For challenge one I made a dress inspired by Madeleine Vionnet, I chose it as a bit of practice for challege #2. So, without further ado, here is my Innovation dress, made from the pattern of an actual Vionnet in the Met. Images of the original are side by side with my dress, for comparison.
I chose this dress as it joins bias and straight seams along several edges, an innovation often credited to Ms.Vionnet. All the pieces are cut on grain, but in sewing it up several of them meet on the bias.
I used the pattern in Betty Kirke's book Madeleine Vionnet which I enlarged and taped together as one does with electronic patterns. What can I say, I'm glad I practiced first! The fabric I used was a rayon crepe which was rather difficult to work with, it was also weightier than the fabric used in the original. The beefiness of it made things go together differently and thus required a fair bit of basting. This, combined with the fitting issues required by bias fitted garments means that it took a while to sew.
I buttonhole stitched the seams, instead of satin stitching them, after I basted the edges together.
I also tacked the wrist ties to the outside of the sleeves, the practice buttonholes I made looked vaguely vulgar to me (also this crepe is incredibly frayey!).
I hand stitched the sleeve bands on with a faggoting stitch as was done on the original. I used a gray-blue DMC embroidery floss which I had on hand and looked nice with the color of the crepe. Also, my navy thread blends in much better than it seems to in this picture!
The Challenge: Innovation
Fabric: Three yards of navy blue rayon crepe
Pattern: Number 27 from Betty Kirke's book
Notions: Vintage thread in navy, DMC embroidery floss #317
How historically accurate is it? Fairly, the pattern is from an extant garment but it is mostly machine sewn, I did baste everything by hand though. Silk crepe was used in the original but I used rayon crepe.
Hours to complete: No idea! I worked on it whenever I got the chance and with all the pinning, basting and fitting, I'm guessing quite a few!
First worn: To my daughter's school's International Festival (Well, my father's side of the family is from France...).
Total cost: $9.40, my fabric was on sale and my thread was vintage.
Sadly this dress has confirmed that my bust is just too large for this style of dress, and that surplice bodices are simply not my friends. Oh well, I will still wear this dress and perhaps once my baby is weaned it will look better!