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Making a Orchid Inspired Dress, Part Two

This is the second post about making my Orchid Inspired Dress! Today i’m going over the process of making the lower half of this costume. The post about making the bodice can be read here.

The skirt base is a really big circle skirt cut from striped upholstery material. Unfortunately at the time I bought this material my math skills failed me and I purchased wrong amount. I only bought three yards and I really needed another eighteen inches. I had to crop the front and back of the skirt by four inches just to cut the skirt out. Yikes.

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Here you can see how that ended up looking on my dress form. Do you see the problem?

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Luckily I had a plan that would cover the hem! It would involve the three yards of organza I bought without  a real purpose in mind.

So I did a rough patching job that lengthened the front of the skirt. It was pretty ugly, but it’s okay if it’s ugly, I can cover that up later.

(that could be my personal motto)

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The back of the skirt was also too short, so I used leftover fabric to make a train. I planned on using the organza to cover the seam, so the stripes not lining up shouldn’t be noticeable in the end.

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With the skirt the right length all the way around, I could move onto hemming! I started by stitching a half inch away from the lower edge. This was done to prevent fraying more than anything else.

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It still frayed a huge amount in some spots, so I trimmed those places with pinking shears.

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Then I used a basting stitch to turn the edge over.

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And then the edge got turned over again, this time by two inches.

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I sewed that down, by hand, with a whip stitch. This hem was ridiculous, I think it was six yards long or something similar. It took all afternoon to finish!

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It was around this point that I felt the skirt looked a little boring. So I decided to paint spots up the back of it. The logic here was “My Orchid has spots, so my dress should have spots!” which seemed like a bright idea at the time. I drew these spots out with a colored pencil, then filled them in with a jacquard paint in the color “violet”.

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After putting on the first layer I had a “Oh god what have I done” moment of immediate regret. I definitely didn’t love how it looked, but by this point I was committed so I kept going.

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The paint wasn’t as opaque as I had hoped, so I did a second coat with a setacolor ink. This stuff wasn’t very opaque either, but I was running out of it so I decided two coats would have to be enough!

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With the spots done it was time to decorate the hem with organza. I debated about what technique to use, but finally decided to sew it into tubes and to tack them down kind of haphazardly. It all sounds very strange but I had a vision!

Here are the strips of organza.

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They got sewn into tubes, then the seam allowance was trimmed down, and they were turned rightside out.

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I had a few different sizes. I really wish I had bought more organza because I didn’t have nearly enough. I had hoped to use some of these on the bodice and top of the skirt but I needed them all for just the hem,

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I didn’t steam or iron any of the tubes, so they still had a lot of volume after being pinned and stitched onto the hem. I also used all the remaining mesh from my Fluffy Feathered Dress to make it look like flowers were growing up the dress. I’m pretty happy with how this turned out, though I wish I had more organza so I could have made the strips wider and the effect more pronounced.

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With the bottom of the skirt done, it was time to focus on the top half – I guess this part could be considered a peplum, but that isn’t a word I think of applying to part of a ball gown!

These are the pieces that drape down from the bodice in petal like shapes. I drafted these by hanging my few remaining pieces of organza from the waistline, then trimming them into the correct shape.

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Once laid flat they looked like this. I sewed the darts and cleaned up the edges.

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Then I finished those edges off with home made bias tape.

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Now it was time for the draping! This would be done with purple taffeta, like the bodice was. I used the same technique and cut strips of taffeta which got folded in half and stitched up the side, then turned right side out.

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After a lot of pinning I came up with something I liked!

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So I took it off the dress form and tacked the strips down so the draping pattern would stay put. Then I stitched the tops of the “petals” together so sewing it onto the bodice would be easier.

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But before sewing anything I decided to make another piece for this dress: A bow. I cut three more strips of taffeta and sewed them into tubes (see a running theme with this dress?) then folded the edges into points and whip stitched them closed.

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Then I put the bodice, skirt, peplum, and bow onto the dress form just to make sure everything looked the way I wanted.

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I was really happy with the draping and placement of everything (and the bow, I always love a good bow) but I thought the skirt was lacking in volume. Though it had tons at first, my petticoats have a habit of deflating, and after two weeks of working on this project the skirt had shrunk and looked pathetic.

But any good seamstress should have a bolt of petticoat net on hand! And I did! I cut out a few large rectangles and sewed them into strips.

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Then the lower edges got trimmed with home made bias tape so they wouldn’t catch on anything.

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The tops were gathered down and stitched together.

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And in no time at all I had a netting lining for my dress!

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Now I felt comfortable sewing everything together. But (isn’t there always a but?) I had to fix up the opening in the back first, because it had turned into a frayed mess.

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I trimmed back the worst of the frayed parts, then attached taffeta bias tape around the opening.

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I also sewed a zipper underneath the bias tape, but for some reason I didn’t take photos of that part.

Now I could finally begin assembly! The peplum was sewn onto the skirt, then the netting was sewn in. The photo below shows the netting just before being tacked to the interior of the zipper.

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With all the layers together I could finally attach bias tape to the top. This prevents fraying and any scratchiness from the netting.

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And then the bodice got attached!

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Here is how it looks finished! I wish I had photos of the back but this dress is too big for my room, the train ended up being cut off in every picture.

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Thank you for reading!

 
 

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Making a 16th Century Bodice, Part Two (Sleeves)

The tudor gown continues! We are nearing the end, I only have three posts left to write after this one! If you are unfamiliar with this project, all the previous posts relating to it can be read here.

Today it’s time to talk about making the sleeves. Sleeves were a bit complicated in the 1500s. Instead of being a regular sleeve, they consisted of (at least) three parts. The first is the “normal” sleeve which is stitched into the arm hole. Then there is the foresleeve, these are large, rounded, and cover from the wrist to the elbow. They usually feature fabric strips that are pulled through slits at the wrist and lower edge. On top of those you have oversleeves, which cover the seam between the normal sleeve and the foresleeve.

I decided to start with the normal sleeve. Sleeves are my nemesis, especially historical sleeves with the funky arm holes. I can create a block sleeve for a normal, modern looking garment without too much frustration, but historical sleeves are a concept I don’t understand at all. So I copied a pattern from the tudor tailor. I did everything else on my own, it’s okay to cheat once, right? Right?

This is the pattern. I did make it a little longer, wider, and slightly adjusted the height of the arcs.

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I made a lovely mock up from a printed cotton. It has puppies wearing christmas hats on it, which is pretty great. The sleeve fit pretty well, but it did need some alterations.

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This is the altered pattern. A little different, but nothing too crazy!

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I cut out two sleeves from the jacquard I made the dress with. I also cut out two pieces of polyester lining, which isn’t accurate at all but makes getting fitted sleeves on over a rough cotton chemise ten times easier!

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I pinned the lining and jacquard together, with the right sides facing each other. Then I sewed around the top and sides, leaving the straight lower edge open.

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I turned the sleeves right side out and tucked the lower edge up by a half inch. Then I stitched a quarter inch away from all the edges. Now I had sleeves with no chance of fraying!

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I did a test fitting with the sleeves and they looked great, so I carried on. I sewed three eyelets into the lower edge of each sleeve, these will be used to tie the foresleeves on and keep them in place.

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With a pencil I marked one and a quarter inch away from the lower edge (the “cuff”), this is where the oversleeves will attach. Then I did up the side seam and ironed them with the help of a sleeve roll.

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I sewed them onto the bodice with tiny whip stitchs.

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Then tacked the interior edge to the lining with a cross stitch.

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Here is how it looks worn!

Photo on 4-27-15 at 1.14 PM #2

Photo on 4-27-15 at 1.15 PM

At this point I decided I could properly sew the placket on. I’m not sure why I didn’t do this earlier, I guess I forgot! But I did this with upholstery thread so there is no chance of it breaking.

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Another change (though this came a little later) was adding a dart to each side of the shoulder. I found this area had a tendency to flare out, though it didn’t look awful it bothered me enough that I decided to fix it!

