Saturday, February 25, 2017

Sissi and the crinoline

I already mentioned a few times here that "I used to be a dressmaker"...It was long before the Internet. When I was about twelve I started sewing stuff for míself. I did not have a sewing machine, so the pieces were simple, but then for my 14th birthday I got a sewing machine from my dad. It could only sew a straight line, but I loved it (french seems I love thee). Later I inherited another machine from him, that was used to sew glider wings from  thick dacron materials (you can imagine the shape it was it)...After finishing highshcool I spent two years in a special vocational shcool, and the got my own industrial straight machine and a rickety old serger, and I worked as a dressmaker for years. Even when we lived in the USA used to make very fancy, very expensive clothes for a high end boutique in that was in the Mayfair Mall. Then we came home, spent a few years out in the country with the garden, while sewing got less and less role in my life. Then Christopher was born. Since he was put in the room that used to be my sewing room... you can guess what happened...So many things, I can't even beginn to list them, be it enough that I kept dreaming of making clothes... But for about 15 years I did not. I was even afraid I forgot how to. Yes, I would never say that out loud, but I was afraid... It never stopped me from buying fabrics however...Last summer I even cleaned my sewing room almost enough to be able to sew in there, but...but but but. I know.
There is another long story about historical dancing, a Jane Austen ball I did not went to, more dancing, some new friends, and Grand 19th century ball (Sissi ball for short after the Empress of Austria, who was also the queen of Hungary at that time), and the necessity of making not one but two  ball gowns complete with crinolines and all.
So, after such a long tome I got scissors, needles in my hand, dusted the sewing machines and cut into it.
The whole thing started off with a rash promise to my young friend. I could not, or really did not want to back out of it, but my condition was that she will at least keep me company, maybe even help me through the way, so , everyone, meet Zsófi :-)
I bought a simple pattern for a basic ballgown, but I did not want to spend more on patterns. Thankfully there is a pretty good video series on youtube, with that and my experience we have been able to put it together.
There were some funny moments, some intense ones, but it was so good working on this, and working together. Honestly, the fact that Zsófi blindly trusted me, and believed I CAN make it, without seeing ANY proof that I can sew was a big incentive. And her help, was also invaluable.
You know that other pair of hands that helps guide the bones in the channel, that holds the gigantic thing while you try to guide it under the needles with both hands, which hands me the pins, the scissors, the whatever and the jokes, the gossip and the laughs.
Zsófi is a bit taller than me, this particular crinoline fits her better than me... and we can still decide that we need to shorten it a bit, a dance practice will answer that question.
Some technical details: 27 meters of boning steel was used, 8 full circles, the lowest two with 330 cm of circumference. We used about 20 meters of grosgrain ribbon, and I dunno exactly how much of simple cotton... I think it is caled muslin in English? The type that is used for sheets. 
And while we were at it we put together the first petticoat for her. Also no pattern, just winging it from the top of my head... And when we finished I thought, yes, I still have it in me. I still have it.
So, I am afraid, you can expect more sewing posts over the coming times... after all the blog is named "The crafty side of life" in order to embrace all kinds of crafts not only knitting. I hope you don't mind :-) 

1 comment:

kristieinbc said...

That is absolutely amazing! It's said that you never forget how to ride a bike, and the same must be true about sewing. Your friend is very lucky to have you do all that beautiful work for her! I look forward to seeing more sewing posts.