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Making a Cinderella Inspired Dress, Part One

If the title sounds familiar it’s because i’ve used it before! This is the second dress in my Cinderella dress series, and part one about making it. The posts about making my previous Cinderella dress and the petticoat that goes with it can be found here. This dress is based off of the ball gown from the live action film, with a few major changes – like the length, and the fact that i’m adding short sleeves.

I’ve run into a few problems (okay, a lot of problems) throughout making this costume and to be honest, it hasn’t been fun. So if that frustration seeps through into this post then I apologize! If you would like to see the process of me making it, without the complaining, I’ve made a video of the process – it’s posted here!

Step one was draping the bodice. I draped it as two pieces, but planned on the bodice being five pieces in total.

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I traced the draped muslin onto paper, which gave me a pattern. I added seam allowances between the pieces, but not around the neckline and waistline. This was because i’m too lazy to fold the edges over on my mock ups (they get thrown out anyway! I just can’t be bothered…)

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Here is the mock up. I altered the neckline a bit, but I was pretty pleased with it! I’m basing the shape more off of ball gowns from the 1860s, instead of the dress from the film. So it stops at the natural waist instead of curving over the hips.

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I made a new pattern, this time with all the proper seam allowances and boning channels. I also took the pattern it a little, since I am adding boning and wanted a bit of waist reduction.

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Then I cut out the first layer of fabric. This bodice has three main layers – the top layer (the one you’ll see, made from pretty fabric), the base layer (from a heavier fabric that supports the boning channels), and the lining.

This is the top layer. It’s made from chiffon which I fused interfacing onto so it isn’t floppy.

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Obviously the color and texture isn’t a great match, which is why I placed a layer of iridescent lamé overtop. I basted this layer down by machine.

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I still wasn’t super happy with the texture, so I added another overlay. This time it consisted of two layers of matte tulle, which diffused the lamé nicely. Below you can see one piece with tulle (left) and one without (right).

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I basted this on by hand since my machine doesn’t like tulle very much, and it often stretches or warps it, which isn’t good!

Here are all the panels covered with both overlays.

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Then it got sewn together! Unfortunately my iron wasn’t working very well at this point (my laptop was at a higher resting temperature than it, which was a bad sign…) so these seams didn’t get pressed as flat as they should.

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Then I switched to focusing on the base layer. I used a medium weight starched cotton for this. After cutting out the pattern I trimmed all the edges by a half inch, this will remove bulk from the edges later on.

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I used a colored pencil to mark out all the boning channels.

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And turned the edges of one inch wide strips of fabric over to create boning channels. These got pinned between the lines I marked earlier.

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Then the channels were sewn down and the pieces were stitched together!

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I cut out all my boning and tipped the ends with tape.

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All the boning got inserted and the base layer was complete! The only thing left to add were lacing panels. The bodice will zip closed up the back, but to get the reduction I wanted I really needed a hidden lacing panel.

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I made the lacing panels out of more of the same fabric, with a layer of quilted fabric inside to add structure.

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With the grommets added.

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And after being attached to the base layer!

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I wrapped the edges of the top layer around the base and sewed them down.

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I cut out and assembled the lining from a lightweight cotton.

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The edges got folded over and pinned in place.

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Then whip stitched down.

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Here is what the front looked like.

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I had a bodice, it was great! Sure the seams aren’t pressed as well as they should be, but that isn’t a huge deal.

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It was less great when I tried it on because THIS happened…

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Okay, this sucked. I know how to put grommets in, I don’t need advice on that. I should have used an awl to make the holes, not a punch, and braced both sides with boning instead of just one. But i’ve had issues with metal grommets in the past and I figured this was some type of karma for being to lazy to hand sew them (what I usually do). So I remade the lacing panels and spent four hours sewing pretty little eyelets.

Tried the bodice on, and you’ll never guess what happened…

 I think the major issue was the fabric, it was a medium weight cotton which was strong in theory but pretty prone to tearing (which I didn’t realize at the time, otherwise I wouldn’t have used it). I know I could have done a better job supporting the eyelets but honestly i’ve never had this happen. My flower dresses have embroidered eyelets up the back which are set into organza and chiffon, the most delicate tear prone fabrics ever and they are fine!

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The third time around I embroidered the eyelets again but used two interfaced layers of cotton sateen with a quilted canvas strip running through it. So these things better not budge. Luckily they stuck, but the problems didn’t end here.

