Sewing continues! This weekend I tackled the bodice, which has been really enjoyable and I was constantly surprised at how much I was able to get out of that last scrap of fabric.

A quick reminder of the look I’ll be going for with my trim.

The first thing I had to do was actually obtain a bodice pattern of my very own. My friend and I took her existing bodice pattern to work from and cut, pinned, and trimmed it down to fit my measurements. This felt like it took *forever*. Obviously I’ll remake the mock up for all future bodices to make sure it fits, but nothing will ever take as long as that first draft. Also, this whole part felt a little like cheating. Obviously, it’s difficult to tailor a bodice down to your exact measurements while you’re wearing it, but the amount of time I just stood there while someone else did all the hard work really bothered me. I’m still thinking about getting a Uniquely You dress form to help with draping my own patterns, but I’m also a little worried that their size medium foam forms will never squish down/look at all realistic on my 30″ bust. But that’s a whole other post.

It only looks so loose and ill-fitting because by the time I remembered I wanted to take a picture we’d already unpinned most of the back. But, it gives you a good idea of the starting shape. There’s one front panel with two fairly high darts, side back pieces, and back pieces. It took three versions, but we finally had a pattern that fit like a glove. At this point, I was also eying the front V shape a little dubiously. Surely that was going to look ridiculous with such a sharp point. However, I was assured that as everything came together, it would look just fine, and it could always be trimmed as I went.Right then, onward!

The pattern pieces being placed for cutting. This should also give you a better idea of just how little fabric I had left to work with after the skirt. I was convinced that I would need the cut the tops off the bodice and do them in another fabric and cover it in trim. Not only was I pleasantly surprised to find that everything actually fit, I had so much room that I was able to get a little fancy with some flower centering and pattern matching.

The front panel. I had really hoped to be able to center one of the lilies, but this was my second choice anyway. The shoulder straps have been cut off from the mock up since those are cut and attached separately.

Although I couldn’t get the lily on the front piece, I was able to sneak it onto the side. I was only a little sad that I couldn’t find another more decorated panel for the other side piece, but I tried not to let it bother me too much seeing as how everything was already working out better than planned.

This was the moment I had to stop and show anyone who would stand still for two seconds what I’d managed to pull off. How did I get lucky enough to have enough fabric for this? How did I even pull this off? I’m absolutely terrible at pattern matching, and yet somehow there it is. Even if the grommets down the back and the laces hide it, I don’t care. I know I managed to match up that flower. Woo!

Pinning the pieces together to get a better idea of the overall fit. Sadly, it was at this point that my camera battery decided enough was enough and it died. However, I’ll give a quick run down of what came next.

  • Sew the darts. Sew the front and side panels together.
  • Measure boning for back where grommets will go, one at center front, and one at each dart for canvas. Make boning channels, attach to front canvas.
  • Sew back outer fabric to back canvas at top, center back, and bottom, leaving inner side open. Turn, put boning casing inside as close to edge as possible, sew down.
  • Sew front/side outer fabric to canvas at bottom and neckline, leaving sides and arm holes open. Turn.
  • Sew back to front/side pieces. Lots of raw edges on the inside, either to be pinked or bound later.
  • Grommets!

The original plan was to stop here, go to Lacis on Thursday to use their awesome grommet press, and then continue next weekend, but then my wonderful friend offered to hammer them in for me, which meant I could keep going that day. They’re not perfect, but they’re pretty awesome and work just fine. Definitely better than if I tried them myself.

Next came time to work on the shoulder straps. These are separate channels that attach to the front/back pieces with elastic in them. While they may not give the smoothest line, it does mean I can fully raise my arms over my head and the bodice moves with me. Again, I thought for sure I’d need to make these out of some other fabric and then trim them to hide it, but I wound up yet again having just enough of the taffeta for both the outer side and the lining. Woo!

Here it is! Don’t mind that off-center point; I’m fairly certain I just didn’t have the bodice on straight.

So now all that’s left for this weekend is to finish the last adjustments to the shoulder straps and then it’s on to the trim! I remembered I had yards and yards of some bright orange china silk that I had initially planned on saving for petticoat, but once I started cutting I quickly gave up on that idea since it’s such a pain in the ass. I may still use it as the ruffle on another petticoat for that flash of color, but I also have more than enough for the bertha, super sleaves, and possible bottom knife pleats.

Overall feeling great about my progress! With any luck I should be done on Saturday, which gives me an entire week to work on another project!