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Okay! Time to make the oversleeves. I bought two yards of brown velvet for this. Originally I was going to use the same material as the dress, but a lot of the fabric was damaged so I didn’t have enough. I think it was a happy accident though, the velvet looks really striking against the copper silk dupioni and the gold jacquard!

This was the pattern I drafted for it. I wanted them to be bigger, because everything on this costume is oversized, but I was restricted by the width of the velvet (42″). That is what I get for buying the nice quality stuff instead of $3/yd 60″ wide stretch velvet!

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Since my pattern wasn’t big enough I decided to add extra material to the hem of each sleeve. I did this by cutting ten inch wide strips that get folded in half to create a finished edge.

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Then the folded edge was tacked down with a running stitch.

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I sewed these onto the body of the sleeve and  covered the raw edge with bias tape.

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I sewed up the back edge and the oversleeve was pretty much done!

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Here is the bias tape interior, if you were curious. It matches the dress!

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For the sake of making things easier on myself, I decided to attach the overlseeves to the dress bodice. Making them detachable would be more convenient for a lot of people, but this costume has so many pieces and layers that having the opportunity to attach two together was something I took advantage of.

So the edge was turned over by a half inch, then sewn onto the line I marked on the sleeve cuff.

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Here the bodice is, all nice and complete!

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And laid out nicely.

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And since this might be my only opportunity, I wanted to mention how annoying this is to get into and why we should appreciate more modern inventions, like zippers, and buttons. This costume has more than a hundred eyelets on it that have to be laced up for every fitting. This layer is the most complicated to lace up, made worse by the four layers underneath it, which also have to be laced into place.

The layers severely limit your range of movement and the beadwork provides lots of things for the lacing to catch onto. It’s a pain in the ass.

But it’s a pretty pain in the ass, so that makes it worth it.

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I think that is all today! Next post in this series will be about the foresleeves and cuffs!

 

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Making a Orchid Inspired Dress, Part One

I’m back with yet another fashion project, which has kept me from going insane while finishing up the final details on my tudor costume! As the title suggests, this is a dress inspired by my orchids. I got the materials for this project (and talked a bit about it) in my birthday haul.

 In that post I mentioned that i’m really easily inspired, especially by things around me. I’ve had a pretty little orchid sitting next to my desk since January, so it was only a matter of time until I made a dress inspired by it. I’m honestly pretty impressed with myself that I  managed to hold off for three months.

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The original dress design can be seen below. I wanted it to be simple and elegant while still being visually interesting.That is a description I would use when talking about orchids, so I think it makes sense that my orchid-inspired-dress can be described with the same words.

. I had hoped to find materials in dark ivory, light purple, and a dull fuchsia, which when used together would create a gradient effect.

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But then I got another orchid. And I found the color patterns of this one a lot more interesting. I think the deeper purple spots and contrast against the lighter ivory better fits my “Simple, elegant, and interesting” description. So the sketch got revised a bit, and my fabric choices became much different than I had originally planned!

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I ended up with three yards of 120″ wide striped fabric, three yards of silk organza, and three yards of silk taffeta. I thought I bought four yards of the silks, but I remeasured and realized I was wrong about that! Honestly I should have bought four yards of all these fabrics, I  almost ran out part way through the project.

But I standby the actual fabrics I picked, even though I got the wrong amounts. I love the color, sheen, and weight of the taffeta, it was lovely to work with. The striped material gives just enough texture to what would otherwise be a boring circle skirt, and the organza gave it a lightness that the project needed.

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And here is Dotty (yes, I name my orchids) with the inspiration fabric.

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Okay! Now for actual progress photos! I wanted the bodice to be asymmetrical, and by that I mean as asymmetrical as I could get with everything still being covered. The majority of the bodice would be made from off white material, with a purple taffeta “collar” across the neckline and shoulders.

 I managed to accomplish the shape I wanted pretty easily, and my mock up fit on the first try!

Photo on 4-23-15 at 11.07 AM

I made a few slight alterations to my pattern, the most major of which involved lowering the waistline. Then I marked out the boning placements and where the lacing loops would be.

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After making the skirt (which I will blog about next week) the fabric I had planned on using was almost entirely gone. I had enough to use for the bodice, but none of the stripes would have pointed in the right direction, much less matched up. So instead I decided to make the bodice from organza, with the option to add lining later on.

This is the bodice cut out.

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And with the boning channels marked out!

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I cut my boning channel casings from the leftover striped material. I cut these  out across the fabrics grain so you can see all the stripes. It isn’t very noticeable when the bodice is worn, but I think it’s a fun touch!

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Those got sewn in place. Unfortunately this part didn’t go smoothly. The two bobbins I had made in advance had something (I have no clue what) wrong with them which caused a tension problem and left me with very messy loose stitches on the underside. Ripping out stitches on organza is hell so I just went over the channels again after fixing the bobbin.

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Then I added boning! These bones don’t go to the top of the bodice, so  I had to hand stitch stoppers to keep them in place.

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Then I added another layer of organza overtop. This diffuses the look of the boning channels and makes the bodice slightly more opaque.

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I cut two inch wide strips of purple taffeta on the bias and folded them into double fold bias tape. Then I pinned them around the bodices edges.

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I sewed it down by hand and for once i’m pretty happy with how it looks! My hand sewn bias tape hasn’t been cleanest in the past, so this is a big improvement for me.

Not sure if it balances out the sloppy boning channels, but it certainly helps!

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I also cut out one inch wide strips of fabric on the bias. These got ironed and sewn into quarter inch wide strips that are three inches long. I made about twenty of them, all to be used for loops up the back of the dress. I think loops look a lot more elegant and since elegant is the buzzword for this project, I decided it was worth the extra time to make them!

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They got folded into loops, then pinned onto leftover bias tape.

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I sewed over them several times until I was confident the loops were secure.

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Then the loops got sewn onto the bodice. This part doesn’t look as pretty. I was trying to avoid hitting the boning channels while being unable to see where the bone ended since the loops covered them.

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Now it was time to add the collar. I cut more strips of taffeta and sewed them into tubes, so the raw edges were hidden inside the tubes. It’s a little wasteful fabric wise, but saves the time it takes to hem the strips and completely avoids having to combat puckered silk hems.

I can’t really describe how I draped this. I pleated the end of the strip and placed it at the waist, then I just tugged, folded, and pinned until I was happy with how it laid. I cleaned it up a little bit after taking this picture, since the neckline wasn’t as smooth as I wanted it to be.

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Then I tried it on! I liked how it looked a lot, but it needed a couple of alterations. The biggest one was taking in the collar (that feels like the wrong name for this, though i’m not sure what else it would be called) at the shoulder, and taking the entire bodice in by more than an inch.

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I re-draped the collar so it was a little smaller in the shoulder, then tacked everything down so the pins could be removed.

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Before doing that I took it in by a inch. I did this in the under arm area, right next to the boning channels. Then the extra fabric was stitched underneath the boning channels. It’s obvious from the interior, but from the outside it is hard to tell!

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Back to the collar. Here are all the tacking stitches. Not the prettiest thing ever, but much nicer to look at than tons of pins or puckers, which are the two alternatives. The edges of the taffeta were tucked underneath the loop closures and whip stitched down.

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With the collar done, all I needed to do was finish the lower edge with bias tape! So I did that. This time I used cotton bias tape that I had leftover from making the skirt.

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And it was done! Could probably use a steaming, but that’s all that I have left to do on it.

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Thank you for reading!

 
 

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Making a 16th Century Bodice, Part One

This is a going to be a long post. This was actually supposed to go up last Monday but it took me so long to write that I didn’t finish it until today!

This project has been on a temporary hiatus. I’m not sure if I mentioned that here, but I posted about it on tumblr. There were a few reasons why, but one of them was because of how frustrated I was over this bodice. I ended up throwing out my first bodice attempt and making a new one, so this post covers making both bodices and details what I did wrong.

If you aren’t familiar with this project, all the “The Making Of” posts about it can be found here!

