Ah, I’ve forgotten how nice an all-night sewing binge can be! I was up until 1 AM, but I got the bodice mostly put together. I decided to use the construction technique that can be seen in van der Weyden’s St. John altarpiece, with the back and shoulder seams finished on the inside. This should allow for easier alteration in the future. The layers used in the bodice are a light green linen (which might be cotton/linen), an interlining of the medium weight blue cotton/linen I’ve been using for ages now, and a lining of lightweight white linen.
First phase of construction
One of my goals with this dress is to re-integrate some machine sewing into my technique. I used the machine to sew up the side seams, and to zig-zag on a couple extra layers of the interlining at the center front edge to reinforce the eyelets. The lining and interlining are cut to the same shape, while the green linen was cut a little larger at the seams and the armscye and waist edges. You can see here where the green linen has been turned under and sewn down at the armscye and waist. The remaining edges are hand-basted to keep them together.
Front shoulder seam complete
Here the first shoulder seam has been finished. The main seam was sewn by machine, and then the edges were sewn down by hand, with the green linen turned over the edge of the linings.
Both shoulder seams sewn (and altered)
Here both shoulder seams are complete, and you can see part of the neckline facing basted in place. I did a test fit of the bodice after finishing the main seams, and found that the armscye was too big at the front. I marked where the seam needed to be adjusted, and altered the seam without any fuss. The construction technique seems to live up to its potential.
There really wasn’t a whole lot of machine sewing that I was able to do using this method. I ended up having to reinforce a couple of the seams by hand, as they were already starting to come apart while I was finishing them. I think I’ll still use the machine on the skirt seams, but I don’t know if I trust it for bodice seams that will be under real stress.
Mirrored from Lorenzo's Workshop.