Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Dress Diary: Steampunk Cleopatra: Overskirt

To give myself a break from the endless corset mock-ups and to help me feel like I'm accomplishing something, I threw together the overskirt.  The pattern is pretty ingeniously constructed and actually looks better than I expected.

The pattern is Truly Victorian's 1880 Hermione Overskirt.  In these photos I'm wearing it over my underskirt, the Truly Victorian 1892 Umbrella Skirt with Train.  (I'm a steampunk, I'm allowed to mix my decades.)

The black fabric is polyester shantung, the gold is silk dupioni.  I knew I wanted both these fabrics for the texture, and I wanted the gold to be actual silk for the shine and luxury it gives.   Finding the right gold dupioni wasn't easy.  I thought I just wanted a bright, medium gold and it wouldn't be too difficult to find.  But all the bright golds I found were either too pale or too orange.  After ordering swatches from three different websites I finally found the site Silk Baron and ordered a bunch of gold swatches from them.  I chose Aztec Gold, which is a darker gold with a black warp thread (I think it's warp.  I'm not a weaver, I'm not sure I know my warp from my weft...)  I'm in LOVE with this color now.  It's dark, except where the light hits it, which as you can see is very bright.  I also have to recommend the website for their customer service and the beauty of their fabrics.  I recently bought some more silk in their Black Friday scrap sale and they are all gorgeous.

I wasn't sure if I would like the drooping back, but it looks very nice on. There is no bustle as both of these periods are bustle-less.

I intend to add more gold trim, definitely a pleated trim to the bottom of the underskirt and possibly also to the bottom edge of the overskirt.  But I actually kinda like that you can't tell where the overskirt ends in these photos, so maybe not...

In order to get the pleats in the gold to hold their crispness, I used a trick I read on a sewing blog somewhere and sprayed them with a water/white vinegar mixture.  It really worked and improved the look of the panniers immensely.

So now I'm going to be cutting the actual corset and working on that.  Which is frightening.  I conducted my fabric tests today to see how they reacted to using fusible web to stick the fashion fabric to the coutil.  They both worked really well, although the silk was more difficult to fuse, due to its rough texture.  I'm feeling pretty confident about that aspect of the corset, at least.

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