The first step was drafting the bodice. I used the book “The Tudor Tailor” as a guide on how this bodice should go together. I didn’t actually follow this pattern, I drafted my own based off my kirtle pattern. This book is a great reference to have but the patterns are lacking the exaggeration I wanted my ensemble to have and they don’t fit me without major alterations.

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My first pattern attempt looked like this! It’s a little confusing looking but makes more sense when constructed.

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I used that pattern as a guide for cutting out and assembling a mock up. There were a few adjustments I had to make, like taking in the placket, but it fit surprisingly well!

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My pattern was altered and additional things were labeled, like where the lining would go to, where the eyelets would be, and where the skirt would start.

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Then it came time to cut the bodice out. This is when I noticed a few issues with the fabric. The first three yards or so of the fabric I had purchased were damaged due to the way it was stored before I bought it. I thought these were crinkles that would iron out, but I was wrong. After pressing and steaming the fabric there were lots of little marks left behind that look like pencil marks.

They come out with soap and a scrub brush, but that damaged the fabric around the crease and changed the sheen of the fabric. I was left with shiny, lighter, patches all over the fabric where the creases used to be. I ended up throwing away almost two yards of fabric, and used the remaining yard on the train of the skirt where it will (hopefully) be less noticeable.

After this setback I didn’t have enough fabric to finish this costume, which is one of the reasons I haven’t blogged about it for months!

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Oh and in the same day I realized the damask pattern looks like a mans face. It totally mocked me as I made mistakes (of which there were many). Sigh.

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Anyway! Here are the back pieces all cut out.

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And the front pieces.

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All the edges were hemmed by hand with tiny stitches.

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Then the shoulder and back seams were done up. I also added hook/eye closures onto the side of the bodice.

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Then it was time to switch focus and make the forebodies. These lace shut at the center front, underneath the placket (or false front). They help keep the bodice in place while the placket is hooked in and the skirt can be partially sewn to these. It’s kind of difficult to explain since we have nothing similar in modern fashion, but in worn photos it should make sense!

I made them from leftover silk dupioni. At the front there are two plastic bones placed a half inch apart to help support the eyelets, which will be stitched in between them.

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And here they are with the eyelets sewn in!

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Before sewing up the side seams I decided to cut out the lining. I happened to have enough silk leftover to line the bodice with, so that was nice!

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First I lined the shoulder portion of the bodice.

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Then the forebodies were sewn on and the side seams were done up. The forebodies cover the unfinished edge of the lining, and the lining for the back of the bodice will be added later to hide the raw edges from the side seams.

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If that last sentence made no sense, maybe these photos will help! Here is the bodice when worn over my shoulders, with the forebodies open.

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And here it is shut and laced into place. There are a few problems here, like it resting to high and interfering with the beading on the kirtle. At the time I thought I could pin it lower so I carried on.

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I went back to working on the placket. I ignored the “Tudor Tailors” suggestion and didn’t add boning to the center front because I didn’t want visible stitching. Instead I added a two inch wide piece of buckram to the center and fused interfacing over the entire thing.

Now, this is kind of obvious looking back, but this made the placket very stiff. It had no give whatsoever. Keep that in mind because it became a problem later on…

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I attached hooks to a piece of twill tape and made sure they lined up with the bars I attached to the bodice earlier on.

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Then I stitched lining into the placket, and attached the twill tape to the correct side. Now the placket could hook onto the bodice!

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This is how the exterior of the placket looked.

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With that done and my previous fitting having gone well, I decided to sew lining into the rest of the bodice. Look how pretty it looked! This was my first time using silk as lining and now it’s all I want to use for lining. It’s so lightweight and turned out perfectly.

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But not everything was perfect. I pinned the placket on and got into my set of underthings . Then I tried the bodice on and it was a disaster. If you’ve used hooks before then you know you have to pull the fabric every so slightly beyond the bars to get the hooks in place. That means whatever you are trying to hook into place needs to have some give. My placket did not.

So I moved the placket over almost an entire inch so I could easily hook it in place. Of course once it was moved over, it was way too big and puffed out from my body in an unflattering way.

On top of that  the neckline was too high. It had to be moved down so it didn’t interfere with the beading on the kirtle but then the bodice was too low waisted. I tried hiking the edges up but then the basque shape at the waist was jagged and unflattering. The forebodies had to be pushed down so they didn’t hit the beading on the kirtle, but then they stuck out from the bottom of the placket. It as a mess!

I should also mention that this wasn’t the first fitting. During the time of working on this I tried it on between every step and felt confident as I went. I jokingly said on tumblr that I spent more time fitting this than I did sewing it. Getting in and out of this took almost an hour and a half, but I did it every single day to make sure the finished product would fit properly. Which is why this was SO frustrating.

The bodice looks a dozen times better in this photo than it did in real life. It looked terrible in person

I tried really hard to fix it. I cut down the forebodies. I changed the shape of the placket. I spent a solid ten hours altering it but the problem with the hook/eye closure remained and I saw no way to fix it without restarting.

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So I did. And I lost another yard of fabric. But I did get a functional bodice out of it in the end!

This is pattern number…three? Two and a half? The major change is the shape of the forebodies. But I also changed the method of closing the placket. With this new design it will close through a complicated pattern of eyelets which can gradually be pulled tighter to keep the placket taught.

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This is the second bodice all cut out.

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All the edges got turned over by hand (again) then the back and shoulder seams were done up. I decided to seal off the edges with strips of fusible interfacing because this fabric is very prone to fraying.

I basted strips of cotton into the the front panels, these are the backings for the boning channels.

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The boning channels were marked out and stitched by machine. When it came to adding boning, I used half inch wide flat steel boning which I salvaged from my first corset ever. It’s super strong and doesn’t bend at all so it was perfect. There are three bones on one side (one between and beside each set of eyelets) and one bone on the other side, which is just to keep the fabric laying flat.

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The forebodies were made of cotton this time and mostly machine sewn. Once again I added boning to each side of the eyelets, but this time I used more of the flat steel bones instead of plastic boning (which was used on the first set).

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My placket is much thinner this time so it won’t interfere with the beading on the kirtle. I finished the edges by hand, then used cotton strips to back boning channels on one side (the side that would have eyelets sewn to it).

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Then I cut two pieces of flannel, and sewed boning channels into that. I added the boning to it, then sewed the flannel to the back of the placket. My goal with this was to give the placket more stiffness and thickness, without preventing it from stretching (like the buckram and interfacing did).

If my bodice was made from thicker fabric (which it should have been) I could have pad stitched it to another fabric to add that stiffness. But my fabric is too thin, and even the best, tiniest, pad stitches would be visible from the front side :(

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I sewed cotton lining into the back of the placket. Then I marked out where the eyelets should go and sewed them in place.

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I also sewed eyelets into the bodice! When they were done I attached the forebodies and lining (cotton this time). I did things a little differently this time and folded the bottom edge under last to make sure it wasn’t too long at the waist. Then I finished that edge with twill tape, instead of tucking it under the lining.

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I pinned the placket on and tried it on. I had success! There are a few ripples on the placket, which I dislike, but think I need to learn to live with. If my fabric was thicker and pad stitched to a base I might have avoided it, but with this particular fabric I think this is the best I could have done. Plus ripples aren’t entirely historically inaccurate, they can even be seen in some paintings!

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This is the complicated closure method! Not exactly subtle but you don’t really see it when your arms are down. Unfortunately it’s a pain in the butt to do up yourself, and adds twenty minutes to the already long process of getting into this costume.

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Before sewing the placket on I added beading to the waistline. I chose a relatively simple, pearl heavy design that didn’t use up too many of my precious montees. I’m very happy with how it turned out!

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And here is a webcam shot of how it looks worn!

Photo on 3-8-15 at 11.47 AM

So that was a doozy of a post. And a doozy of a project! And it still isn’t done! Though we are getting to the end. All that’s left are the sleeves…and foresleeves…and the skirt and the hood! Exciting stuff.

Thank you for reading!

