[personal profile] tudorlady
Okay, for the three of you that didn't flee when you saw the subject line, here we go:

I am a good cutter. It's something that I've always been proud of. Man, can I make that fabric work for me. I can get projects out of scant yardage that leaves people shaking their heads in disbelief. The fact that I'm tiny is only a small factor (I mean tiny-only-60"-tall, not tiny-size-2, because I can tell you that certainly is not the case) - the drop from my waist to the floor is 37+", and that's skimping on a hem. Let's simply stipulate that, man, can I cut fabric. Damn.

So Thursday night, I set scissors to velvet. I have been able to avoid using rayon velvet for the last - uhm... thirty years. Seriously. Cotton velvets were available, and they worked and looked better. Which is fine until you find yardage that screams Spanish renaissance, and throws itself on the floor in front of you and begs to be made into a mourning gown, viz:

And it's rayon velvet. My long vacation from dealing with the stuff had definitely made me forget what a bitch it is to cut well.

Not only that, instead of having to deal with the shifting, creeping, and general refusal to stay still no matter how many pins one puts into it, I'm having to cut a piece, deal with linings and underlinings (of completely different widths, all of which much be married to each other in a scandalous three-way eventually), I've been doing it in stages because my original calculations showed that I was going to come up short for fabric - or at least it made me seriously worry that I would. Also, doing two fittings of the bodice of this thing and finding that they differed alarmingly when made up did NOT give me any comfort.
Consider too, that there was nap to deal with, AND I was going to try to match the pattern, or at least get it so close that it wouldn't just leap out at an observer. This practically gave me nightmares.

The logical thing to do was to cut the biggest piece(s) first, see how much fabric I was left with, and plan accordingly. Oh, and the bodice had to be more or less complete (everything except the surface fabric and collar) before I could try draping the back, which is this really cool pleated trainy thing. I really NEEDED to see how that pleated trainy thing was going to look before I set to it with the scissors. Luckily, it draped out pretty much like I thought it would. The following day, I took a deep breath, drafted a curve to give me a very modest train, and cut it out.

Since the world did not end, and I succeeded in getting the same piece from the lining and underlining, I cut the panel for the skirt, thinking that the back of the skirt, which will be partially hidden under the pleaty-trainy-thing (PTT) could have additional yardage pieced out of whatever was left. Success! It even looked like I had enough for proper Spanish sleeves! I was really torn about that, because I honestly couldn't find a decent alternative. Italian sleeves can be made practically from scraps, but they don't belong on something so obviously and relentlessly Spanish. (I'm sure people have tried, but if I did it? It would rend the fabric of time and space, and everything would get sucked into a black hole because I'm supposed to know better than to do something like that.)

Sleeves cut. Skirt panel cut. PTT cut, plus all of their various bits of underlining and lining. This leaves the bodice fronts and sides, the collar and shoulder tabs can be made out of scraps, and there will probably be enough to piece in and fill the skirts out a little.

And it was okay.

I am not putting in pictures of the work I've done so far because there's utterly no point to it. Also, I promise you I will not post pictures of my straight seams. In fact, I'm not going to post pictures until it actually looks like something, which is just a personal peeve of mine.

As soon as the bodice is cut, and I see what's left over for the skirt, I'll be ready to start putting the thing together. I think it's okay for me to exhale now ;)

And, since I found out rather late today that indeed, no, my office is NOT closed tomorrow, I've got to get my butt to bed.
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