Thursday, August 13, 2015

Agent Peggy Carter Part 3: The Shirt

This has been… an adventure. I apologise for the lack of photos, but every time I was working on this it was a last minute thing, so I kept forgetting.

It started well. The Simplicity 3688 pattern that I used for the suit included a 1940’s style shirt, so I looked at that and the reference shots and at least figured that I could use the sleeves if nothing else. The rest, I had to freehand. 

The back was a lot easier to deal with than the front so I started there. I took a body block pattern that I had drafted for myself some time ago and used it to figure out the yoke for the back. Then, I cut a piece wider than necessary so that I could add in the folds that Peggy has in her shirt. 

The front was a challenge. I wanted the collar to echo the collar on the shirt, at least partially, so that the points lined up, so rather than start from scratch, I recycled the pattern that I devised for the collar of the jacket and added extra fabric to the side to work with later. It worked better than I hoped, except for my fabric choice.

I went with a beautiful georgette I found on Goldhawk Road in London, which, if you’ve never used it before, is a royal pain. It slips, it burrs, it doesn’t want to hold the shape of a collar. It drapes well, but it needed something to give it some oomph. 

So I added a light interfacing to it, which made it stand up nicely, although I realised that it was a little large. And the interfacing was a little small, so if I moved wrong, it wanted to slip out, which I still need to find a solution for. 

In the end, I couldn't just leave it without attempting to do the seams the way it is done in the show. Fortunately I got Madge, my new dress form,  recently and I ended up draping the tucks and darts in the shirt to get the right fall. 

The sleeves from the Simplicity pattern fall perfectly, but needed cuffs and figured I’d just wing them. The first time I made the shirt, it was closing in on midnight the night before I was due to wear it, and I accidentally made them too small. So I had to redo these for the next wearing, but by then I’d run out of interfacing and only had a heavy sew-in interfacing. Seeing as I was once again doing this last minute, on a Friday after all the stores had closed, I just went with it. But it wasn’t comfortable. The georgette was thin enough that I could feel the creases in the interfacing and the whole thing almost felt like there was plastic inside, so that had to get changed again. 

Eventually, the cuffs got done. 

One major detail that was half-assed for the first wearing, but got properly fixed later was the trim. I looked everywhere for this trim. I scoured Dublin, I looked in Belgium, I trolled through London. I picked up 4 different trims and wasn’t happy with any of them. Well, that’s because they didn’t use trim in the show, they just stitched it in red thread. /facepalm

Adding the thread was very easy. I did 5 rows of parallel thread lines echoing the edges of the collar and the cuffs. It looks great, and I was quite happy that I added that little detail. I just wish I’d realised before buying all that other trim….

And that is Peggy's shirt. It is a little low, and if I did it again I'd use something other than georgette, because even though it looks great, it was a royal pain to work with. It is both visually and historically correct for the 1940's but in future I'd be happy to have something easier to work with but slightly less accurate.

This is probably the last complete post about this costume, specifically, unless people have questions. If you'd like to see more photos of the overall look, you should check out my Facebook where these things keep turning up. 

I am so happy with how it turned out overall. I love the costume. I love the fit. And people's reactions to it are just wonderful to see. So I'll leave you with one of my favorite shots of it so far.

Photo by George Germaine

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Fixing Broderie Anglaise

Ok, so its probably not ‘proper’ broderie anglaise, but it is cutwork fabric with stitched holes in it, and this would probably work even if you didn’t want to hand-stitch the embroidery back in for broderie anglaise as well. 
The problem was simple. My friend’s little girl had sat/caught/somehow ripped the holes in her dress and her mother asked could I hem it up? Of course, I said, but then on looking closer I thought, actually, I might be able to fix this. 
These were proper holes. The fabric had been ripped between the various holes, and certain pieces just didn’t exist anymore. So I knew I would need new backing material to fill in where none existed anymore. I used sew-in heavy lining, because it happened to be on hand. I only had white, though, so first I took a piece and tea-dyed it. 
If you’ve never tea-dyed things, it is ridiculously easy. Heat water, add tea bag, add project, wait. I left it on the windowsill for a few hours, and when it came out, I rinsed it and left it to dry overnight. The match isn’t 100% perfect, but its pretty darn close. I mostly wanted it close enough, and it worked for that. 
This ended up being surprisingly easy.  I pinned the lining to the fabric, using probably more pins than were necessary, trying to approximate where the holes should line up. Then, I simply zigzagged on a very short stitch around every hole. 
There were some sections where I had to rebuild the missing fabric. Most of these I did by outlining what I wanted to to finish the existing holes and then continuing to zigzag to fill in some of the middle sections. 
To add extra strength and prevent it from falling apart again when I cut the holes out, I went ahead and stitched down the lining farther away from the holes as well, creating sections around it that had the lining in them. 
Then it was a matter of taking the trusty scissors to the holes and cutting around the overall edge. 

I was pretty happy with how this came out. 

Above you can see the two fixed places from the backside. And below is the final fixes from the front.

You can certainly tell that the original hole pattern is not continued, but you can only tell if you’re looking closely. Importantly, it definitely does not look like there are holes ripped in the dress, so I’m considering this a win.

Hopefully my solution will stick in the wash long enough that her mother thinks so too!