 

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Making a Cinderella Inspired Dress, Part Two

DSC_4281RESIZEThis is part two about making my Cinderella inspired dress! It feels a bit weird to be blogging about this now, because I actually finished this several weeks ago. I need to up my blogging game, I’m so behind!

Anyway! This is part two and will focus on making the skirt. Part one can be read here, and it shows the process of making the bodice.

I’m actually using a piece of an old costume as the skirt for this one. Last year I made a medieval inspired suit based off of one worn in the show “Game of Thrones” I love the design of this piece but while making it pretty much everything that could go wrong went wrong.

The end result was too small at the shoulder, way too narrow in the sleeves, and landed a couple inches above my waistline. It looks okay on a dress form but is completely unwearable. You can see a picture of that here.

I decided to disassemble it and use the skirt as a base for this dress. Luckily the sleeves had enough fabric in them to make the bodice and matching headband!

Though I never posted the “Making of” post about this project, I do have a few progress photos of how I did it. These photos are less than a year old which seems so crazy, my progress photo quality has increased so much. Vacuuming regularly and seeking out natural lighting has done wonders for them.

The skirt is a basic circle skirt. I cut this pattern out on the fold, twice, so I had a full circle skirt.

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The skirt was hemmed with two inch wide horsehair braid, which was turned over and hand stitched into place. The seams were sewn normally, but bound with blue quilters cotton.

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And that was pretty much it! There was a six inch slash down the back to allow me to take it on and off…and I don’t have anything else to say about it!

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It was sewn onto the bodice of that costume, so I had to use a seam ripper to detach it for this project. Then I draped it over my petticoat (which I talk about making here) and the results weren’t so great. It was too long in the front and too short in the back, which was bad.

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To fix it I opened up the back seam and lowered the back half by a couple inches. I added a panel to the waist so it would sit this way permanently. I lifted the front by an inch and a half, then sewed a gored panel into the center back.

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It wasn’t too pretty at the top but the hem rested evenly!

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That meant I could move onto making the overlay. I bought a glitter organza with this in mind. Unfortunately it wasn’t the right fabric for an overlay, despite the sheerness. The organza had so much volume, it wanted to stick straight out like a tutu instead of draping over the skirt. I tried steaming it but that didn’t help at all.

I decided to stitch the organza to the underside of the circle skirt hem. It wasn’t the look I wanted, but it’s better than a tutu!

The overlay pattern is really basic, it’s made up of several rectangles.

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Those got french seamed together because this fabric frays horribly. It also sheds a lot, I tried hairspraying it at several stages and it didn’t help at all. You can’t touch it without being covered in glitter and when I walk around in the finished dress there is a little “Fairy Trail” of glitter that gets left behind.

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I pinned the lower edge of organza to the underside of the circle skirts hem.

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I used something resembling a whip stitch to hold it down. In this photo you can see how fancily I finished the circle skirts hem! I remember this taking me ages at the time, because it was one of my first cross stitch hem attempts. I think I watched like two seasons of American Pickers during the process haha.

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The top of the organza got gathered down to twenty seven ish inches. Then it was sewn onto the waistline of the circle skirt.

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I cut a slit down the back of the skirt to allow me to get in and out of it. Then I basted the layer of organza around it.

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I stitched bias tape around the edges, and turned it under.

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I had cut my overlay a little long, to correct this I gathered it over an inch away from the edge. Once it was attached to the skirt I decided to trim it down.

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And I had a functional, really pretty skirt!

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Even though this glitter pattern is a pain in the ass it’s so pretty.

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Now it was time to make the panniers! I used the same method for making these as I used with my Halloween Inspired dress which means they are made from rectangles.

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One of the longer edges gets hemmed, then the other three edges are gathered down. Mine were gathered down to twelve inches, and the end result looks like this!

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I sewed these onto a piece of ribbon, to keep them separated by the correct amount.

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The ribbon got pinned onto the skirt, then sewn. I tacked the panniers down in a few spots to make them lay nicely, and that was it! The skirt is complete! I love how it looks.

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But I wasn’t done yet. The skirt got sewn onto the bodice, then a zipper was added up the back. Both of these things went well, it was the whole trying it on part that went badly. By that I mean, I couldn’t really get it on. I decided to take out the zipper and do a lace up back. No problem!

Okay there was a little problem. I measured wrong. My eyelets were marked incorrectly and this fabric did not take eyelets well. I couldn’t heat my iron to a high enough temperature to attach interfacing (thicker fabric = easier to make smooth eyelets) without burning through the organza. So I was either going to have uneven, ugly, eyelets, or a bodice that didn’t fit.

Then my dad jokingly said “You should cover it with lace” which was brilliant. 

I let the dress out by and inch with folded strips of fabric.

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Then zipper got sewn in again. I tried on the bodice and it fit! So I covered up the failed attempts at eyelets with silver lace.

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It looks a little odd. Not ideal at all, but it totally worked.

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I stitched the lining in, which covered the raw edges of the skirt waist and the raw edges from letting the bodice out.

And with that my dress was done!

Back:

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Front:

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And here is how it looks worn! The headband is a plastic one I got from walmart. I covered it with two layers of quilt batting, then stitched the satin backed metallic fabric over it. The underside was pretty ugly so I lined it with more of that fabric.

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I have some final thoughts about this project which I would like to share. This may sound a bit negative, but I think it’s important to mention.

I wish I had stuck to my original plan. In the first blog post about this project I shared a sketch of what I had planned for this dress. I wanted to make a dress using the colors of the animated gown, and was going to style it to look like Cinderella (the headband and silver shoes). It would have a very full skirt and “Princessy” qualities, but the similarities would end there.

Somewhere along the way I changed my mind and ended up with something that is more than a Cinderella inspired dress, it’s really just a shorter version of the dress in the film but with more sparkle.  I LIKE the dress and I love the fabrics, but I wish I had committed to my original design – which was a lot more original and way more flattering.

Anyway! That’s all I wanted to say about that. There is a video about making this skirt too, which can be watched here if you are interested!

Thanks for reading!

 
21 Comments

Posted by on May 8, 2015 in The Making Of

 

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A Fabric & Trim Haul

It’s that time of year where I post another ridiculously huge birthday haul!  Like last year I bought a few random things but decided to spend the vast majority on fabrics and costume supplies. My birthday was a couple weeks ago, and the day before it my dad and I went shopping in the NYC garment district where all of these lovely things came from!

I know not everyone likes hauls, but I got a positive response when I did this last year so I decided to bring it back! If you don’t care for this type of post, i’ll have a “The Making of” post up on Monday which might be more to your taste. If you do like hauls, i’ve done two before, which can be read here and here.

Lets start with one of the less exciting cuts of fabric, and we can build up to the really good stuff. This is 120″ wide home decor weight damask. One of my favorite stores in the garment district (Zahra Fabric) has started stocking this whole collection and sells them for ten dollars a yard, which is pretty damn good considering the weight and width of this fabric. This is actually the exact same fabric I used for my Dewdrop Dresses, just in a different color!

I plan on using this for a medieval style dress and headpiece, similar to what is shown here and here.

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Funnily enough, I spent several minutes between debating between this fabric and another in a red color scheme. I finally decided on the orange/gold material because I have so many red dresses in my portfolio already and none in this shade. It wasn’t until I got home that I realized it’s very similar to the fabric i’m using for my tudor project.

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From the same store I got two yards of brown velvet. These are for the sleeves of my tudor project. A lot of the fabric I originally purchased (about three yards) was damaged and had to be discarded. I didn’t have enough fabric leftover to make the sleeves and was unable to buy more of the original fabric.

Velvet was commonly used for sleeves and I think the warm brown color goes well with the orange/gold I used for everything else!

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Speaking of velvet, I bought a lot of it! The red velvet is for another 16th century project, based off of this painting. Unfortunately my streak of buying damaged fabric continues with this red velvet. The first few yards were damaged from the machine that bolted it, so I got those for free. But I didn’t realize the damage continues down the entire length of fabric. So that is annoying and will be troublesome to work around.

