Friday, October 10, 2008

Progress & Pricks...

I have had many requests for 'work in progress' posts, so I
thought I'd show you what I'm working on today. Before I start
tho- I DO always appreciate any suggestions of post topics you all
may have in mind, or be interested in seeing! I want my Blog to
be of use and enjoyment to all who take their precious time to

That being said- I would like to make a quick disclaimer that
there will be no comments allowed about the pokes on my fingers!
They are actually looking pretty good- I am always stabbing
myself in the thumb with the needle....and today even, as I have a
bad habit of holding my needle and thread temporarily in my
mouth, I stabbed the heck out of my bottom bad my needle
stuck in there and I had to actually pull it out!! I'll spare you a
picture of that nastiness......

So here is dollye, so very charming and quaint, standing in wait
for the fitting of her new Pet en L'air. We have just made her a
fine new silke 'coat in a warm autumn shade of gold.

I am making this Pet en L'air from a just absolutely D*E*vine
steele blue silk charmuse. Being 150% honest here, it is THE
absolute WORST fabric to try and sew on, in my opinion- I dare
say I even hate it! is so beautiful, and such a heavy
weighted hand to it, all the while having a water fluidity and
drape that is very hard to come by in making small dollye clothes.
At the scale I am sewing, it is a perfect rendering of a life size slippery as it is, here I sit stabbing away at my fingers.

For those of you who are not familiar with the term, a Pet en
L'air is an 18th century loose fitting jacket of sorts...I say loose
fitting, as it looks like it is, but actually there is a lining on the
inside that has it to fit nice and snugly against the body.
Anyway- like most all 18th century clothing, the cut is SO
simple, yet so blasted hard to get looking right- its all in the
'drape' of the textile. This entire piece, less the sleeves, is a single
piece of fabric. Here I am starting to pleat the back

I just had to take a picture of my needle...not just any ol needle
mind you- its my favorite! Its bent just ever so perfect from
hours of being used...people say "how can you sew with that bent
thing???" To which I always reply, "To see a straight needle, is to
know it has NEVER been used"

When I am stitching down pleats in particular, and at this small
scale, I like to sew directly on my ironing board. I can pin directly
into the board, and especially with this slippery fabric, it just
makes things much easier! You can see another tool I can't be
without in sewing....

My tweezers! I guess I am getting older and not as agile, or my
fingers are getting so fat I can't hold a needle well, so alot of the
time I hold my needle with tweezers, and yes, I do sew with both
right and left hands.

AKKK! What a MESS! This fabric is so fine, and it snags
easily with my regular pins, so I had to use my extra fine silk
pins, and they are very long and pointy....(more stabbing). This is
the armscye all pinned into place before stitching

See- this charmuse has such a nice drape to it- I have stitched on
both sleeves, and all that is left are the robings down the front,
and some sort of a tabbed false front, or I could lace over a

I will let Ladye Jane decide what she prefers.....


Nina Mason said...

I feel your pain, my friend -- having made a couple of sacque back gowns recently myself! I scraped my finger yesterday on a piece of armature wire. Ouch! My favorite (NOT) is when you stick yourself under the thumbnail with the needle. I manage to do this more often than I'd like. Anyway, her gown is looking totally gorgeous, of course. But I just had to write and tell you (and your readers) that pet en L'air means literally "fart in the air." I suppose because of the billowing back??

Miss Sourpuss (a.k.a. Lemony Snicket)

Rachael Kinnison said...

LOL Nina!
Actually, in 18th century French slang, Pet en L'air literally meant half & half, or more commonly, 'waist length'. I have also read a contemporary translation to english as a 'bum freezer'~ all terms due to the fact that it was half the length of its sister, the Robe a la Francais. hee hee ~ Nina said 'fart'. :) :) :)

Nina Mason said...

Just goes to show you that you can't believe everything you read on the Internet! But I do like my definition better. Fart. There, I said it again!

M. Sourpuss

SweetAnnee said...

We are us ROAR


Lana said...

LOL! I forgot what was going to write... oh well... thanks for the laugh Rachael and Nina!