Along with about 400 others, I am a test sewer for the Vintage Patterns Lending Library’s 1912 Titanic Sewing Project- http://vpll1912project.org/. The idea is to test the patterns transcribed from the 1912 La Mode Illustree by Janyce Hill of VPLL by making a muslin to see if the pieces fit together properly and work as a garment. My first test pattern is the Princess Slip.
Many of the sewers are making costumes for their own use, as they do reenactments or attend Titanic memorial events. I design and make costumes all the time for theatrical productions, but I am not inclined to wear them myself. I would never make a detailed garment like this slip unless someone, such as the audience, got to see it. I am also a big fan of (potentially) wearable muslins. As I studied the pattern, I realized that with a few small changes it might yield a rather nice evening gown. I dug through my stash and found a leftover piece of my favorite black silk georgette that looked large enough. My decision was made.
My grandmother was a professional seamstress back in the days when every hem and seam finish was done by hand. She owned what then was a top of the line sewing machine. If she’d had the tools at her disposal that I have, I am certain she would have used them. I feel no guilt in allowing my Berninas to do so much work that was once done by hand.
The biggest problem was actually assembling the pattern pieces. I have downloaded and assembled a number of other e-patterns. Assembly generally requires 5 minutes or less. Some of these pieces have little or no markings on them, and if you get them out of order(which I did!) you’re sunk. The corner markings didn’t print on my printer, either. Page numbers and/or piece ID on each page would fix this problem.
I opted to make the lining and pleated flounce in black taffeta. It was not available locally (by local I mean the JoAnn’s that is 50 miles from my house). Fabric.com informed me four days after I ordered that they didn’t have the quantity I needed.
Thankfully, http://www.fashionfabricsclub.com/ did. It is excellent quality, wider, and as a bonus was less expensive than my first order. I could not find black insertion or edging lace locally that was even remotely appropriate, either. I bought a piece of black overall lace and cut it into strips.
It required careful handling, but it worked. I cut up the lace while my Bernina did a spot of embroidery on the front of the gown. Then I sat down to sew.