When I finally got it laced up I realized zipping it closed would be a problem. I can lace it tighter than what you see below, and get the fabric panels to touch, but it isn’t a pretty site. It involves a lot of spilling out at the armholes and an ugly crease of back fat. It also creates a conical silhouette which I wasn’t going for.

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So I made a modesty panel, addition, thing. Which gives me one inch of room at the waist and three inches at the upper back. I inserted the zipper into this and though it isn’t pretty, it’s prettier than heaps of back cleavage.

(Not to say there is anything wrong with that, it just wasn’t something I wanted to have while wearing this dress)

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Here it is sewn onto the bodice. That back it such a mess, ugh…

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And the front is rippled too, which is frustrating. I honestly wish I could remake it but at this point i’ve had so many troubles that I just want to get it done and never see it again…which isn’t a very nice mindset to be in when trying to make something!

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Part two will be about the skirt, collar, and sleeves – and hopefully it will be a bit more positive!

Thank you for reading!

 
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Posted by on July 3, 2015 in Cosplay, Disney, The Making Of

 

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The Making of a French Hood

The first accessory I made to go with my tudor costume is the most famous one – a French Hood. You can see these in pretty much every portrait of royal women that were painted in the mid 1500s. I used this painting, and this one as my major shape and color references. I also used this blog post to get an idea of what shapes make up the hood, and how they are assembled. It was a major help to me and I would suggest reading it!

I had a few resources in books too, which show the variations in hood shapes.

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My first pattern was taken from the tudor tailor, unfortunately it didn’t work out for me. It was too small in some areas, too big in others, and all together not the shape I wanted. It took me a good hour of experimenting, but eventually I had a pattern I liked much better.

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I cut the crescent out of buckram and the paste out of felt weight interfacing. I would have used buckram for both pieces but I didn’t have very much on hand.

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Since I don’t have a sewing machine with a zig zag stitch option, I hand stitched wire around each edge of both pieces. I used a whip stitch for this, and though it was slow it turned out surprisingly sturdy! I’ve had some bad experiences with using wire in the past, but I was really happy with how smooth and easy to shape these pieces ended up being.

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I decided to cover the crescent with my orange silk, which was used for the kirtle. I debated about using off white silk (which was more common) but I found several paintings with orange hoods so I figured why not! Since the silk is so thin and delicate I decided to cover the crescent with a flannel weight fabric to smooth out any bumps or ridges.

I actually did this with leftovers of the imitation wool suiting that I bought for my Civil War Era dress.

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Then I pinned the silk overtop.

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And sewed it on as tightly as I could. The back looked like this.

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But the front looked a little better!

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I covered the paste with dark brown velvet, the same fabric I used for the oversleeves.

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Instead of making a ruffle or frill for the front I decided to use lace. This is the same lace I used on the neckline of the kirtle.

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As suggested in the blog post I linked above, I added a bit of padding to the area that would press against the ear. I don’t think this was really necessary (I found the hood very comfortable to wear and it didn’t press at all, even in this area) but I guess it doesn’t hurt to add this anyway.

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Before attaching the pieces together I cut out the lining. I used the same pattern I made earlier, but added half inch seam allowances so I could tuck the edges over. I cut my lining out of cotton gauze, since it’s very lightweight, a bit stretchy, and really easy to work with.

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And here the pieces are with the lining sewn in. I didn’t extend the lining all the way into the corners of the crescent because I didn’t want to add unnecessary bulk in those areas.

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The crescent got pinned onto the paste.

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Then stitched on with upholstery thread. The hood looks really lopsided at this point, but I think that’s just because the wire wasn’t bent evenly around the brim.

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I sewed a mixture of 6mm fake pearls and 5mm glass montees across the join point between the crescent and the paste. Each one is separated with a small orange seed bead.

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Then I made up a beading pattern for the top of the hood. If I had more montees I would have made it more extravagant, but at this point I was running low on them.

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With this part done it actually looked the way it was supposed to!

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I sewed the back pieces together with a cross stitch. I used upholstery thread for this to make sure it was really sturdy.

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Now it was time to focus on the veil. I decided to use leftover velvet so it would match the hood. I didn’t have very much velvet leftover so the hood ended up being narrower than I had planned, but it looks fine when worn!

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I turned the edges over by a half inch and stitched bias tape overtop to cover them. The veil should probably be fully lined but I was already worried about how the velvet would hang and didn’t want to add weight. (It ended up being fine, lining would have also been fine I think)

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Here is the veil with the back seam done up.

