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Making a Grey Taffeta Hat

We’re onto the final post about my Ana de Mendoza costume! This piece of the costume was the most time consuming, but it ended up being my favorite part so I think the effort was worth it.

In the painting this costume is based off of Ana is seen wearing a large hat – I tried to research women’s hats of this style from the 16th century but came up with very little information. So I decided to make it up! Sometimes I’m all about research, and I’ll try to read as many blogs and books as I can find before taking on a project. But for this one I was a little impatient, and I wanted to skip that part and get straight to it. So I did. How hard can making a hat be?

I started by drafting a pattern. I made mine a circle at first, then realized it should probably be more of an oval shape. So I trimmed the sides of the brim and crown to make them slightly less circular.

It took me a few tries but eventually I came to a size I liked. Looking back I would have made the crown slightly smaller (maybe by a half inch) so it would have more of a tapered profile, but i’m pretty happy with how this pattern worked.

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Then I cut all the pieces out from fusible felt interfacing. I chose this because i’m still out of buckram, and this stuff is available at Joanns. Buckram has to be ordered online and I was far too impatient for that!

I didn’t need the felt to be fusible, but it’s the same price as non-fusible felt interfacing and the glue makes it a bit stiffer. I figured that would be a good thing when making a hat of this size.

I originally added seam allowances to the crown and brim. I figured I could clip these the way you would a curved seam and have them tuck into each other, which would add stability to the hat. I did something similar when making my buckram bonnet and it worked really well. But this material is way thicker than buckram, and this technique would prevent the crown from fitting in place, so I trimmed the seam allowance off.

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Then I sewed on the wire! It went around the edge of the crown and brim. I felt like the brim was really floppy still, so I added another piece two inches away from the first one. This was all whip stitched in place by hand, with heavy duty upholstery thread.

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The felt doesn’t have a very nice texture, and I was worried it would show through the polyester taffeta I wanted to cover it with. So I placed a layer of flannel between the taffeta and felt. This added a LOT of weight to the hat, but I think it improved the appearance a lot as well.

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I used binder clips to hold the fabric in place while I was sewing around the edges.

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I repeated this process for all the other pieces as well. The crown was harder to cover because it’s smaller, I managed to do it but it sure doesn’t look pretty on the inside!

Then all the pieces were sewn together, which was not an easy task. My fingers did not appreciate the struggle this involved.

After an hour I had a hat! It’s rough around the edges (literally, the edges are really rough) but I was pleased with it. I got to try it on for the first time and luckily the proportions were perfect – it doesn’t really resemble the one in the painting, but that’s ok. I like the shape and size of my creation better.
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I didn’t take photos of this part earlier, but once the taffeta was sewn onto the top side of the brim, I stitched a printed denim on the inside to serve as lining. This was right by the cutting counter and caught my eye. I bought a yard and a half because I liked it so much. Even though you don’t really see it when the hat is worn, I like that this adds a bit of texture.

Here you can see how messy the interior looks, It took a lot of thread to make it look smooth from the outside…

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When I was sewing the pieces together I noticed something kind of bad. There was so much tension on the polyester taffeta that every stitch binding the pieces together caused little tears in the fabric, which revealed dots of red flannel beneath it. Probably not bad enough that anyone else would notice, but I couldn’t stand it!

So I cut strips of wool suiting, which doesn’t fray, and wrapped those around the edges.

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It got sewn down. My fingers were once again, upset by this process, but that’s okay.

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Here is a photo of it worn! It doesn’t fit on my head that well, but I can walk without it moving around. I think a hat like this is more for decorative purposes than anything else, as shown by the way Ana’s is precariously balanced on top of her hairstyle in the painting.

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I liked how the wool trim looked better than the tiny tears, but from the top of the hat it was a little puckery. So I hid that with a bit of braided blue trim.

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Then I made a matching sash out of silk chiffon. The sash on the top is for the hat, the two smaller ones were ties I made for the sleeves. All of these had the edges carefully turned over and sewn down by hand. No easy task when working with small strips of bias cut silk chiffon!

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I tied that around my hat and into a big bow. Then the top and bottom portions were stitched down so it won’t be going anywhere.