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The black velvet is for a design which might end up being part of my Monarch [butterfly] Collection. I haven’t mentioned that series much on this blog because I haven’t actually finished any of the projects relating to it. I have about five WIPs in this series and instead of focusing on those i’m buying fabric for  a new one. Oops. This is the rough design for the dress I’d like to use it for.

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The next few pieces of fabric were bought for an Orchid inspired dress. I have four orchids now, they sit next to my desk and I love seeing them everyday. I get really inspired by things around me, so it was only a matter of time until I took inspiration from them!

This is the original sketch but I’ve made some design changes since sketching this. The actual dress will have a similar shape and bodice design, but it will look much different.

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I bought more of the 120″ wide home decor fabric for this project. This time I went for a simpler pattern which is made up of alternating off white stripes. I also got four yards of off white silk organza to use for the bodice and trims. I don’t usually shell out the extra money for silks but I got a good deal on this one (four yards for thirty dollars) and really like that it is matte.

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For the purple parts of the dress I bought four yards of silk taffeta. I found a few gorgeous two toned taffetas, which were very tempting, but I ended up going with this one because it has a beautiful weight and texture to it. I was playing around with it in the store and I knew I could drape and sculpt it into the exact shapes I wanted.

Both of the silk fabrics I bought were from Amin Fabrics. I didn’t even know they sold silks until this trip, but i’m not surprised, that store has everything which is why it’s one of my favorites!

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Another one of my favorites is Hamed Fabrics, but I only got six yards of fabric from them. Two of those yards can be seen on the left. It’s a woven fabric made up of many neutral colors with metallic ribbons weaving through it. Not the type of fabric I would usually reach for, but I thought it was really interesting! I’d like to work this into a menswear inspired ensemble if I can, and maybe pair it with some black wool i’ve had for a while.

The fabric on the right is from Cut Fabrics Inc. It’s a beige chiffon (with stiffness to it which makes it almost resemble organza) with silver stripes. They had this in lots of colors and I regret not getting more. I think this would make really nice puffs for underneath paned sleeves.

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Also from Hamed Fabrics I got a green chiffon with silver woven through it. Again I probably should have gotten more of this, I think I got three or four yards, which isn’t enough to make a full dress. This is what happens when you don’t have a list!

I got this to make some type of fairy inspired dress. I purchased an interesting string of beads at Beads World in the same color, which I plan to turn into a crown. I’d like to use this fabric to make a dress that matches it, but I have no clue what it will end up looking like.

I also got a few yards of a lightweight striped cotton. I’ll probably use this to make a smock or chemise to wear under something. Not the most exciting purchase but basics are important too!

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The next few fabrics are from a store I usually avoid. It’s called “Day to Day” and tends to have higher prices than I’d like to pay. This week they had a big “everything must go” moving sale (but they may have been using that as a ploy to get people in – one store has had a sign like that up for three years) so I went in.

I think of this store stocking exclusively home decor fabrics but they had tons of lace too.

The “home decor” fabric I got is a pale blue taffeta with an embroidered floral design. I’ve seen versions of this fabric in Joanns with red/gold color combinations and never been fond of it. But I love this color and I think it will eventually be turned into a gorgeous 18th century ensemble!

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In the same store I got some white embroidered mesh. On my last trip into NYC I got taffeta and glass stones to use for a 17th century gown. That dress will let bits of the chemise showing at the sleeves and neckline, so I bought this with that in mind! Not historically accurate, but it’s so pretty and will look much nicer than linen.

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The last thing I got from that store is a gorgeous piece of pink lace. I wish I had gotten this in another color too, but I didn’t have any reason to. This lace was marked at $145 a yard. After twenty minutes of haggling I managed to get it for forty dollars! Which is still a a lot for a single yard of fabric, but the detail of this fabric is incredible and I think it was worth every penny. I don’t have a project in mind for this but i’m sure i’ll figure something out!

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The final two pieces of fabric are for another original design. This one is a little weird. It was actually inspired by a vulture.  They are called Bearded Vultures and their diet consists almost entirely of bones. They are mostly cream colored and grey but can develop richly colored plumage from rubbing dust and mud on themselves. And when they do, it’s gorgeous. The coloration they have in that state, and the amount of texture their feathers have were the inspiration for this piece.

I don’t have a good idea of what this costume will look like just yet. I’ve done a few sketches but I don’t feel ready to share them. I think it’ll be a fitted gown but i’m still debating. However this idea was cemented in my mind so much that I bought a few fabrics for it!

The first is this peach colored laser cut chiffon. It’s so fluffy.

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The other is a piece of tablecloth lace. It’s woven from red and black threads so it has a very interesting color and sheen to it. The color is what made me want it, but I really like the lace pattern too. And as a bonus, it was super cheap! Like, five dollars a yard cheap which is a steal when it comes to lace.

(even if it’s made for tablecloths)

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And that’s it for fabric! I’m happy with what I got but the in store selections weren’t that great this time. Usually I have problems restraining myself in certain stores because I like everything and could easily drop two hundred dollars in them. That didn’t happen at all this time. Which makes me think the selections are better in the winter, because around Christmas I saw sooo many fabrics that I fell in love with.

Anyway! Onward to trims and beads!

I went back to Beads World. This time I got seed beads for my 18th century dress. It has lace on the hem which I plan on beading by hand, so that is what the pink and off white ones are for. The gold ones are because I wanted more gold beads, even though I didn’t really need them.

I also got a dozen clear glass montees for my tudor project (I ran out). And two dozen black montees for another tudor project. This time i’m going to be more historically accurate, which means using stones that imitate things they were actually capable of using at that time..

Oh and I got a small bag of green sequins for the previously mentioned fairy inspired dress. Because it will probably end up being sparkly. Most of my projects do.

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I had a few impulse purchases in beads world, too. I got two bags of green montees which are imitation opal. I believe these are trying to imitate “Ethiopian Welo Opal”, but i’m more familiar with them being called “Fire opal” or “White Dragon’s breath”  because I spend to much time on etsy and those are the names indie jewelry companies use!

Either way, they are gorgeous in a way my camera couldn’t capture. They have a milky green base with lots of flecks in them that shine white, pink, blue, and gold. I’m not sure what they will be used for, but i’m excited to use them!

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The last Beads World purchase is the weird strand of beads which i’m going to make into a crown. To me, these look like something you would see in the ocean. But i’m pretty sure they are plastic and dipped in metallic paint.

For my purposes, that doesn’t really matter. They are going to make the most gorgeous fairy princess crown.

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I ended up going into yet another bead store. I couldn’t find the name of it online, but they were selling montees for half the price Beads World does! I wasn’t expecting to find these there, otherwise I probably would have gotten more. I’d never seen them in this store before, so i’m not sure if they will be there permanently. I got a bag of large red ones, teardrop shaped brown ones, and two packs of small blue ones.

I also got two bags of orange sequins for the black velvet butterfly inspired dress!

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At a random trim store ( I couldn’t find the name online) I bought a yard of alencon lace. This is for a wedding dress idea i’ve had for ages. I have enough lace for the bodice, but not enough to trim the sleeves with. This lace is similar in design and should work for that purpose!

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In the same store I got two yards of an embroidered lace trim. I’m not sure what this will be used for, but it would look nice on the bodice of a dress. I could also see it running down a set of sleeves!

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I bought some leather “bias tape” – it’s actually small strips of thin pleather with the edges turned over, similar to singe fold bias tape, but I don’t think it would go around curves very well! I got this with my vulture dress in mind, for trimming the edges of  bodice panels.

At Pacific Trims I got four yards of ribbon elastic. I’ll use this for gathering sections in sleeves, which will create delicate little “puffs” I have a Renaissance project coming up that I need this for.

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Also at pacific trim, I got some fake fur trim. I think this was six or seven dollars a yard, which is kind of ridiculous when you can buy a full yard of sixty inch wide fake fur for $12 at Joanns. But fake fur is miserable to work with, and I don’t want to put myself through that.

