Essential Ornamentation (+two mini-tutorials!)

When I left you last, the pelisse was in one piece, though sans collar and many other little details. After Christmas, I finally had the time to put this to rights. (If you haven’t read the first part of this post about the Burnley and Trowbridge pelisse workshop, you can read about it here.)

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Here is the extant pelisse that I’m using for inspiration.

It took me several test runs to get the collar just right, and when I finally got the flare and height just the way I wanted them, I sewed it all in place. Since the fabric is stiff and a bit unruly, I basted the outside of the collar to the body of the pelisse before folding the other side of the collar over and prick-stitching everything in place.

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*Yes, I did hem the sleeves as well before moving on!

Once the collar was on, I got to do the really fun part–trimming! I started by making a pile of fabric flowers for ornamenting the cuffs and belt. The flowers are quite simple–here’s a quick tutorial on how to make them:

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I started with strips 3″x 10″, but you can adjust these measurements to get different sized flowers. The strip gets sewn into a ring.
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Fold the ring in half so that you have a neat fold on one edge and two raw edges on the other.
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Take hold of the raw edges, and bring the section you are holding over about an inch, arranging the pleat so that it is at a diagonal. Stitch once up and down through the bottom of the pleat.

 

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Continue taking pleats into the center, stacking them so that you have the smallest possible amount of raw edge showing in the front. Try to keep the pleats nice and even. As you go, put one stitch through the bottom of each pleat to hold it in place.
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Pull the final pleat down so that the tip of it covers up the other raw edges, carefully arranging the outer edges to your liking before you stitch it in place. On several of the flowers, I had to wrap the thread around the lower point to pull it in nice and tight. Don’t worry if you need to do this, the bit of gathering adds to the overall look of the petals.
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Stitch a button or other decoration over the center of the flower, and you’re finished. I got so lucky with these buttons from Farmhouse Fabrics–they’re nearly identical to the ones on the extant pelisse I’m copying!

Next came the belt. I made this using another fancy trick from the Burnley & Trowbridge workshop. That is, I think I did. I may have. It was something Janea showed us really quick at the end of the day, and I was very tired, and didn’t completely understand what she was showing us at the time. So what I really did was something that made sense to me, picked up on the bits of Janea’s instructions that I did remember. Whether or not it’s exactly what we learned in the workshop, it worked very well, so here it is:

Basically, it’s a way of making something look as though it has piping around the edge, while only having to sew around the perimeter of the piece once.

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I cut the base shape of the belt out of some canvas I had lying around. It doesn’t need seam allowance or anything. Then I cut a strip of the main fabric about an inch and a half longer at each end and three times as wide (I just eyeballed this, it doesn’t need to be exact).
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Pin the interfacing to the wrong side of the fabric.
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Fold the edge of fabric back so that it is right side to right side, and the fold lines up with the edge of the interfacing. I did this bit by bit as I sewed, rather than all at once.
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This is what the edge of the piece should look like.
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Begin backstitching around the perimeter, 1/16 or 1/8 away from the edge depending on how big you want your “piping” to be. You should be stitching through one layer of interfacing and two of fabric.
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Continue stitching around the edge, keeping the fabric as smooth as possible as you go around the curve. My fabric was so thick that this was nearly impossible, but the smoother the folded-over layer of fabric is when you stitch it, the smoother your finished edge will be.
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When you finish stitching the perimeter, pull the fabric edges back to the wrong side of the piece and pin in place. One side should overlap the other, that way you can crease a small part of it over to finish the underside neatly.
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This is what your edge should look like as you pull it around.
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This is what the finished back should look like. I was able to use the fabric’s selvage edge to finish it off, so there was no need to turn it under. Make sure that the final side you fold over covers up all of the raw edges.
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Here’s what the finished “piping” looks like.
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I ornamented the finished belt with two of the fabric flowers I made earlier.

When the belt was finished, I ornamented each cuff with four more of the fabric flowers and a smaller band made in the same way as the belt.

The pelisse is buttoned all the way down the front, so buttonholes were a huge ordeal that involved cocktails with my friend Amy and many, many episodes of Gilmore Girls.

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The next step was to put a row of trim all the way down one side of the front, around the hem, and up the other side (there will be two rows, but I miscalculated how much I was going to need, and have to order some more). The trim comes from one of my favorite sources for fabric and trim, Farmhouse Fabrics. They have a wonderful selection of lace; I get nearly all of mine from them.

 

As you can see from the extant pelisse at the beginning of the post, there is a double row of trim around the collar as well. In the picture, you can just see the inner rows begin to slope towards each other before they disappear around to the back, out of sight. The trim pattern I did is my best guess from looking at the angle of the original trim.

There’s a row of trim around the edges of the belt as well, just inside of the false piping.

And that’s it! I’ll have to put that second row of trim on when it gets here, but then this three-month-long project is finally finished! (I didn’t do the sleeve caps, because I think  I like it better without them–what do you think?)

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I really shouldn’t have taken these pictures first thing in the morning!

 

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I have to say, I’m incredibly proud of this project. I learned so much doing it, and I can’t thank Burnley and Trowbridge and Janea Whitacre enough for the pelisse workshop. It was an amazing experience, and I don’t think I could put a price on the knowledge and experience I got out of it. I hope I can make it to another workshop soon!

I’m planning a bonnet to go with this pelisse soon, and when it’s finished, I’ll try to do a nice, outdoor photo shoot with it. I think all that work deserves some really pretty pictures!

Thanks for watching!

Hannah

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6 thoughts on “Essential Ornamentation (+two mini-tutorials!)

  1. I LOVE IT!!! The little, pleated flower details (and all of those button holes) are exquisite! Fantastic pelisse & blogpost – thanks for sharing!
    Keep inspiring us, Anneliese 🙂

    Like

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