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It got sewn onto the back of the paste and it’s done! Overall I’m really pleased with it. If I made another I would make the crescent a little taller and the veil wider, but those are simple changes. Considering this was totally different from anything i’ve made before I’m pretty proud of it!

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I think the one change i’ll make is sewing combs into the sides or front. Below is my first “try on” of this costume and you can see the hood slipped really far back on my head. Traditionally they would be pinned to a coif or cap but I don’t see that working for me. The buckram is so thick that there is no way to secure it with pins, even if I had something other than hair to pin it to. So I think combs at the front are my best bet for keeping it secure!

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And that’s it for today! Thank you for reading!

 

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Progress Report: May & June 2015

This is going to be a progress report! I haven’t done one of these in ages. If you aren’t familiar with these posts, they tend to be a bit all over the place and talk about my  projects in progress, what I plan on starting on in the near future, things I finished, and anything else I feel like that is vaguely related to costumes and sewing. May and June have been interesting months so I figured I would turn it into one long blog post!

In the past two months I’ve finished three projects….which doesn’t seem like very many. But in my defense one of those was a “big” project, and I was working on two new things as well.

One of those project is my Orchid Dress, which got a very mixed response when I posted about it. I’m actually quite pleased with how this came together. I really like the mixture of textures and the neckline. I think it’s really interesting, and different from my past projects. And certainly the closest i’ve gotten to making something “High Fashion”

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I also finished my Tudor project! I still have a couple blog posts to write about this, plus a video to edit which will talk a bit about each part of the costume, but the costume itself is done. Finishing this was a HUGE accomplishment for me. Though I don’t love how it turned out, I’m pretty happy with it considering how many pieces there are, and how tricky some of those pieces were to make.

Hopefully next week I can set up a backdrop, some candles, and do my best to get some nice photos of this. I really want to get photos that almost look like a painting come to life. But for now, here is a picture that definitely doesn’t look like a painting.

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I also finished Cinderella! I finished this long before the orchid dress and tudor costume, but it’s a good transition into the next topic. I like this dress as a shorter version of the one from the animated film. I think in that way, it’s cute. But that wasn’t my original vision so i’m a little disappointed with the end result.

However it’s really sparkly and fun to wear, so that’s good!

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And the way this transitions into the next topic is because it was the reason that here was a buzzfeed article about me! Which led to a HelloGiggles post and an interview on the Cosmopolitan website. Those articles ended up getting reposted and translated for a bunch of other sites too, so in addition to a huge view bump from the US i’ve been getting thousands from France, Russia, Italy, and strangely surprisingly, Belgium! Lots of places I hadn’t expected to have readers from, so that has been really neat!

I don’t expect my work to have a broad appeal, so it’s always a big surprising (but really great) to see it on sites that have a large audience. And even better to see that people actually seem interested. I’m really grateful for the kind comments I got, and of course the new followers! I really appreciate the support and I hope you are enjoying my blog!

Now for things I have in progress. Even though these are pretty far along they aren’t quite far enough along to blog about. Which is a bit annoying!

The first is a dress and jacket based off of the ones worn by Sophie Marie Grafin Voss in this painting. I want to get the dress finished soon, since it’s so summery and would look lovely photographed in a garden. I’m using off white fabric and lace, plus thousands of pink seed beads to decorate the lace.

I made the bodice a little while ago, but I only recently finished all the eyelets. And I still haven’t tried it on,. But i’m pretty confident it will fit well, since I did so many fittings between steps.

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For the skirt I fussy cut lace trim and appliques out of a lace fabric. It took me a good five hours, but I did it! Then this past week I used tea to stain the lace to match the fabric. It’s a very subtle stain, just enough to remove the whitish blue tinge.

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All the lace is now pinned onto the one hundred and eighty inch hem of the skirt. I’m sure i’ll have great fun stitching it on…

Though if I have trouble stitching it on then beading it will be REALLY miserable. I’ve never taken on a beading project this large before so I have no clue how long it will take and how difficult it will be. I guess I will find out soon!

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Part of making this project involved creating a set of pocket hoops. I made a pair last year but they were really, really, bad. This time I altered the pattern so the silhouette is a lot smoother and the construction is much better. I made a youtube tutorial on the process, which is posted here!

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And this is how they look with petticoats overtop. My petticoats are a bit ratty, but I think the shape is really nice!

