I have nearly completed the smock (for now). After trying it on The Girl, I could see I wasn’t going to get away with having put the side gores in on the grain instead of on the bias, so I undid all the (frenched, of course, though fortunately not trimmed) seams and turned the gores round and resewed them. It did make a difference. I’ve not hemmed the sleeves, and won’t till much closer to the day of wearing, as the distance between her wrist and the sleeve end will likely change considerably in between.
I have sort of got some blackwork round the neckline of the smock. I started by edging the neckline itself in black silk, with the machine, then hand sewing again along the same edge, adding double knots every few milimetres, as I wanted to try to reproduce those little black dots along the neckline edges in Holbein’s Jane Seymour portrait (you know, the one with the awesome blackwork cuffs… OK, this one…
I think the effect I achieved is close, but not quite there – next time I think I’d triple knot instead of double.
I’ve also machine stitched a fairly plain border round the neckline to hold the facing in place. It effectively creates a frame for whatever blackwork I might want to put in the middle, and looks quite sweet on its own. I will add photos when I get to the camera.
So the next step will be to make the bumroll, and then the farthingale. I bought some irrigation pipe at the hardware store to use for the farthingale hoops. It has the advantage of being cheap, but the disadvantage of being thicker than hoop boning, which means thicker ribbon for the channels.
I’m thinking probably the grey taffeta for the farthingale. I quite like the look of just plain white cotton, but the taffeta is probably stronger. On the other hand, cotton is probably cooler, and with all the layers The Girl will be wearing, cooler might be preferable to stronger.
At the same time, I’m figuring out what other fabrics to use. After watching Trademe for some months now and no sign of inexpensive dark blue velvet (it’s always the shipping that’s the killer) I’m thinking I might have a go at dying the dark green velvet I bought earlier this year. It’s probably an acetate/nylon mix. It’s not really my colour, so if the dye doesn’t take I’m not really any worse off.
That leaves the forepart and sleeves to decide on. Having seen some pieced sleeves, I’m leaning heavily towards making them out of the velvet too, with the smock underneath, so it would just be the partlet to settle (though would probably use some of the fabric for trim and embellishment as well, to help tie it together.
I’d really like to use the Japanese silk kimono fabric I got originally intending to use for the corset, but I doubt there’s enough of it. Anyway, I’d best dye the velvet first to see what colour I’m matching.