Elsa Mantua project

Of course. I’ve had so much bad luck with all my projects for the last few years so naturally I’ve made a bit of a hash of my mantua. I cut my lace to fit a narrow petticoat and I’m not happy with it. In order to patch the lace back together I need to temporarily baste it to some calico and in order to sew the lace to the petticoat I really need it to have an uneven number of panels.

So I have cut each full width down to half, unpicked the hem and inserted a half width into the front that is shorter than the rest of the panels.

The new Patterns of Fashion books help make sense of the original Janet Arnold article in Costume of my favourite mantua. And my mistakes in over compensating for length including upper flounce turns out to be perfectly fine for this.

I’ve even managed to keep a short piece of full width fabric to make the pleated yoke. I’m still working out what shape to make my foundation to help take the weight of all the lace. I was thinking of using the piece I cut from the bottom of my Marie Antoniette hoops seeing as it’s a bit too stretchy to control the steels.

But then again I have plenty of support materials from glazed cotton to linen canvas. So I should raid that stash box instead.

I wanted a simple project in which I’d mix historically accurate pattern with modern materials and stitching and have a lot of fun making an OTT stomacher, but like so many others I’m realising how much the seaming informs the outcome. I’m not investing too much in the petticoat as I have turned the seam allowances to the back and will do a mix of machine flat felling with hand sewing above the lace. But I do now need to consider the order of sewing for the robe itself. And I really should line the train. It needs to be a very light fabric and as this fabric is 100% acetate I think I need something nicer than most modern lining fabrics but not anything expensive either.

I have been also working on the research side of things because there really cannot be enough people sharing what they have learned.

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