This challenge was incredibly interesting for me. Usually, I work from a pattern. If it's more difficult than a petticoat, I need to draft something. And I don't drape. Apart from not having a dress form to facilitate that, draping makes me extremely uncomfortable--it's so free form, and not at all math based. I am definitely in the drafting camp. So when I started this project, and decided that my bodice would be 16th century-based, I found a drafted starter shape online here (scroll down a bit). But after studying that, I realized that A) it wasn't that great a pattern, and B) it was basically a sloper. Oh, and if you don't know what a sloper is (which is also called a block) just Google Image search it. And I already had a sloper. Drafted over a year ago as a potential start to making my own patterns, I decided to cut it out (in fabric of course), sew it up, and see what happened. And it wasn't too bad. A Flemish bodice is fitted to the torso so that I really only needed to change the neckline, which was easy enough to do. The other problems were that my sloper wasn't meant to be worn over anything, like my rather full Hobbit chemise, so it was a bit on the small side, encouraging some creativity in adding the outer layers.
I guess you'd say I started with a pattern (the sloper), but after that, I basically draped the other layers over that. And for that I am incredibly proud.
A couple inspiration images (apart from the LOTR movies)
And here's my Hobbity interpretation.
The back is a bit (or a lot) more wrinkly than I'd like (which I didn't know until 10 minutes ago when I took the photos, raining a bit on my I'm-so-proud-of-this-thing parade). There will be another skirt and an apron over the blue one, so I plan on making those, trying it all on again, adjusting the length and possibly adding a couple more bones, if I need to. Which I think I will. Boo pickle.
The Challenge: Bodice -- a garment that covers the upper body.
Fabric: Green cotton corduroy that I pieced from a thrifted skirt. Orange linen that I cut from a thrifted tea towel. Lining of stash black cotton. And interlining of stiff brown canvas-like cotton.
Pattern: Nope. This is the first time I used my sloper, created from instructions in The Costume Technician's Handbook, to create my own pattern. It was a learning experience, as in 'add tons of ease and length, you'll need it later.' This was especially true as my fabric sloper became the bodice lining.
Year: In Middle Earth time? Let's say the Third Age. But I intended the bodice to be reminiscent of Flemish dress in the 16th century.
Notions: 5mm eyelets, metal bones, white twill tape for lacing (which I'm going to need to either tea dye or find something else as it's currently very white).
How historically accurate is it? I'm really pleased with how it looks Hobbit-accuracy-wise. Let's just stick with that.
Hours to complete: 19 hours. I had thought I was 3/4 of the way done after 9 of those. Then all the fiddly hand sewing began.
First worn: It will be worn to Elfia in April.
Total cost: The thrifted skirt and tea towel were $7. Everything else was from stash.