Tuesday, 5 April 2011

1820 Toile Development Evaluation

The creation of the 1820s toile was challenging but all problems that were presented I managed to overcome. Initially it started well and i found the front and back of the bodice reasonably easy to form as it was a simple shape and related almost directly to the cutting on the stand classes that were taught at the beginning of the year. It was decided in my tutorial that the main inspiration for the cutting comes from the draw images themselves using the accompanying pattern as a guide and not as a strict rule as to how the pattern should be shaped.

The front panel of the skirt threw up a small issue when i realised the pattern piece presented with the drawing of the dress had a curve in the waist line towards the back but a straight hem. I tried to achieve this with the skirt and managed it although my pattern piece has a slightly more sloping hem due to the more modern proportions of the mannequin. 

The black tape the can be seen on the bodice was my placing guide for the lattice decoration. It was effective to get a clear design line and was useful when cutting the decoration on the stand as it could clearly be seen through the calico. I created the lattice decoration on the bodice first by draping it and then developing it with flat drafting. This was very effective as I achieved the basic line and lay of the fabric and then refined the complicated shape flat and put it back to the stand to shape it. I was pleased with how intricate the decoration looked and it became more delicate than I had expected as it was drawn in the reference image.

The next challenge came with the back of the skirt. As the design does not have any description more than its colour, I had to look at the fashion of the time and see how the fabric may be brought together at the back, whether it be pleating, gathering or cartridge pleats. In the Cut of Women's Clothes 1600 - 1930 book it states, 'Until the late 1840s the bodices and skirts were usually attached to each other by gauging. Gauging is the method used when a large amount of fullness has to be drawn to s small space...a series of running stitches are made...The threads are then drawn to the requisite size.' Waugh. N. (1968) pg. 149. This I related to the gathering technique. 

Originally I used standard medium weight calico as I had for the rest of the toile. I followed the pattern quite closely to try and achieve the same sense of fullness as in the design. The toile stated that 11 inches of fabric had to be gathered into 2 inches at the centre back. I found this did not work with the fabric i had chosen. The draping of the back of the skirt was also effected and the skirt didn't sit in the folds as it draped as I wanted it to. It was suggested in my tutorial that I may want to use pre-shrunk and washed calico, as this has a much lighter and malleable drape. I was also shown another method of gathering that is much flatter and gives a neater finish that normal gathering. It involves zig-zag stitching over a length of strong thread, securing one end and then pulling the thread to gather the fabric.With this fabric and new technique I was able to add and extra 15cm of fabric at the centre back onto my pattern which created a better drape and more volume.

First attempt with medium weight calico.

Developed piece with pre-shrunk and washed calico and 15cm extra with the new technique of gathering.
After I had drafted the sleeve I realised, looking at the width of it in comparison to the pattern reference, that it was quite wide. This made me re-evaluate the size of my arm hole which I had drawn in without any real though to measurement, going on the reference image rather than my taken measurements. To adapt this I redrew my armhole to a more appropriate size and applied this to my sleeve pattern, also reducing the cuff size to less than suggested. This achieved the much thinner, sleeker shape that was required. I really learnt at this point that I need to be aware of defining how I am adapting the reference material, to a more modern body shape, rather than trying to follow it exactly. Once I had readjusted the sleeve and it fitted well, I had a better grasp on my boundaries of alteration of the patterns and how changing and bending different elements of the pattern works towards a better fit the shape I am working with rather than just sticking to what is given. Later I also changed the shoulder to sit slightly lower to achieve the more sloping effect. This had a knock on effect, also improving the shape of the space between the lattice decoration and the collar.

After completing the sleeve I created the top sleeve decoration. This was one of the biggest challenges. I drafted it flat using the sleeve head from the pattern drawn already and then flat drafted the rest. It fitted well in the armhole but the tendrils looked tangled and unflattering. It took a lot of patience and perseverance to finally get it right. I began to understand from this that some elements just require time and small adjustments to achieve what is needed. 

Overall I found the decoration the most challenging aspect of this toile. This was mainly because it was very fiddly and not only did i have to achieve the right shape but also proportion to my piece. I used the reference pattern quite a bit but I found it proportions were not applicable to my toile so I spent a lot of time redrafting the lengths to achieve the right volume and form. 

Once the main decoration was complete I decided to experiment with how the piping that is seen in the reference image would work on the garment. I found the smallest piping cord I could and used it to edge the collar and belt and inserted it into the seams on the back as shown in the reference image. This worked really well and brought another element of texture to the toile, as well as getting a better grasp of what the piece would look like if finished. It also showed that the edge of the lattice decoration is piped so I attempted this although the result was not satisfactory. I think the piping I used was too heavy and it would have to be really thin to be delicate enough for the intricate pattern piece.
I have applied my sample here to see the effect of the piping, it is definitely  too bulky and clumsy and would have to be much thinner to keep the same delicacy.
The design of the lattice was too intricate to bag out with the thickness of the piping so I just sewed it around the edge. It is not a neat finish but gives an element of what the piping may look like.
I also created a small sample of what the padding at the bottom of the skirt may look like with calico and wadding. I did not have time to pad the whole thing but it would have been interesting to see how it would have effected the drape and sit of the hem line. I think it may have made it much stiffer and less flowing which i think would have been a shame.
The width of the padding I followed from the reference pattern. 

No comments:

Post a Comment