Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Sleeves - decisions decisions!

With a lot of the primary construction on the peasant shirt done, I had to start thinking about which of the two sleeve styles I wanted to go with.

Gab's summer look?
Now admittedly the shorter simpler style would be a LOT easier to do, and I believe is also the one that matches up to my fabric better. However, this style is, let's face it, the more boring of the designs and is, as a result, commonly hidden under the jacket. So, much as the lazy part of me is SO tempted to lop the sleeves off at the elbow and have done with it, fact is I prefer the longer ruched sleeves. The longer sleeves are also the style more often viewed without the jacket, in several iconic moments such as the pilot episode and Renee's credit shot. The shorter sleeve style does, however, make an appearance in episodes such as 'The Titans' when Gabby wears the mint green shirt, so I may make one of these at a later date with the short sleeves, for the sake of variety.

I have stated before in my first assessment of the peasant dress fabrics that the longer sleeved shirt exhibited a geometric square design, and as such I was unable to find a close match. The fabric I have found has more of an organic linear texture to it but nonetheless I like the overall silhouette of the ruched sleeves and would like to replicate that look.

The neckline of this first variant is also a little higher, with the lacing just below, as opposed to the later designs which are lower cut with the lacing running from the waist to the bustline. The lacing on these designs also threads through small fabric loops sewn into the front of the shirt, whereas I cannot see any similar loops on the long sleeved version. I prefer the lower lacing though, so I'll be using that. If I am true to period and use cord instead of elastic around the neckline, I can keep the option of altering the neckline by tightening or loosening the cord accordingly. I may have to see what effect this has on the lacing though, as it may work without throwing off the rest of the garment.

As such I am effectively combining features of both designs - the long ruched sleeves of the first variant, and the bodice style lacing and crinkled fabric of the latter.

You may be able to see above, there are two channels running down the length of the sleeve from shoulder to cuff. I have sewn these in, as well as sewing similar channels around the neckline and cuff themselves, while being sure to leave spaces where necessary in order to thread the cord in when it arrives. The channel around the neckline is rather narrow so I have ordered the smallest cotton cord I could find (3mm) and am expecting a lot of fun(!) with a darning needle when it arrives. I may have to take the sleeves in slightly to get the right look but, again, I won't be able to tell until I put all the relevant cord in place and see how the sleeve behaves when it's all gathered together.

Overall shape of blouse so far, without cords.

Sleeve channels and neckline channel.

Meanwhile, the hunt for skirt and sash fabric continues. The viscose for the sash was a nice colour for texture wise a complete no-no, and the skirt needs a red dye throwing over it in order to get closer to the reddish terracotta of Gab's series 1 skirt. The jacket is close enough to the overall look (although it has been brought to my attention by Phil Aldridge that the actual jacket is a woven mixture of two different blues, but until I find anything closer, I am quite pleased with my current purchase) so I will be carrying on with the jacket next once the shirt is finished.

My fabrics so far - jacket, shirt, sash and skirt.

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