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Studying Theatrical Costume and other adventures in London - sewing, fabrics and events.

Month: April 2010

Homework 26: Quilted petticoat – marking out the ovals

This week I started on the overlapping ovals that will fill the top area of the quilted petticoat. The design is similar to the quilting pattern called ‘The 7 treasures of Buddha‘ where circles are used instead of ovals, but I am sure it wasn’t referred to as that in the 18h century.

Planning

I wanted to make sure that the there would be complete ovals all the way round, so I would not have any that were skinny/fat/incomplete and so the pattern would look even all around.

  1. measure the circumference of the petticoat
  2. work out roughly how big the ovals should be
  3. divide the circumference of the petticoat by the width of the ovals,  adjusting slightly to take up any excess
  4. make a template oval using card (fished out from the recycling box), putting a cross marking the centre/top/bottom/left/right points
  5. draw out on pattern paper and measure to check calculations are correct. Use the cross marking on the template to line up and position correctly to draw one oval to the next.

I am glad I drew out the pattern on paper first. The ovals I ended up with were about 2/3rds smaller the size of the ones I originally thought would be a good size. This obviously means more stitching, but  I think it will look better in the long run.

Transferring the pattern

Instead of using the transfer mesh and chacopel pencil to mark the ovals, I used the card template and a silver quilting pencil along with my pattern master to make sure everything was level.

Marking out the ovals using patternmaster, card template and silver quilters pencil

Marking out the ovals using patternmaster, card template and silver quilters pencil

I started at the centre front above the front panel pattern. In the image above, the quilt is laid out on the table upside down (with the waistline of the quilt closest to me and the hem furthest away). The pattern master is (almost) following the centre front line and I have used the horizontal guideline on the card template to make it level. In the image below you can get a closer look.

First oval drawn over CF line. Template positioned ready to draw the next oval.

First oval drawn over CF line. Template positioned ready to draw the next oval.

I ended using a long ruler to make points to mark the line where the centre of each oval should line up along the circumference of the petticoat. I wanted to make sure this horizontal line would meet up at the centre back before I marked out all the ovals. I knew I would end up following the wrong line if I had to redo the guide marks. The silver pencil is quite faint on this colour fabric, but this is good as I don’t want it to show later.

You can see 3 rows with the ovals overlapping to make the pattern

You can see 3 rows with the ovals overlapping to make the pattern

Having the cross on the template made it a lot easier to line up the template. Each time I drew an oval I would mark the top/bottom/left/right quarter points and use these to place the next, making sure I was also following the horizontal circumference guide points.

Close up showing ovals overlapping and how the cross on the card template helps to position the oval squarely shape

Close up showing ovals overlapping and how the cross on the card template helps to position the oval squarely shape

At the top of the centre back of the petticoat had not been sewn up to allow access to get in for fittings, so I pinned this up carefully, but didn’t draw the centre back ovals. I could see that it would match up, but I will quilt the rest, sew up the seam and then sort this bit out.

Centre back of the petticoat.

Centre back of the petticoat.

Right, with most of that marked out – only 70 ovals to sew!

Class 26: Quilted petticoat – bottom border continued

Not too much to report today, just plodding along with the bottom border of the quilted petticoat. I am just finishing the back where the pattern joins, so it has been a little tricky to make sure the pattern meets and still looks good.

Just to remind myself of the goal it should look something like this:

Silk quilted 18th century petticoat - Musum of fine art Boston

Silk quilted 18th century petticoat - Musum of fine art Boston

The main differences between the petticoat above are that: the one above has a silk top fabric, mine is cotton; and I have a large tree design on the front.

The centre back seam will look more similar to the above image as where the bottom border meets at the back the vines meet at a short ‘trunk’ section.  You can just make this out in the picture below (although it is not too clear as there is a slight crease).

Bottom border 'Trunk' at centre back of quilted petticoat

Bottom border 'Trunk' at centre back of quilted petticoat

Next class (after bank holiday):

  • Starting on bodice, so we need to bring domette/lawn/drill/top fabric
  • Quilted petticoat should be finished (hmm – I still have a lot to do)

Class 25: Quilted petticoat – bottom border

Over the Easter holiday I managed to get most of the border finished, but spent this class still working on it.

The border design is mirrored at the sides, but at the front and the back I didn’t want it to be symmetrical so I had to spend some time drawing out the design to make sure all the motifs would fit and be well placed.

I really don’t know how I would have transferred the design without the transfer mesh. It is a bit battered now, but really worth the money spent on it (£8 +p&p).

Traced the design on to the transfer mesh and then used a chacopel pencil to transfer on to fabric

Traced the design on to the transfer mesh and then used a chacopel pencil to transfer on to fabric (5 April 2010)

Here you can see the chacopel marks transferred on to the fabric

Here you can see the chacopel marks transferred on to the fabric

In this close up you can see the dotted chacopel marks from using the transfer mesh

In this close up you can see the dotted chacopel marks from using the transfer mesh

Once I had most of the vine border done, I started on the very bottom border lines. I realise now that these may have had cording in them rather than being quilted. This would have helped to give a nice round shape and would have reinforced against wear.

It was very important that these lines would be level and meet in the right place at the back so I had to be careful when drawing them out. The bottom edge of the fabric was no longer straight, so I could not use this as a guide. I used my patternmaster, the CF and quater lines, and the long mdf planks (I bought for basting) to work it all out and draw level lines.

Using the patternmaster and mdf planks to draw level guidelines

Using the patternmaster and mdf planks to draw level guidelines (12 April 2010)

Drawing on the 4 rows of bottom stitchingq

Drawing on the 4 rows of bottom stitching

I found as I was using the quilting frame, it was easier for me to use four needles and work all four rows in the frame area before moving on. In the image below you can see I have done the top three rows and am working on the fourth.

Using 4 needles to work the rows in the frame

Using 4 needles to work the rows in the frame

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