I brought the design over to CLO for some quick test renders, and it became apparent that there were some problems with her overall silhouette and proportions. It took me a while to nail down, but the issue is in the puff sleeves at the widest point of her shoulders – it makes her torso look extremely wide and the costume generally top-heavy. I tried to reduce this effect by pulling the puff sleeves further down her arms, but it was still a bit strange. I ended up removing the ‘stuffing’ (a gathered piece of internal sleeve) from the upper sleeves, letting them drape more, and that made a clear improvement. I also modified the shirt pattern slightly to pull the wide shoulders closer to the neck (and the sleeves further up), adjusting where the bulk of the volume lay. I still think perhaps there needs to be more volume in the lower half – additional skirts, bags, belts?
The shape of her stays was still bothering me – although I couldn’t put my finger on exactly why – so I set out to try and find a different look for their design. In digging through my old 18th century gown inspiration folder, I stumbled upon this dress from the 1860s-70s from the V&A Museum. It immediately struck me as something of a ribcage or other skeletal design, so I set out to replicate it.
I also managed to resolve a few issues with the underlying layers riding up or shifting under neath the stays, and that was via a dozen tacks to the waistband of the pants – now nothing can really move out of place.
Minor Shirt Fixes
I quite liked the lace-up detail I had done on the previous stays, and wanted to figure out how to incorporate it into the costume elsewhere. Marvelous has a useful feature where sections of garments can simply be replicated and re-stitched onto new sections of a garment, so I was able to pull the lacing and place it directly onto the opening in the shirt.
I also tried out an option for some of the smocking details – an apron on the front of the skirts – but decided it covered too much of the nice asymmetric details. I’ll look to incorporate that technique somewhere else.
Design Inspiration & Current Pattern
I put together a little infographic for my final documentation showing some of the inspiration that went into my current design. It’s worked quite well for me to just pull small elements from various pieces and change them up a little, even if this frankensteining led to quite a few elements being thrown away in the process. I am very pleased with how quickly the patterning has come together once I settled on a general look. I’ve allocated quite a lot of time at the start of the final semester for patterning, and I’m hoping that’s a place I can get a jumpstart.
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