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My other project is the second Cinderella dress, this one inspired by the dress from the live action film. The bodice is almost done. The fabric I used for this was annoying (lame, chiffon, and tulle – bleh) and my iron wasn’t working very well, so it’s less even and more puckered than it should be. But it looks good when worn!

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The real problem with it is that the eyelets that lace it closed have not been behaving. I tried metal ones first, and they betrayed me…

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So I replaced them with carefully embroidered ones and it happened AGAIN. I think I cried a little. I’m quite familiar with eyelets, so I don’t need advice on how to work with them, I think this was a case of me drastically misjudging how sturdy this fabric is…even though i’ve embroidered eyelets into organza and chiffon, the most delicate of all fabrics, and had them be fine.

Needless to say, this was not a good day for me and I’m not too excited to resume progress on this!

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Hopefully i’ll be starting on two new projects in the coming month. The first has been planned for a while, though i’m still not certain what the design will be. I’m making a dress based off of some things I got from Michaels. Those things include fake flowers, fake moss, burlap, and my personal favorite: Fake bird nests, which will make a lovely headpiece.

I think this will end up being a forest fairy type of thing. I might even attempt to make a pair of wings!

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I also might resort to taking on a procrastination project this month. Since my Cinderella dress isn’t going well and I can almost guarantee i’ll be fed up with embroidering lace after I sew on the four thousandth bead.

I’d like to make another easy, draped dress, which is once again inspired by how saints were depicted in artwork. I recently fell in love with this painting, it’s called “The Body of Saint Catherine of Alexandria Borne to Heaven” and painted by Mucke Heinrich. The image below does not belong to me and was taken from this page.

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I find the red dress in that picture especially inspiring, which is good because it gave me a reason to buy a fabric from joanns which i’ve loved for ages. This is a rust colored sari fabric with gold stamping on it. I love the weight of it and the mottled print, it feels a bit like chiffon and I think it will be gorgeous for a draped dress like the one above! I also bought some suiting for lining, since it’s sheer.

I got this during Joanns memorial day sale, so I believe they were both 50% off, plus 20% off your entire purchase. Not a bad deal!

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And speaking of fabric, I bought a little bit in NYC. I didn’t plan on purchasing any, I actually went into NYC to see the Metropolitan Museum of Art. I’ve been to the museum before, once to take cosplay photos (I cringe a little remembering this) and another to see a fashion exhibit. At those points I had no interest in historical fashion and artwork, so I didn’t appreciate the experience very much.

This time I went in alone, hoping to learn something and get really inspired. I think both of those things happened, and I really enjoyed the visit. Here are some photos of the ‘adventure’

I think the medieval statues, tapestries, and paintings were my favorite. It’s hard to research these things online since most of the results bring up reproductions popularized by renaissance faires. I’d like to make a dress similar to the one below (the name of this style is escaping me right now). I recently got six yards of fur trim I could use on a hem of a gown like this, so maybe it will happen soon!

This piece was especially impressive because it was huge, it was more than nine feet tall and ten feet wide. A better image is available here.

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One of the many medieval statues which I liked. I love the draping on these dresses. I have no idea what the pattern of one would look like, but I really want to make one. A better image is available here.

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The european painting gallery was lovely too.  I didn’t look at the archives online before going, so I had no idea what they would have or how much would be there. They ended up having a lot, including some Lucas Cranach works which were nice to see in person. They also had Peter Paul Rubens paintings, and a good amount of Rembrandts work. They are two of my favorite painters and I was so happy to see some in person!

I was kind of shocked at the size of everything, you don’t expect that 400 pixel wide image you see on pinterest or in a book to be eight feet tall in person. Definitely gives you a new appreciation for the artists!

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Unfortunately the historical costume exhibit was switched out for the “China Through the Looking Glass” collection – which was very pretty, but I would have rather admired eighteenth century stitch work instead.

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Okay – now onto the fabric! I didn’t get much. I got a bit of metallic gold brocade, some horsehair braid, and ten yards of satin faced chiffon. I’ve posted photos of very similar things in my past hauls (and I filmed a video haul for next week) so i’ll just show you my two favorites. The first is a floral print brocade, which I hated at first. I thought it looked like bloody starfishes and it grossed me out.

But now I think it looks like the most gorgeous floral brocade ever and I can’t wait to make a dress out of it.

