I got lots of excellent feedback on Part Two of my diary, which centered on the two main options for my bodice’s inset. Now it’s time to really mix things up and show just how much fun you can have playing with fabrics to achieve the perfect 1912 look! In addition to the two inset options (burnout organdy and a net lace panel), we can alter the bodice just a wee bit to create some sumptuous drapery effects. But first, let me run the inset options by you again, showing an alternate cutting layout for the net lace that most of you liked best.
First, the inset as I originally cut it with one half-circle at the top:
With the bits of the lace remnant left over, I cut another inset with the half circles on either side, creating a vertical line in the center:
Here’s what this looks like pinned in place on the mannequin with the rest of the bodice:
Now, I’ll agree this has a more symmetrical look to it, but I have to admit the first thought that popped into my head was that it looked like the mannequin had round potholders strategically placed over the bust beneath the bodice material! So I decided to try some different ways of draping the bodice material. I had actually cut out an experimental bodice half at the start, adding length and width at the front to give me more material to play with. I figured if I decided I didn’t like the draping, I could always cut it down to match the other side of the bodice (and I’ve got plenty of saree to play with, since I had to buy the entire five-meter piece!).
With the extra material, we can try asymmetrical drapery like this:
Here’s the full view with a non-split overskirt (and no waistline sash):
I tend to be a very “Georgian” gal when it comes to the architecture of my dresses, so I’m not overly fond of the asymmetrical look (yes, I was the little girl who drew the house with four perfectly proportioned windows and a central door!). I also feel that the solid overskirt tends to make the wearer look short, so let’s check out this gown with the split overskirt and more straightforward inset option:
The central “stripe” created by the open overskirt is slimming. Here’s the same look with the inset turned the other way:
Hmmm… I’m still not liking the look of those strategic “circles” at the bust. How about you? So let’s go back and play around with the bodice overlay, draping it to form a “V”:
I dunno… It’s a bit better, but the darker portions draw the eye to the wrong place. So let’s flip the inset and try again:
Ahhh! Now this I am beginning to like! Let’s see how it looks if we set the overskirt to reflect it with an upside-down “V”:
Very slimming, and all the bodice needs is the reciprocating trim around the neckline. But let’s go back to inset option #2 and give it another trial run with these drapery effects:
Hey! That actually looks really nice now! I think with the wider inset shape, this fabric looks kind of “lost,” but when you change the overbodice to the “V”, this inset starts to shine a bit. Here’s a full-length view:
Not bad! I still think the plainer inset would need some help (like a band of the coppery spun silk at the top or some beading or something), but it’s starting to hold its own now with this look. Now let’s play around with the neckline trimming idea. In the photos below, I’ve just pulled up the excess saree material and draped it around the neckline (that’s why the sleeves have vanished):
Wow! Now things really have a symmetrical, “together” look. What happens if we go back to the original inset shape?
Well, I don’t know about you, but I’m just not feeling this one. It’s gone from “wow” to “oh” in one step. There’s just something about the “V” shape that makes this plainer inset fabric work. No matter which inset I end up using, I’ll definitely trim it out with the golden edge of the saree material (which will involve a lot of hand-sewing but will be worth it, I think).
So now help me choose which option to go for when it comes to my bodice draping and inset choice. Here are the four choices:
Option 1: Medallion Lace inset with straight overbodice
Option 2: Burnout Organdy inset with straight overbodice
Option 3: Medallion Lace inset with “V” overbodice
Option 4: Burnout Organdy inset with “V” overbodice
I’ve left out the asymmetrical option and the alternate cutting layout of inset #1. Unless I hear a lot of comments to the contrary, I’m going to assume the “potholder” bust look isn’t even in the running. At this point, after trying several options, I feel like I could happily go with either inset. I’m leaning more toward the “V” look, but the original “pattern cover” look also has its merits. If anyone has very strong ideas about a different approach to draping the bodice, I’m wide open, but keep in mind that I only have four days to finish this dress, because we have people flying in this weekend, which means no time to sew — and the dinner is on the 12th! I only sew on weeknights after the children are asleep or on Saturdays, so I’m pretty much down to sewing Tuesday through Friday evenings (if the power stays on!).
Fire away! I look forward to reading your comments.