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More eyelets.

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The seam between the wool layer of the two halves of the front gore were sewn wrong (which I guess is what happens when you get impatient). It didn’t lie flat at the top. I ripped out that seam and sewed it together again. It’s lying much flatter now. I also finished the edge of the front opening. Lastly I marked off and started sewing the eyelets. They are about 1/4-1/2 inch from the edge and 3/4 inches apart (the spacing recommended by Robin Netherton). They’re offset a la “The Zen of spiral lacing”.

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Lots of procrastination (and being too busy to breath (damn holidays)). Two nights ago I -finally- sat down and cut out the wool for the dress. I think the procrastination was caused by having to make the first cut in nice fabric. Luckily I got past it. The cutting went really fast. After cutting it all out I started sewing the outer layer to the inner layer. I finished the sewing last night.
At some point I’ll do instructions and pictures about how to sew the wool to the linen. For now.. words just aren’t enough to descibe the process.
Without ripping apart the seams on the linen lining I made a fabric sandwich and sewed the outer fabric to the lining fabric by following the stitches of the lining.

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At sewing night this week I had Edith fidget with the fitting. We had some success but then it got frustrating and very hard to work with. With only a little itty bitty seam allowance to tug on it was very hard to get a tighter fit. Eventually we gave up for the night and went on to other projects.
I really wanted to get done with the fitting (until the fitting’s done I can’t go on to adding the outer fabric). So on Thursday I decided to see if I could do it myself (don’t laugh it was a good plan)(edit: At 12th night Edith said I have “freakish play-dough boobs”. I think she’s just jealous.). I pinned the lining on the front seam line and then pulled it on over my head. Even with the under bust pulled as tight as possible I’m still able to wriggle into it. So I wriggle into it, decide where I want it tighter/looser, wriggle out of it, re-pin, wriggle into it. After not too very long I had it nicely tight like I wanted it. I did get a couple of pin scrapes. I’m willing to put up with that to get it fit like I want and so I won’t have to impose on my friends.
So now the lining’s done. The next part is adding the outer fabric to the lining.

Second verse, same as the first

I cut out the lining -again- only this time in some lovely white/natural linen. I sewed it all together and tried it on. This lining is a -much- better fit. I still think I’ll have Edith fidget with the fit a little bit but this is MUCH closer to the real dress that I want.

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Ok, all the pieces of yellow lining linen are sewn together. I tried it on and found that the yellow linen is a lot lighter and stretchier than the linen we used for the fitting. After fuming about this overnight (and talking with Edith) I’ve decided to re-cut out the lining from some heaftier white linen I have in my stash. I’m pretty certain I’ll be able to use the yellow linen as a lining for the overdress (red or green still undecided). Very frustrating.

Lessons learned:
When you do a fitting, use linen that is of the same weight as the linen you mean to use for the lining of your fitted dress.
AND

When you’re a big, busty woman, don’t expect light weight linen to support you.

Though.. putting positive spin on this.. it means I’m 1/2 done with the overdress for Twelfth night.

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Last night I ironed the yellow linen and cut out the lining. I noticed that a lot of the details of the fitting got lost when I added the seam allowance. To fix this I laid the yellow lining on top of the pattern pieces and traced the fitting marks onto the lining with purple chalk. The yellow was just see-through enough to allow me to trace these lines. Hopefully this will help with getting the right fit.

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Trimming seam allowances
Not much done at this point. I cleaned up the pattern pieces. I used a T pin (head of the pin is about 1/2 inch (1 cm) long) to mark the seam allowance on the dress. I then trimmed all the excess off of the pattern.
Place the T-pin so the body of the pin is parallel with the seam mark and the edge of the pin head is on the seam mark. Use a sharpie (black marker) to make a dot at the other side of the head of the pin. Do this about ever 1/2-1 inch (1-2 cm) along the seam. Trim seam to follow dots.

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Edith fit me for the dress using Robin Netherton’s methods (super secret, she made us promise not to publish them). Yes, it’s only been a year and a half… but in that time we’ve fit lots of other people for the dress. So we weren’t too rusty on the methods. We used some aweful chunky linen with thin black stripes on it. It was kind of fun to see the stripes wiggle with all the pressure we were putting on it. So now I have a pattern. I’m very pleased with the fitting.

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I had the very good fortune to be able to attend a lecture by Robin Netherton. She lectured on her method for achieving this type of fitted dress and she also talked about her reasoning why the garments found in Greenland around that time (the so-called 10-gore dress) aren’t good examples of the fashions on the mainland. All-in-all, she was very convincing (which made me horribly unhappy that I’d used the 10-gore method to make my dress for Twelfth Night. Ah well, live and learn).