I finally found time on Monday to get the dress pieced together, as well as the collar in place (sleeves are coming up today!). I decided the dress would be more period appropriate without lining and worn with a chemise underneath instead. This is a good choice because with all the beadwork and pearls that will eventually be installed on the dress, it won’t make for an easy cleaning. I’ll probably still put in some underarm shields to save myself some struggle later, too!
That still requires some work for the collar, a facing, something. Since the collar of this dress shows the same gold accent on the cuffs and above the hem, I went that direction and did a sort of inside-out neckline facing. This is something I learned in the SCA as it’s an easy way to add the common neckline detail seen in a lot of medieval clothing. It’s prepared just the same way as a typical neckline facing, only with the facing coming to the outside instead of being hidden inside the garment.
To make this reverse facing especially successful, finish your inside shoulder seams using a French seam or other treatment (I simply folded under the raw edges of the seam and ironed them in place). Then you won’t have to be concerned with any raw edges of seams showing at your neckline.
Here’s where the inside-out/backwards part comes in. Instead of right side to right side, sew the pieces together right side of facing to wrong side of garment. This makes it so you can display the facing (the right side of the facing, without any seams or interfacing!) on the outside of the garment! It still enables a really tidy edge, but you get a nice contrast.
I went in after everything was ironed out (don’t forget to trim and grade those inside edges so the collar edge sits very nice; I just used my serger) and stitched the bottom edge down, as can be seen in the photo. Since you have this raw edge, zig zag stitching or covering the edge with trim is advisable, though if you feel like going to the trouble of hemming and stitching it down, that’s a nice look, too! I think I’ll be using a pretty strand of top-drilled pearls to accent the REST of the beading that will go into this dress. I liked the more earthy look of the offset pattern in the beads.
So there we are! I’ve also finally received all the beads I’m going to use on this costume, so it’s just a matter of getting the trim on sleeves and hem, and getting the beading done! The wig is also in my possession, and I think I’ll toss in a few flowers in as well! Just a few more steps and Ophelia should be finished!
How are your projects going?