December 18th, 2010
Last March I began a truly monumental project: to whit, a hand-sewn, tucked, embroidered petticoat based on an 1854 Practical Dress Instructor pattern from Godey’s Lady’s Book. The skirt, comprising 3 panels of 45 inch “calico” (modern cotton muslin) was finished in relatively short order, including 6 hand-sewn tucks and a 2 inch wide insertion of white-on-white embroidered morning glories going all the way around the bottom. I’ll post pictures once I dig it out of my sewing closet, where it has been peacefully reposing for some time now.
Then it was on to the frill in Broderie Anglaise. And that’s where I’ve been stuck for the past 6 months. Cutting and stitching, cutting and stitching, all with a single thread of embroidery floss. I’m finally nearing the halfway point on the cut-work. When all 135 inches are finally complete, I’ll go back over it again to buttonhole the scalloped edge.
If you’re at all familiar with period examples of Broderie Anglaise, you’ll probably notice that mine is a little off. I should be using thicker thread, and sewing over a padding of more thread as well, to create that nice puffed look. I might also have drawn the holes larger and made them butt up against one another. The pattern in Godey’s didn’t show them touching, but as most extant Broderie Anglaise takes that form, I rather wish I’d taken the illustration less literally.
Ah well. I’ll do better on the next one. Or maybe I’ll stop over on a pair of undersleeves and a collar before trying another 135 inch (!!) petticoat.