Saturday, April 12, 2014

Linen Underdress with Handwoven Trim

Detail of hand-sewn neckline, sleeves, and hand-woven trim.

I've been playing with a rigid heddle box loom for a couple of months now, and figured it was well passed time to start putting some of the trim I made on my garb.

I finished this underdress before the Gulf Wars event, but things got kind of crazy afterwards, with our school announcing that it would be moving. It's been a little bit of an adjustment, but a productive one. It's also meant that my workload has precluded as much writing and sewing as I would like.

The (Saturday!) training I had to attend this morning let us out early, so while the wool for another project (a bartered apron dress) is drying I thought it would be a good time to put some thoughts down about a couple previous projects.

Lately, I've been having sour luck with underdresses. It's the strangest thing, but I keep messing them up in one way or another. Probably too much experimenting. But on to the underdress! I used a linen blend from JoAnn and used a simple long tunic pattern with slightly inset sleeves.
I didn't take pictures while I was weaving the trim for this underdress, so here's a picture of another project on my loom. I have fallen in love with this pattern generator, and it has really been helping me design different patterns for my trim.
Before I started cutting the pattern I was played with fabric dye again, but unfortunately I strayed from the RIT that has treated me so well to something that had a pretty pine cone on it that looked just perfect. It didn't turn out that way, so I tried to undo the damage with some dye remover. That's what led to the interesting shade that my underdress now sports.
Another pre-cursor to scissors actually hitting the linen! This is the finished trim, shown on top of the fabric I was using to make my sleeve patterns. I experimented with a couple different trim patterns, but I seem to have become obsessed with little chains... especially in 5/2 cotton pearle copper! 
I have also developed a hatred of underarm sleeve gores that is so intense it is nearly a living thing, so I decided to revise my sleeve pattern for inset sleeves. I spent a lot of quality time with both sleeves and safety-pins. By making a false seam with the safety pins, I could pull the sleeves on and off as needed, adjusting the positions of the safety pins until the fit was perfect.

You can't tell from this picture, but I cheated a little. I wanted a tight-fitting rolled hem, so I actually used my sewing machine to zig-zag the neckline's edges. That allowed me to keep the roll teeny-tiny without worrying about unraveling. I absolutely love the effect!
And finally, just in case you're interested, this is the pattern I used to weave the trim. I've already made two different lengths of it - the initial project was three yards long, and then I made another five yards for the bartered apron dress project. I love how simple and yet how nice it looks. At some point I will work up my nerve to start tablet-weaving, but for now I just adore how straightforward it is to have a simple back and forth project like this one.

The final result, finished just in time for Gulf Wars! The outfit camped really well, although I will make a couple changes to the other pieces. I am sad that one of the chains you see here - with the Viking needle case from Raymond's Quiet Press - went walkabout during the event. Hopefully it has a nice, caring new home and didn't end up in a ditch or something.

No comments:

Post a Comment