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And the second is a white organza with laser cut blue flowers and embroidery attached. I love how delicate this fabric is, while still having a lot of movement and a fun flare to it. I think this would make a really nice skirt – something simple that doesn’t take away from the pattern, like a circle skirt.

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Now the very last thing I wanted to mention is that this month involved a bit of traveling! My family went up to Canada for a reunion, which was nice. But our trips over the border didn’t go that well. The first time we crossed through an indian reservation that had billboards about missing women and how white people weren’t wanted there. Then we crossed into the US on the same day prisoners escaped from Dannemora, so there were officers with M16s checking trunks. Not to mention checkpoints at the start of major towns, where Sheriffs would stop and question you. But we got back okay!

It stunted the progress on my costumes for a bit, but it wasn’t a total wash! We went to an antique bookshop that had a tiny craft section which I took advantage of.

I got two of the Art of Sewing books from the 70s. I love the covers of these, they are textured like fabric. It’s such a cute idea and they are really nicely laid out inside. Now I want them all – I think there are 16 in total?

I’m not sure how much use i’ll get out of these, but it was  only $10 for the pair. They have a few really nice diagrams on fabric manipulation and embroidery stitches, which are both things I want to improve at.

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I also got two more historically based books. I’m not sure how accurate the information still is, but I bought them mostly for the pictures. The top one is “The Horizon Book of the Renaissance” and the lower one is called “Costume of the Western World: Renaissance fashions” – both of which are really nice hardcover books with lots of fashion plates. I think they will work well as references for future costumes.

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And that’s everything! This was a massive post but I think it shows pretty much everything I did over the last month when it comes to costume work. Thank you for reading!

 
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Posted by on June 19, 2015 in Progress Report

 

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Making a 16th Century Dress, Part Three

So I skipped almost two weeks of posting. In my defense, I was traveling for a week of that and fully planned on updating while in hotel rooms. I had several hours to kill most evenings, and nothing to do but blog! Unfortunately that plan didn’t work out since none of the hotels had reliable internet that allowed me to access wordpress, much less post anything. When I got home I had a rough time getting back into my routine, but i’m back!

I really wanted to make this post a progress report, since I have several projects in progress right now and plans for a few exciting ones. But I figured after two weeks a “The Making Of” would be more appreciated. So lets go through the process of adding a skirt to my tudor costume. If you are unfamiliar with this project, the previous posts can be read here.

I’m not sure where the photos of this laid out flat went, but I can’t find them. I think my folder with the first five photos or so got deleted, which is a shame. On the bright side,  the skirt pattern was really simple, two rectangles plus a rectangle with an arched bottom to create a train. If I had another two yards of material (which I planned on having) the train would be longer and the skirt would have two extra panels.

The panels were all sewn together with french seams. Then the lower edge was turned over by a half inch and basted down. Then it got turned over my an inch and a half and pinned down.

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Then that was stitched down with whip stitches.

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The side edges of the skirt also got turned over by an inch and a half. I stitched down both edges of the fabric with tiny running stitches.

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Since this fabric is pretty thin and cartridge pleating works best with thicker fabrics I decided to back the top few inches with flannel. I cut several strips of flannel and folded them in half.

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Then I sewed it on.

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The top edge was fraying like crazy, so I decided to cover it with bias tape. I had some of the damaged damask leftover and decided this would be a good use for it. I marked out all my two inch wide strips.

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Then cut them out and sewed them together.

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I ironed the raw edges inward and I had bias tape!

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One edge got sewn on.

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Then it was folded over the top edge and pinned down.

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And sewn down.

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Now it was time for pleating! I used chalk to mark two lines that are one and a half inches apart. Then I drew a line every four inches, which is how big the pleats will be. They are massive.

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I used upholstery thread to pleat everything so there was no chance of my thread breaking. Here is how it looked after being pleated.

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I was really happy with them until I pinned them onto my bodice. After I pinned them I realized cartridge pleats at this size collapse down and look a lot like normal box pleats. They do fold underneath and give a LOT more volume than regular pleats do, but i’m still a little disappointed!

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I sewed the skirt on with small whip stitches and upholstery thread…then went over my stitching again because I did a terrible job. I could fit my whole nail between the stitches!

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And that is it! The skirt was done and my dress finally had a lower half.

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Here is a teaser – in my super dusty mirror – of how it looks worn!

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I’ll be taking proper photos (maybe with a nice backdrop, if I can set something up) within the next week or two. But in the mean time, I did a video about this project which shows some close ups and the order everything is worn! That video can be watched below, or through this link.

