Well, it's been a while since I last posted, and I haven't gotten everything done yet (but I did knit 4 hats, 2 neck muffs, a scarf and a pair of mitts for Christmas, made 3 pleated valances for a friend, made a kilt for a 7-year-old, a baptism dress for an etsy order, a pair of pants for my mother-in-law, a dress and a baby bonnet to use up scraps, and a vest for a friend), but I did get the skirt and blouse done, so here are some pictures before I have to embroil myself in some serious alterations for another friend and then fix a box of cloth diapers. *sigh* When your friends know you sew, your work is never done.
Both of these are from Folkswear patterns; the blouse is their Gibson Girl blouse, done very simply with black handkerchief linen and a little Cluny lace for trim around the blouse yoke, the bottom of the cuffs and top of the collar. The skirt is their Walking skirt done in dupioni silk I found on eBay from Fabricfreak (I think). The skirt has a shell button at the waist and a few hooks and eyes in the fly to keep it shut. The blouse closes at the back with hooks and eyes.
I had very little trouble with these patterns. The most trouble I had was understanding which way to fold the fly and facings on the skirt, and once I had ironed them down and looked at them I figured out what they wanted me to do and just pressed them the opposite way to get it right. The blouse sleeves are below the elbow, and I used the bias cuff option to make sleeve construction easy. I used the short-backed version. When it's laundry day and none of my regular work things are clean I can use this blouse as a work shirt with a pair of high-waisted pants. They have to be high-waisted, otherwise a good portion of my lower back shows, especially when I bend over. I also like to wear a black t-shirt underneath, just in case the hooks pop open (despite my best efforts of bending them closed).
These are pretty much constructed as the pattern would have you do them, but I added some French fuze to the inside waistband of the skirt because dupioni is not the strongest fabric lengthwise. I also laid the skirt out top-to-tail and cheated slightly off-grain because I had a short amount of yardage (I had a little over 2 yards of 55" yardage). Still, I managed to get the full length skirt out of it for my size (medium).
I have also constructed a petticoat out of black poly-cotton broadcloth scraps leftover from another project. With the long strips I had kicking around plus my machine ruffle foot I was easily able to construct a peasant-skirt shaped petticoat with a long front slit and drawstring waist. It is three-tiered. I pleated out a good amount of ruffle and some of it didn't end up in the skirt. So, I took the little bit of leftover and tacked it to the back in a soft bustle. This isn't strictly a bustle skirt, but fashions of the time do have a bit of an S bend to them, so the extra fabric helps fill out the back of the skirt without making it hard to sit. I may put some horsehair braid at the bottom of the bustle portion to help it stand out a little more, but that's as far as I'll go.
As the sleeves on this jacket are slightly puffy, I may want to rethink my original jacket idea and put on a slightly puffed sleeve. I'm not sure, though, so I want to make a mockup. I'll let you know how that goes.