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I lined the interior with white cotton gauze, but I extended my lining too far out and it was visible when the hat was worn. So I sewed a three quarter inch wide strip of wool around the cotton, which hid this.

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Now it was time for embellishments! And feathers! I bought four white ostrich feathers from Joanns and a pack of spiky black geese feathers.

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I glued them down in an arrangement I liked. On the left side, which doesn’t have a bow, I hid the ugly bases of the feathers with a bunch of light grey fake pearls.

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And that’s it for my beautiful hat! I really love this thing. It’s made me realize how much headpieces complete historical ensembles, and how they can really bring to life a simple costume. I consider millinery to be a little bit out of my skill set and it seems intimidating to learn. But the fact I figured out the process of making this on my own, even without research, has been a big motivator for me.

I have a few costumes coming up that should be worn with hats, bonnets, and a 15th century hennin. I think i’ll put the effort into making them all, and hopefully be happier with the finished costumes.

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I also made an eyepatch for this ensemble. I used a sticky note for a pattern and scraps of the fusible interfacing for a base. This eyepatch has a very specific shape, with a sharply pointed bottom. I think I spent longer trying to pattern/shape this than I did on the hat! I wanted it to be perfect.

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I ironed the damask print denim onto one side, then tucked all the edges over and sewed them down. I was originally going to use cotton as a backing, but I switched to black wool suiting since I figured the white gauze might be visible.

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I sewed some coated black cord overtop and it was done!

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And that’s it for this costume. I’m so pleased with it. I think this might be my favorite costume that i’ve made this year. I was so determined to spend months making costumes I’m really proud of, but so far I like my week long projects a lot more than the ones that took months. Funny how that works out, huh?

If you want to see this in motion I filmed a short video on it (it really didn’t come out how I intended, but I know some people might prefer it to photos) which can be watched here.

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And that’s it! Thank you for reading!

 
 

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Making Lace Sleeves

I wasn’t sure what to title this. It is supposed to be a chemise to wear underneath my grey taffeta kirtle, but I didn’t have very much cotton gauze left. So it ended up being a shirt with lacy sleeves.

I’m still working on the Ana de Mendoza costume, which is based off of this painting. If I was following the painting closely and being accurate I should have used satin or chiffon for the sleeves. But I was worried those materials, along with the grey taffeta would look really boring and flat.

So I decided to use lace instead. My lace fabric stash is a little bit limited, so I used a three yard piece of lace trim which I purchased for $5 from this etsy seller a couple months ago. This lace isn’t the best quality, it’s stretchy and has a sheen to it which screams cheap lace, but the pattern is really pretty and it’s very soft.

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In case my doodles in my last post weren’t enough for you, here are more that I made about the undershirt. I’m not sure how much sense these make to other people, but they provide enough information for me!

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The lace got chopped into five pieces. First I cut two inches off the top of the three yard length, this was gathered down and used on the neckline of the kirtle. The remainder was cut into four equal (twenty seven inch long) pieces. Two will be used for each sleeve.

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I gathered the sleeves down to the measurements listed above.

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At the ruffly ends I sewed elastic onto the interior. This isn’t historically accurate at all, but it’s way more convenient than trying to stuff your hands through tiny cuffs!

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Here are the two bottom portions of the sleeves.

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And one of the top portions.

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I sewed them together with a running stitch.

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Then sewed more elastic into that seam. Now I had cute, puffy, stretchy, sleeves! Can you think of anything better than that?

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I set those aside and switched to making the cotton shirt. This is made from an eighteen by sixty inch piece of cotton gauze. It gets folded in half and a slit is cut in the folded end – this will be the head hole and make it easy to get on and off for fittings throughout the process.

I marked ten inches down from the fold on each side, this is where the sleeves will be attached.

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I topstitched the sleeves on, then did up the sides with french seams. Now I could try it on! The sleeves were shorter than I had wanted but since the length was determined by the width of the lace trim i’m not too upset with myself. I think they turned out really cute and are certainly more interesting than chiffon or satin sleeves made with the same pattern.

