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April 24th, 2009

Wrinkles

D'ya know what I see when I look at 1840s and 1850s ballgown bodices made of beautiful silks and taffetta?  WRINKLES!  I have nearly completed a new 1840s-ish ballgown for Gaskells and other Victorian dance events that require a poofy dress.  I draped the pattern myself, which consists of some very fitted front princess seems, a v-front and back, and, well, a whole lot o' wrinkles.  Anticipating that there would be wrinkles in the front (from looking at other dresses on various dress blogs and diaries), I interfaced the center front pieces, and half the side front pieces, for the side from seams.  Yes, I mean the fusible stuff, what costumers think of as the devil.  I can only think that some people have tried to use this in the place of interLINING and have come out unhappy, which is quite understandable.  I used it in conjunction with interlining, to change the properties of the thin taffetta that was my fashion fabric, and to reinforce the seams, which I knew might pull and cause, what else, WRINKLES!

And so it worked beautifully.  The center front is smooth and lovely.  I did not, however, think to use the interfacing on any other pieces, such as the back and side back.  I can painfully see now that this was indeed a mistake, for I am PLAGUED by wrinkles!!  WRINKLES!  The problem might be that I made a small point at the center back, which is displaced by the bulk of the skirt and underpinnings.  I had this very same problem with the Robe A L'Anglaise, and I was vexed for quite a long time (and still am) as to the reason for that costume fail.

Now I think it is a lack of interfacing and boning.  The center back edges or seams should ALWAYS be boned, and I imagine that the bone ought to extend down into the deep point of a L'Anglaise - that or I can take the leap to go "en forreau" from now on.  With the ballgown and any other victorian bodice made of not-jacquard, not-cotton, and not-upholstry velvet, bones and interfacing must be necessary.  This is the THIRD gown now that has had this problem - the Halloween bustle was a victim as well - and I'm good and done with it.  EVERY piece of a bodice made of taffetta, silk, or ANY lightweight fabric of any kind (minus, perhaps, cotton, depending on its weight), ought to be re-engineered with interfacing, and hopefully that will take care of the problem.

However, and this sounds awful but, I was THRILLED to take a look at some unnamed ladies of an unnamed project recreated the gowns of an unnamed famous painting of an unnamed famous person and her unnamed entourage, and find that almost if not ALL the bodice, made in the same way as my very own, showed wrinkles, lots and lots of them!  I see that this is a problem for everyone, then, and a particular challenge to not only this fabric type, but this era of dress as well.  Curved seams create tension that needs to be combatted.  At any rate, I don't feel quite so bad.  I'm half tempted (no, 3/4 tempted) to throw a fatty black sash over the middle and tie it in a monster bow at the back and call it good and done with.  Period?  I don't really care.  Does it cut the line of the dress...naw, rather I thought it was quite charming.  I happen to have a length of black silk, too, although it's slated for some sleeves and a tall hat.  Hrm....hrrrmmmmmm....

Anyway, if you're going to Gaskells tomorrow, the dress will be there, and I in it.  Oh the joy!  Please don't mention the wrinkles. :-)