Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Crossover Construction

My ribbon arrived courtesy of Captain Transvestite's brother, who happened to be in town, on Wednesday. I cannot express enough how delighted I am with the embroidery! The attention to detail is amazing. Incidentally, CT now has a specifically Xena-related Tumblr account entitled 'Joxer Of All Trades' and has blogged about both the ribbon embroidery and the subsequent photoshoot of the outfit, so go check them out!

Wednesday was dedicated entirely to the production of the top - or rather the completion thereof as the basic shape had already been worked out over the week or so prior. Working without a pattern I had to come up with the shape myself. I know absolutely nothing about pattern drafting and as such worked on a basis of trial and error. I created a "toile", which is essentially a mock up of the garment out of cheap fabric upon which you can try out different positions of seams, edges, etc. I ended up making about four variants of the design out of old curtains before I found a pattern that worked. Here you can see my curtain fabric mockup with two different shapes of shoulder seam - one straight and one curved.

How very 'Sound of Music' of me.

With a basic design decided upon, I made myself a proper pattern out of newspaper, much like the did in the good old days, and finally felt confident enough to cut into the real fabric!

This was a little nerve wracking as this material has taken three lots of dye in order to get anywhere close to the right colour - and I'm still not entirely convinced by it. I may yet wind up taking all the trim off again and dipping it in some dark brown to take the brightness out.

With the basic top cut and sewn, it then hung on the wardrobe for a week or so while I waited for the ribbons to arrive. And of course they finally did and after I had stopped squealing over them and how perfect they were, I had to set about embellishing my very basic top.

As I discussed in my earlier post, the three stripes around the neckline consist of the two embroidered ribbons and a distressed blue cotton in between. I had found a pre-distressed blue cotton going cheap in my local fabric store, and thought this was pretty much perfect for the look I was aiming for.

It's actually also a possible alternative for the peasant dress jacket, when I come to give that another go, but we shall see.

I cut a curved strip, following the neckline shape as best I could, and then sewed it onto the top in one continuous piece. From what I could see there are no seams along the striped section at all so I was trying to remain true to that design. I also attached a wider strip of blue around the bottom, with the rough edge on display on the outside. These blue strips are long enough to tie into a double knot at the back to fasten the top. I also added a second layer over the top of the first so as to layer up and make it a little messy, fitting the rough and distressed look of the garment.

Next I added the ribbons - the brown machine-embroidered one around the neck and the empire line, and the navy hand-embroidered one also around the neck a little further in, allowing a gap of about an inch and a half for the blue cotton to show through.

Completed top, with trim. Skirt beneath.
The overall scale and look seemed pretty bang on!

I also remembered, just as I thought I was finished, that the sleeves also have a stripe around them, which looks like a slightly paler brown edged with the same navy frayed ribbon. So I used a scrap of the skirt fabric backed with a leftover strip of frayed denim and attached those to the edges of the sleeves.

All embellishments attached, Gab Costume the Second was ready to go! 

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