This project is complete, but I still have a couple more blog posts to write about it, so you’ll be seeing lots more on the topic within the next little while.

Thank you for reading!

 
 

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Making 16th Century Foresleeves

Today i’m talking about foresleeves. This is the…honestly I have no idea what number this post is, this series has been going on for so long! But all the previous posts about this project can be found here.

Foresleeves (or false sleeves) are a bizarrely shaped piece of material that covers the arm from the elbow to the wrist. They are large and rounded in shape with strips of material pulled through slits at the lower edge and wrist. They are often trimmed with material in a different color and embellished. You can see examples of foresleeves in a couple paintings which served as my inspiration for this ensemble, those can be viewed here and here!

This was a fun post to write because I hadn’t realized how much work went into this part until I was resizing photos. These sleeves were one of the first pieces I began working on, and one of the last I finished.

I started with a pattern. Ignore the tick marks for now, those were supposed to be where the fabric was pulled through to create puffs but I changed the sizing later on.

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Then I cut my sleeves out. The body of them is made from silk dupioni, like the kirtle. If I was smart I would have interfaced them at this point, but I put that off until later (which I now regret).

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Then I pinned bias tape over the edges. I used my machine to sew down the backside and hand stitched the front.

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It looked so smooth and pretty! So smooth and pretty that I decided to not add puffs at the wrist. There are paintings that show puffs only at the bottom edge of the sleeve so I figured that would be good enough.

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But then I set these aside for a couple weeks and realized the reason I didn’t want puffs at the wrist is because I was scared I would mess up. And that is a silly reason not to do something since i’m trying to learn. So I marked out the slashes where the puffs would be inserted, then stitched around them to help prevent fraying.

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I cut each slash open and bound them with quarter inch wide bias tape. This was tricky and time consuming since I was working with two fabrics that fray a lot and I didn’t have any room for error. But it turned out okay!

Unfortunately I had to add interfacing at this point and couldn’t avoid the wrinkles near the wrist. I’m a bit bummed about this, but oh well, i’ll know for next time.

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I played around with a lot of different fabrics in an attempt to find the perfect fabric for the pulls (I like calling them puffs, but that is incorrect, meh). I tried off white cotton gauze, ivory silk organza, a satin material, and even a knit! None of those are very historically accurate but I hated how the linen I had looked. Even when tea stained to be off white it looks very stark and inexpensive compared to the silk and damask.

So I put organza overtop of it. Which added some depth and made it look a little fancier. These are the five inch squares which got gathered down at each end to create the wrist puffs.

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Here they are pinned into place! These got stitched down shortly after.

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One side done. Unfortunately this step created even more puckers at the wrist, but at least it is less noticeable when worn.

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At this point that I decided to turn the top edge over to make each sleeve a little shorter. They actually went past the crook of my elbow which was a bad sign. Luckily this was easy to do and fixed the problem.

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Another thing to fix was the huge amount of fraying of the wrist puffs. it wasn’t visible from the outside of the sleeve, but the interior was a mess. So I half lined them with leftover linen.

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Then it was time to make the pulls for the lower edge. I decided there would be five puffs on each sleeve, and each one would be made from five inches of material. So I cut two twenty-five inch long strips of linen and organza – one for each sleeve.

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Then I gathered the strips every five inches to create puffs.

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Which got sewn to the underside of each sleeve. Aside from the puckers, I was really happy with how these were turning out!

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With all the pulls done it was time for embellishing. I put a large glass stone and two pearls at the base of each wrist puff.

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I was running low on glass stones, and wanted to save the ones I had for the jewelry and french hood. So I decided to keep it simple and only use a pearl and two seed beads between each puff on the underside of the sleeves.

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This is how they looked!

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The only thing left to do was create some sort of system to attach them onto the main sleeve. I opted for eyelets, since they are easy to do and historically accurate. There are three sewn at the top of each foresleeve.

After trying them on I also decided to stitch up the back of the sleeves so they would sit better on my arm and keep their shape. And that is it! They were done!

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Here is how they look worn! This was before attaching the oversleeves to my dress.

Photo on 4-27-15 at 1.19 PM #2

 My next post will be about making the accessories for this project…or maybe it will be about the skirt. I haven’t decided yet, but it will be one of those two.

Thank you for reading!

 

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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.

Photo on 2-16-15 at 2.56 PM #2

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!

 
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Posted by on May 8, 2015 in The Making Of

 

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