I’d rather make fifty yards of bias tape from chiffon. Yeah. That’s how much I hate working with fake fur.

Plus this is really nice! It doesn’t have the typical fake fur sheen, and it isn’t super thick. It is already attached to strips of cotton and the perfect width for trimming sleeves! This will be used for the medieval style dress I linked photos of earlier, and i’ll pair it with the orange and gold damask.

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The final two trims I got are from M&J trims. I usually don’t go into that store since it’s a bit overpriced and the employees are very…attentive? But not in a very positive way. In a way that makes me feel guilty for browsing. But they have a fantastic selection and I knew they would have what I wanted, so I went in.

I got exactly what I needed and was out in five minutes – yay! All I needed were feathers, which they have a pretty great selection of. I got a yard of peach colored goose feathers.

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And two yards of smaller, softer, black and red ones. If you hadn’t guessed, both of these are for my vulture inspired dress.

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And that’s everything! Holy hell this was a long post. I didn’t mean for it to be this wordy. I’m passionate when it comes to talking about fabrics and trims, I guess.

Speaking of that. I made a video of this haul too. I’m quite nervous in it and don’t seem as excited about what I got as I actually am. It was my first time filming myself talking and i’m hoping i’ll get better with more practice.

If you are interested, it can be watched here!

Thank you for reading!

 
 

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Making Half-Boned Stays, 1776

So I guess this counts as another Stay Study post! But I’ve decided to drop that title since I failed miserably at keeping up with that series. It was supposed to be a study of stay patterns from the book “Corsets and Crinolines” by Norah Waugh, with the final project being a fully boned set of 18th century stays. But that didn’t happen and I haven’t even mentioned the series for a whole year. Oops!

But this post is about making a set of stays from the book “Corsets and Crinolines”!

I’m making these stays for an 18th century ensemble that I’ve had in the works for the last few weeks. I already posted about making a shift for this project, and this is the next layer! I decided to base my pattern off of the one shown below.

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I copied that pattern onto paper and made a few alterations. I added a half inch to the back, and a quarter inch to the front. I also took it in a little at the bust and removed the horizontal bones. I realize those add extra support to the bust but I didn’t think they were necessary for my body shape. After making a mock up I chose to lower the neckline as well.

The alterations were really minor, other than being slightly to small this pattern is pretty much perfect for me.

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I traced the pattern onto twill canvas (a cheaper alternative to coutil) and added half inch seam allowance around the outline. I used the twill pieces as a guide to cut out the front layer of fabric, which in this case was lightweight muslin. I added seam allowances to the muslin too, so the muslin layer ended up being a bit larger than the twill layer.

Then I marked all the boning channels with a colored pencil and pinned the layers together.

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And it was time to stitch all the boning channels! I used a beige colored thread because I was running out of ivory.

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When the boning channels were sewn I went ahead and added the boning. I used a mixture of flat steel bones and plastic boning, with the steel bones placed at the center front, center back, and sides. Only one of the diagonal boning channels has steel in it.

I tipped the metal bones the way I usually do, with athletic tape dipped in nailpolish!

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Then the seams were “bound” which means the seam allowance was turned inward and sewn down with a whip stitch. This is why I cut the muslin layer to have larger seams. The muslin can wrap over the twill seam allowance to create a finished edge with less bulk…which sounds very confusing but makes sense during the process!

The finished edges were stitched together with heavy duty upholstery thread.

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Here you can see what the bound seams look like on the inside. At this point I trimmed all the edges and covered them with bias tape binding.  I managed to get really smooth curve on the top edge, but I wasn’t so lucky on the lower edge.

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The lower edge has tabs. Tabs are horrible things which I hadn’t encountered before. I knew they wouldn’t be fun to finish, but they ended up being way worse than I had expected.

I waited until all the other edges were finished before cutting them out to prevent any fraying.

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I pinned and sewed bias tape to the front edge, then turned it under and sewed it to the underside. I gathered all the sharp curves because I figured I could get smooth edges that way. I was wrong!

My biggest problem was not looking at how other people do binding. I realize now that most people use really small binding (a quarter of an inch wide) and mine was twice that width. When the binding is very thin you don’t have to gather it over curves, so looks much smoother.

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But I persevered! They don’t look very pretty, but they are functional! At least I’ll know how to do a better job next time.

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In the photos above you can see the eyelet holes are marked, which should be a clear hint about the next step! The back edges were turned over and sewn down. Then the eyelets were punched out with grommet pliers, made larger with an awl, and stitched.

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And it was time for the final step: lining! The lining was cut using the same pattern. All the edges got turned over and pinned down at once. Usually I try to attach my lining in sections to avoid having a million pins in a garment at once, but this time it was unavoidable.

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But I managed to stitch it down without pricking myself to much. Okay, that is a lie. I pricked myself a lot. But I didn’t get any blood on the stays!

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So that’s it! They are done! I’m pretty happy with these because they actually fit. My last two attempts at making stays ended up in the trash – one was uneven and too long in the waist, the other was too big and never got finished. So this being functional is a huge improvement haha.

And even though they aren’t the prettiest thing in the world, all the things I don’t like about them can be resolved if I make another set. So I feel like I learned a lot!

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Here they are worn – I took these kind of quickly and didn’t end up with a front on shot, which is dumb. But there will be more photos taken of these at some point, i’m sure.

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There are about four inches open in the back when laced to the point where they are supportive. Which is perfect! It also means I could lace it a little tighter if I was aiming for any waist reduction, or if the stays stretch over time. In this picture they are laced the modern way instead of the historically correct spiral lacing. I find it a lot harder to get an even gap with spiral lacing which is why I did it this way.

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I think that’s everything! Thanks for reading!

 

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Making a Cinderella Inspired Dress, Part One

It has taken me a while, but here is the first post about making my Cinderella inspired dress!

I was originally going to make a dress inspired by the live action ball gown (and I still intend to) but got distracted during fabric shopping by this lovely light blue and silver glitter organza. This fabric really doesn’t suit the dress from the live action film, which is why I decided to also make a version inspired by the dress in the animated film. Which is what this blog post is about!

I purchased the glitter organza from Joanns and have paired it with a satin backed metallic grey fabric, which I bought ages ago at a shop in the NYC garment district. I’m also using a metallic fashion mesh (also from Joanns) and grey polyester organza (from onlinefabricstore.net).

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I had planned on reusing the pattern I made for my Halloween Inspired dress to make this one. After taking another look at pictures of Cinderella I decided against it, but I didn’t change my sketch to reflect that. The sketch below was my original plan, which just so happens to look nothing like the finished dress.

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Once I figured out what the dress was actually going to look like, I draped the pattern. I did a horribly sloppy job of this, but I have an excuse! I was paranoid about accidentally snipping the petticoats so I didn’t trim excess fabric. Plus I chose really ugly scraps of material, it was practically doomed to look from the start!

I draped this the way I always do – pieces of cotton get pinned over the form and pulled tightly. Then seam lines are marked and the process is repeated!

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This is what it looked like after removing it from the form and trimming away excess material.

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That got transferred onto paper and seam allowances were marked. I also labeled the center front and center back. And that was it! I had a pattern!

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I used that to create the mockup, which also features really ugly fabric! The mock up was too big so I took it in quite a bit. I also lowered the neckline and extended the basque waist.

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This is the new and improved pattern!

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I used that as a guide for cutting out the bodice pieces from the satin backed metallic fabric. Once they were cut out, I laid the pieces underneath the glitter organza. I pinned the pieces to the organza and cut around them.

With the pins still in I basted the layers together. I did this by machine because I was feeling a bit lazy that day. The point of this is to keep the two layers together during assembly, and it’s easier to sew the layers together than to deal with random pins sticking out everywhere.

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All the pieces got sewn together, and I had something resembling a bodice! When it was assembled I pressed the seams open, then used my sewing machine to stitch 3/4″ away from each edge. This will be used as a guide for hemming the edges.

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Speaking of hemming, the next step is doing just that! All the edges got turned inward by three quarters of an inch and sewn down.

