Friday, April 25, 2014

All for Accessories: A Ruffled Apron- Prepping the Pieces

Now that I've chosen an apron inspiration and have my fabric, I need to determine the pattern to get the pieces cut out and ready for assembly. Angela gave me a good start with some general measurements and ruffle length and then I turned to my inspiration image to extrapolate some more specific numbers.

I'm pretty short, so my petticoats end up being somewhere between 36-38 inches so that I don't trip or get my shoe buckles caught in my hem. To keep things proportionate, I figured out the "scale" of my inspiration image. Pretending the petticoat in the image is 36" long from waist to floor (like mine would be) I divvied up the sections of the petticoat, apron body, and ruffle from the waist down in the image.

My probably illegible to anyone but myself math.
As you can see, I started with the whole length, and then broke the sections down by halves. I was trying to originally use a tape measure, but then I decided to take a nod from the Tailor's handbook and use a piece of paper instead. I cut a piece of paper to the length of the petticoat (pictured underneath the pencil) and folded it in half, half again, half again, etc. to make incremental measures which could later be converted to inches (as seen in my paper measure above the pencil.) This would give me a "key" of sorts with which I could measure the apron.

Close up of ruffle
This was particularly useful when getting to the ruffle detail around the apron, because as you can see in the close up image (and as Julie from the Fat Reenactress pointed out in the original post's comments) the ruffle is not the same size all the way around the apron. It grows from smaller near the waist to largest round the bottom. It's also curved round the corner. So, I needed to figure out the ruffle's width as it progresses round the apron body. Cue handy measurement card.

Using the measurement card to get a general idea of
the ruffle widths.

It starts out at just over 1" wide near the top and progressively grows until it reaches somewhere between 3 3/4" and 4" round the bottom. I'll need to hem both sides of the ruffle with a tiny rolled hem so will need to add a touch of seam allowance. I'll also need to be sure that the varying widths are in the appropriate spots post gathering to the apron. I did some more math and sketched out the pieces, then decided to just cut!

After cutting all of my pieces, I happened to toss one of the cut ruffles on my yellow striped gown (which happened to be nearby).

Oh man. The oyster color of my apron fabric doesn't look so fabulous next to the yellow and white stripe. I am in love with everything about this fabric, though- the stripe, the hand, the weight. But if I'm going to be able to happily wear this apron with that gown I think I need it to be whiter.

Before going crazy, I took a scrap of the striped muslin and did a tester in a light bleach bath. So far so good:
You can see the original oyster colored muslin on top.
Lightly bleached version on the bottom. 

The bath was enough to brighten the fabric from the oyster to a somewhat brighter white (it's not optical white, by any means, and in person there is just a slight difference) but it's enough to make it look less washed out next to the yellow gown. I love how crisp and striking the stripes turned out, also.
I'm currently soaking the apron body in the light bath (I have extra fabric in case it goes horribly awry!) and I'll soak the ruffle pieces next. I've already sewn the ruffle together (because I was impatient) so it just needs hemming... lots of hemming... and I'll be well on my way to my first really fancy, dressy apron.

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