Side-ish front...

Side...

Side back...



Back...

I used the d-ring belting again, instead of a drawstring or hooks. Works very well and should be comfortable enough around the waist sans stays. I’m wondering if there is another belting method out there that would be even strionger than the d-rings? It’s something to look into for future gowns, I want that sucker totally fixed with no opportunity for slippage.

I love the way it gathers around the sides, hiding those bones completely. Also, complete easy access to the slits in the pocket hoops worn below the underskirt.

Furbelow details...



...and more furbelows...



Done!

*******

So, the underskirt is complete, and I’m ready to move on to the big event—the over gown. Excited! I think it’s looking so pretty!



Date: 2012-10-26 04:41 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] the-thread-lady.livejournal.com
It is stunning! And you are a glutton for punishment ;-D

Date: 2012-10-26 10:42 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] starlightmasque.livejournal.com
I know, right? I just get something in my head and it has to be done. Thanks!

Date: 2012-10-26 06:16 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] katanubis.livejournal.com
Gorgeous!!! I just love a nice 18th Century project. I also love the colors in this brocade. Scrumptuous!

Date: 2012-10-26 10:42 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] starlightmasque.livejournal.com
Thank you! I love the foofy frilly pretty of the 18th century.

Date: 2012-10-26 06:20 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] damekaris.livejournal.com
I forwarded the sneek peek picture & she also said it was stunning. You weren't kidding, that pic didnt do it justice. The collors are so pretty & one of my major weaknesses is pearls on my gowns! So excited to see this on stage!

Date: 2012-10-26 10:43 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] starlightmasque.livejournal.com
Glad she liked it!

Date: 2012-10-26 10:08 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] virginiadear.livejournal.com
Oh, my gracious. Totally gorgeous, and I am staggered by your rate of production! Simply awed.
Wonderful!

Date: 2012-10-26 10:43 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] starlightmasque.livejournal.com
Amazing what I can get done when a deadline is looming! Thanks!

Date: 2012-10-26 11:18 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] jenthompson.livejournal.com
That is gorgeous! And I love the fringe trim!

Date: 2012-10-26 10:43 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] starlightmasque.livejournal.com
Thank you! I love it, too!

Date: 2012-10-26 01:56 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mrq-laurellen.livejournal.com
Love-love-love this! And your trim? Brilliant! I'm going to store that nugget away in the back of my head for future reference.

Date: 2012-10-26 10:44 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] starlightmasque.livejournal.com
Thanks! That was a hard-won nugget, let me tell you. Several hours of trial and error to find the right combo. Glad I didn't give up and cry!

Date: 2012-10-27 05:26 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] virginiadear.livejournal.com
I dunno so much. Sometimes when I've said---and felt, and believed---"I'm just going to give up," I let go of the struggle and the tension and the focus on what isn't going right, and almost magically a solution, a real, practicable, viable solution comes to mind, and right quick, too! :^)

Date: 2012-10-26 04:25 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] my-stitching.livejournal.com
Absolutely gorgeous!

Date: 2012-10-26 10:45 pm (UTC)

Date: 2012-10-26 04:43 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] countess-e.livejournal.com
Oh, WOW! It's huge and sparkly and has frilly bits and, and, and ....

Date: 2012-10-26 10:45 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] starlightmasque.livejournal.com
...I know! I love making the big crazy stuff.

Date: 2012-10-26 05:03 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dame-eleanor.livejournal.com
That is absolutely gorgeous!! I'm with Tamm...totally filing away that clever idea with the fringed edges! This is just stunning! Your work is perfection.

Date: 2012-10-26 10:46 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] starlightmasque.livejournal.com
Thank you thank you thank you!

Date: 2012-10-26 05:51 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
The fringe on the furbellows is so totally worth it. They look amazing!

Date: 2012-10-26 10:46 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] starlightmasque.livejournal.com
Thank you! I think it was worth all the trouble, too, I love how shiny it is!

Date: 2012-10-26 06:50 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] isiswardrobe.livejournal.com
This is going to be so glorious!

Date: 2012-10-26 10:46 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] starlightmasque.livejournal.com
Thank you! I hope so!

Date: 2012-10-26 08:02 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sjusts.livejournal.com
Wow! I like it a lot, pearls my favorite!

Date: 2012-10-26 10:49 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] starlightmasque.livejournal.com
Thanks! I love pearls all over everything!

Date: 2012-10-26 08:06 pm (UTC)

Date: 2012-10-26 10:49 pm (UTC)

Date: 2012-10-29 03:20 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] jillwheezul.livejournal.com
Oh nom nom nom. Soooo lovely!

Date: 2012-10-30 06:12 pm (UTC)

Date: 2012-10-31 01:40 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sewaddicted.livejournal.com
so delicious ... and so very much work

Date: 2012-10-31 03:50 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] starlightmasque.livejournal.com
Thank you! It was a lot of work. In my head I always think "So easy! I'll be done in an hour." Eight days later, ta da! All done!

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