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Then it was time to work on the lining! The lining pieces were cut out and assembled. I’m using polyester shantung for this, since i’ve had it in my stash for ages and wanted to use it for something.

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On the interior of the lining, after being assembled, the seam allowance between the center front panel and side panels got turned under and pinned down. I’ve always called this a flat felled seam but I know that isn’t the right term. It’s like a mock felled seam. But with the other edge pressed flat. Yeah.

Regardless of what it’s called, once the folded edge is sewn down it will create a channel for boning!

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I also stitched around each edge, 3/4″ away from the edge. Like I said before this is for marking the hem allowance.

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With that done, I cut plastic boning to the right length and inserted it into the channels. Then I turned all the edges inward and sewed them down by hand.

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And it was finally time to attach the lining to the bodice! I pinned the layers together, starting from the centermost points and working my way out. I left the center back edges open (the lining will be sewn to hide the zipper, after the zipper is attached).

I also left the bottom edge open, well, kind of. I used large basting stitches to keep it in place, but it won’t be sewn down properly until after the skirt is attached.

For all the other edges (the neckline and arm holes) I attached the lining with tight whip stitches.

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Now it’s time for the sleeves! I spent so long trying to figure these out, and even contemplated scrapping them entirely. But after a few hours I figured out a shape I really liked – and a very simple way to achieve it.

Each sleeve is made from two rectangles of organza. The rectangle gets pinned in half, and the pinned edge gets sewn shut.

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Then each end is folded into three 1/2″ knife pleats, which point towards the folded edge.

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Then one end (this end will be at the front of the bodice) is folded into another knife pleat, this time facing the raw edge. That gets sewn securely so the pins can be removed.

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Lastly I tacked one of the pleats down, by hand, on the underside of each sleeve. This prevents them from losing their shape and flaring out into full rectangles.

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Each sleeve was pinned in place, with the folded edge facing outward and the raw edge being hidden by the interior of the garment. Well, that was my original plan, and that’s what is shown below, but I ended up changing it to make it more flattering. I felt this made my shoulders look very broad, which I didn’t like.

What I ended up doing was having the sleeves extend over the strap, with the raw edges tucked into the neckline.

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The sleeves were whip stitched on and the bodice was complete! It looks pretty puckery in the picture below,  but those disappear once the bodice is worn and tension holds the edges taut.

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So that’s it! I also have a video showing this process, it’s posted here if you are interested in watching!

Thank you for reading!

 
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Posted by on April 17, 2015 in Disney, The Making Of

 

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Making an 18th Century Shift

I’m starting on a new historical project, which means it’s time for another set of foundation garments! I’m going to be making an ensemble inspired by this painting, which means I need proper 18th century underthings. That will consist of a shift, stays, bum roll, and a quilted petticoat. 

The most boring garment for this project is the one i’m talking about today: The shift. I used the pattern posted here which was really helpful!

I was originally going to use cotton gauze for this because it’s fantastic stuff. Super cheap, very lightweight, comfortable to wear, and easy to work with. Unfortunately it’s also very delicate, the tudor shift I made from cotton gauze has already required repairs at the seams.

So I decided to use a few yards of medium weight linen that I’ve had for ages. It’s a little heavy for a shift but it worked out okay!

As I said above, I followed the pattern and measurements listed on this site but I added an inch in some places because I’m assembling it with french seams. I also made the sleeves a little wider because my arms are wider haha. The rectangles are for the side gores (will be cut in half on the diagonal), the larger squares are for the sleeves, and the smaller squares are underarm gores (will also be cut in half).

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Then you need a very large rectangle to make up the body of the shift. I ended up cutting mine down by four inches because it was so wide, and even after doing that it’s still huge! I know they are supposed to be loose but this is a little too loose.

Sorry for the dog – the blanket was in a nice little pile but apparently she wanted it to be a big pile.

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She was upset that I didn’t have a bed set out for her. It was in the washing machine so she had to sit on a blanket like some wild animal. She glared at me for two hours before going to sleep.

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Anyway! The gores got attached to each sleeve with french seams.

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And the larger gores were attached to the sides of the shift, also with french seams. I’m going to stop mentioning that part, because every seam is a french seam on this piece!

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The sleeves got attached.

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And the side seams were done up! I made a small slit at the neck so I could try it on and make sure it fit alright, which it did. The body was pretty huge on me but the sleeves fit nicely.

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For the hem I rolled the raw edge over by a half inch and basted it down.

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Then turned the edge up by two inches and whip stitched it in place.

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For shaping the neckline, I cut a small slit that allowed me to get into the garment, then I laced my stays overtop. Once everything was arranged nicely I used a pen to (roughly) draw out where the neckline should be on one half of the shift.

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I took that off and marked the neckline with a colored pencil. I cut half of it out, then used the cut pieces a guide for the other half.

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I folded the raw edge inward by a quarter inch, then folded that edge in by a third of an inch. I whip stitched the edge in place to create a channel for ribbon. I also left a small opening at the centerfront where I can thread ribbon through.

Beneath the opening I stitched two eyelets, where the ribbon can be poked through and tied into a pretty bow!

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This is what it looked like with the ribbon in place! I used a bobby pin to thread it through the channel. I use bobby pins to threat my corsets too, they are very handy!

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The final thing to do was hem the sleeves. I had already turned them under by a half inch but they had a raw edge on the interior and were too long. So I turned them under by an inch and a half and sewed that.

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And it was done!

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I had hoped to have some worn photos but it’s been a very overcast day, which means my sewing room doesn’t get much light and the photos don’t turn out very well. I’ll include worn photos in my blog post about making the stays which should be up next week!

In the mean time, here is how it looks on my dress form.

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I’m pretty happy with it! Not the most exciting project but it only took a day to make and it went really smoothly. I’d use the pattern again to make one with a different neckline…Though I would probably make it sixty centimeters wide, not eighty. And maybe use lighter fabric.

Thanks for reading!

 

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Making a Cinderella Inspired Petticoat

I thought this post would be fast to write. I was wrong. Somehow I ended up with fifty photos and two thousand words written about this project. Oops…

..

Speaking of this project, it’s a new one! I saw the live action Cinderella film a couple weeks ago and really enjoyed it, especially the costume design. It was stunning. Have I mentioned that I want to be Sandy Powell when I grow up? Because I do, she is really great.

I loved everything about the blue ball gown in the film. The shape, the color, the size, it’s gorgeous! But if I was going to put that amount of time (hundreds of hours) and money (hundreds of dollars) into a project, I would want to do something more original or something inspired by my favorite paintings.

So instead I decided to make a short party dress inspired by the gown in the film. This will fill my need to make something blue, sparkly and ruffly, while not eating up months of time.

 And because I fell in love with a silvery fabric (it was on a really good sale – irresistible!) I’ve decided to make a dress inspired by the ball gown from the original animated film as well. So that’s TWO Cinderella inspired dresses. And of course they require an obnoxious ruffly petticoat to go underneath them, which is what this blog post is about!

This was my fabric haul. I also had some glittery organza bought many years ago, and ordered a yard of silver lamé online. In total, seventy dollars of raw materials for two dresses and a matching petticoat – not too bad! That includes notions and beads as well, but i’ll share those in another post since they weren’t used for this petticoat.

My materials for the petticoat included: ten yards of blue netting, two yards of opalescent lamé, three yards of glitter organza, one yard of silver lamé, a yard of polyester shantung, a WHOLE spool of thread, and two yards of hooping wire.

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When the fabrics were figured out it was time to decide on the layers and do some petticoat math. I’m making a petticoat with has six layers, and each layer has three tiers.

The first tier is a piece of netting that gathers at the waist and gets longer towards the back. The second is a strip of netting which gets gathered at the top and sewn to the first tier. And the final tier is made from fabric strips, with a rolled hem and gathered top.

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The normal “petticoat math” is that each tier should be two or three times wider than the last. So if tier one is three yards wide,  tier two should be at least six yards wide, and tier three should be at least twelve yards wide (before gathering).

Unfortunately I ran low on fabric and had to make some sacrifices which resulted in some of my strips being shorter than they should have been.  I have a few very non-ruffly ruffles on certain layers :(

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There are six layers (labeled 0-5 because I made a mistake and was too lazy to rewrite things haha) worn over a hoop base. Each layer gets longer and wider as they go. A few layers are the same length but most are a half inch to an inch longer than the last to account for the volume the layers beneath it provide.

I wrote all my petticoat math out before. And I had a list of everything that needed to be cut and from what fabrics.

Before cutting the the fabric for the layers I decided to make the hoop base. This is just to enforce the elliptical shape of the skirt and also prevents the skirt from getting tangled in my legs. This isn’t a big problem with shorter skirts, but I figured it couldn’t hurt either.

I made a pattern very similar to pannier patterns, with a flat front and large back. But instead of the flat side facing my hips, it would be at the front.

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I rolled the bottom edge over by a half inch, then over by one inch. This creates a channel to feed hooping wire through.

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I did up the front seams and added the hooping wire. Now you can really see the shape!

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The top got properly gathered and I had a functional base!

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On a whim I made a four inch ruffle from netting and sewed that onto the bases hem. This will give me the correct length to start building off of.

I could have made the fabric part of the base longer, but then it would show if I decided to spin in the skirt. And the whole point of this petticoat is to have majorly wonderful spin factor, with most of the volume coming from ruffles.

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I should also mention that the petticoat base has a eight inch slash down the back which will be how I get the petticoat on and off.

This is it with the netting ruffle sewn on!

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Now it was time for cutting the netting! As I mentioned above I wrote out everything I needed to cut ahead of time so I could do it in one go. When each piece of netting was cut it was put in a pile, then pinned to a label. I think I’ve said this several times before but it’s still true,  organization is VERY important in petticoat making.

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I also cut out all the strips for the soon-to-be-ruffles. For these I used a sharpie to mark all the lines, then zoomed through them with good scissors. I’m still scared of rotary cutters, which is unfortunate, they would have made this process a bit faster!

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When the fabric strips were cut they also got labeled right away!

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After all the cutting was done it was time to begin sewing! Actually that is a lie, before sewing anything I made ten bobbins of thread. Which didn’t end up being enough, I think I went through eighteen before this project was finished.

When it was time to sew the first thing I did was sew all the netting strips together with french seams. Then they got pinned back to their labels. I repeated this process with all the fabric strips because it’s way easier to get that out of the way at the beginning.

And then it was time for hemming. A lot of hemming…

I did a one quarter inch rolled hem, by eye, for all of the fabric strips. I don’t have a hemming foot for this, so I do it manually by running the fabric through the machine twice.

First the edge gets turned over by a quarter inch and sewed down.

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Then it gets turned over again and stitched down as close to the edge as possible.

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And this gets repeated for about a hundred yards of fabric! I’m not even exaggerating with that number. These are the lowest tires for layer one and two (the shortest layers) fully hemmed.

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Once those are hemmed it’s time for gathering! There are lots of ways to make ruffles, but I do mine by pushing the fabric underneath the presser foot as I go. These don’t make the most visually pleasing ruffles, but it’s relatively fast and gives me a lot of control over how dense the gathers are.

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And that gets repeated until sixty yards of fabric strips are turned into pretty little ruffles.

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Then the ruffles are sewn onto the strips of netting.

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Ideally the tops of these would be finished with bias tape or a serger. But because this petticoat is for personal use and I don’t need it to be super durable, i’m just top stitching the ruffle to the netting.

Except for layer two and four, because lamé is is so prone to fraying. Those layers have organza ribbon topstitched over the raw edge.

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And that gets repeated until all the ruffles are attached to netting layers!

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This process took me a few days and I didn’t have enough desk or drawer space to store my piles of ruffles. So they got pinned onto my then unfinished, uniquely you dress form and I had this bizarre looking ruffly statement piece in my sewing room!

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The tops of the netting strips were gathered down and sewn to the top layer of each tier.

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And lastly, the tops of each layer get gathered down to twenty five inches. Now you can see some real progress as these get built up over the form!

This is layer 0 with a glitter organza ruffle.

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This is Layer 1, also from glitter organza. You can tell that it’s longer than the last layer, which was intentional.

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Layer 2! This layers ruffle is made from silver lamé.

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Layer 3, the last layer of glitter organza ruffles.

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Layer 4 is made from the opalescent lamé which I love. It’s so pretty. At this point I realized a little problem, the back of the dress actually had less volume than the front! Which is the opposite of what I wanted.

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So I decided to make my petticoat be two separate pieces. The second piece would be attached like a backwards apron, with the tulle being heavily gathered in the back instead of all the way around.

Which meant I could finish off the waist of this skirt! Some of my measurements were a little off on the tiers which resulted in me having to lower the center front and back to get a smooth hemline. This meant I couldn’t do a traditional rectangular waistband, instead I had to make something curvy with a pointed back and front.

But that’s okay. Curvy waistbands are pretty fancy and I think it ended up looking intentional.

I draped a mock up waistband over the petticoat, then copied it to paper and added seam allowances.

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I cut it out from polyester shantung and backed it with fusible interfacing.

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I used my machine to stitch a guideline a half inch away from each edge, then turned those edges inward.

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The edges got stitched down and my waistband was complete!

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I stitched it onto the petticoat and it was almost done! It wasn’t close to being done.

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Once I declared it finished I realized it was very flat near the waist. This is bad. I wanted a lot of volume near the waist. Not only does added volume near the waist give a more accurate silhouette, it also makes your waist look smaller by comparison. And I wanted a really small looking waist.

So I cut strips of leftover netting and stitched them together. Then I hemmed them with half inch wide horsehair braid and gathered the tops down to ten inches. I made two of these, one for each side of the skirt.

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 I hoisted up the top three petticoat layers and pinned them out of the way. I find this picture so amusing, it looks like a petticoat disaster gone wrong.

Am I doing it right? 

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 I pinned the horsehair additions to each side and sewed them down. These added soo much volume, I love it!

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And now the skirt had a much different, less A-line shape, which was perfect!

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That was before adding the second petticoat, which i’ll talk about making in a second.

 This is WITH the second petti overtop, it adds a lot of volume to the back!

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Now it came to making the second petticoat…or petticoat fluffer…or reverse apron, whatever you call it! All I did was cut a large rectangle of netting which the lower two tiers got attached to (these tiers were originally assembled for layer five). Then the top was gathered down to around twelve inches.

I made the waistband from a strip from a rectangle of shantung.  It was folded like double fold bias tape, but cut on straight grain.

Here are the folded strips. The top one is actually the lining for the first petticoats waistband.

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Then eyelets were stitched on both sides.

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Because of how it was folded there was a pocket between the layers. The raw edge of netting was inserted into that pocket, then it was sewn shut. And it was done!

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And because I didn’t show it earlier, here is the first petticoat with the lining pinned in place. It got sewn on shortly after, then eyelets were stitched in as a closure.

I was originally going to have it button closet, but i’m wearing this over a corset, so there is some size fluctuation depending on how tightly i’m willing to lace, which wouldn’t pair well with buttons.

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And the question i’m sure is on everyones mind, does it pass the twirl test? I think it does but i’ll let you decide for yourself, because I have a short clip of it in action posted here.

Final Notes: After draping the skirt to go over this, I don’t think the back has enough volume. Eventually i’ll make another horsehair/netting ruffle and sew it onto the “reverse apron” which will fix this. I would have done it before posting this, but i’m out of white horsehair and pink would look out of place!

Also the method covered here can be used for a full length version of Cinderella’s petti. Though I would highly suggest using a small hoop as a base, which I did with my Christmas Angel Petticoat. Otherwise the petti will tangle between your legs really easily. You should also use petticoat netting or organza for construction, they are both stiffer and provide a lot more volume than the crappy netting I got from Joanns. They can be bought in bulk here.

I think that’s it! Thank you for reading!

 

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