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To figure out the neckline shape I laced myself into the kirtle bodice and drew a line with chalk about one inch away from the neckline. I only did this on one side, since both sides should be the same.

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Then I took it off and transferred the chalk markings to the other half of the neckline to make sure everything was even.

I’ve decided (after finishing it) that this neckline is really stupid, I should have made it flat in the center (even though the kirtle isn’t). It looks so silly! But it doesn’t show when the kirtle is worn, so I guess it doesn’t matter.

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I finished the hem with some cheap, scratchy lace which i’ve been meaning to use up.

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And the neckline was finished with a different lace that has a similar price tag and texture.

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That’s it! Pretty ugly all by itself, but when it’s underneath my kirtle I think it looks quite nice. I ended up making a sash of pale blue silk chiffon which gets wrapped around the middle of each sleeve and into a bow!

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Here is another worn photo which shows off the sleeves a little bit. They really are too short, but they are cute anyway!

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Thank you for reading! The blog post about the hat should be up on Friday!

 

Making a Grey Taffeta Kirtle

This is another project that came out of nowhere. I was about to go to bed and thought “I should make a dress based off that painting  pinned on pinterest a few months ago”.  I wrote the idea down so I wouldn’t forget in the morning, and seventy two hours later I had a dress!

This dress is actually an ensemble that consists of a kirtle, undershirt, hat, and eyepatch – that last one might sound a little odd, but it will make sense in a minute. I based this costume off of this painting, it isn’t the most exciting painting or costume but I thought it was very striking when I first saw it, and it’s obviously stuck with me. The subject of that painting is Ana de Mendoza who was a countess, duchess, princess, and prisoner at various points of her life. She wore an eyepatch after an injury left her blind in one eye (she may have lost the eye as well – sources disagree).

She has far more elaborate costumes shown in other paintings, but I decided on this one. I love the hat, the color scheme, and the simplicity to it. Plus I could make it (almost) entirely out of things I already owned, the only thing I had to buy were materials (interfacing, denim, and feathers) for the hat!

Today I’ll be showing how I made the most major piece of this costume (but not the most striking – i’d say that award goes to the hat) which is the kirtle. I made this from six yards of polyester taffeta which I got in NYC at the beginning of last year. It was four dollars a yard and is dark grey in color.

I decided to make this kirtle the “proper” way with stiffening in the bodice. My last kirtle (made for my tudor project) didn’t have any structure, instead it was worn over a pair of bodies. That led to problems later on and I didn’t want to make the same mistake this time!

I used an altered version of Norah Waugh’s bodies pattern. I made the basque waist wider and shorter, lowered the neckline, lengthened the straps, and took it in slightly. I cut the altered pattern out from canvas, which will be the base layer of the bodice.

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I marked out all the boning channels and backed the fabric with cotton. Then I stitched all the channels and filled them with quarter inch wide plastic boning.

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I pinned taffeta over both pieces. The curves got clipped and folded over the edges, then whip stitched down. This was really hard, taffeta does not have a lot of give to it and it did not want to go around those curves.

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The interiors looked like this! The cotton layer was just to back the boning channels, so a lot of it got cut away to remove bulk.

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Then I pinned a thin muslin layer to the interior, which will function as lining. I sewed this in with a whip stitch as well. But I used black thread for this, so it didn’t end up looking very pretty on the inside.

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I decided I couldn’t stand how puckery the taffeta looked around the the arm holes, but at this point there was’t a lot I could do without ripping everything apart. So I cut strips of wool and sewed those over the arm holes. I think this looks quite nice, even though I doubt it’s historically accurate.

I also bound the pieces together instead of sewing them with seams. I did this because it worked better this the pattern and reduced bulk at the shoulder, which is always good!

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I also started sewing the eyelets on the back side seam.

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Here you can see the lining job I did (I told you it’s ugly) and how the bound edges look from the interior.

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I stitched a gathered strip of lace around the neckline. Historically this would be attached to the chemise, but it’s such a pain to get the lace of an undershirt lined up with a boned bodice and I wanted to avoid the struggle. So I sewed it directly onto the bodice.

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Then I added the pearls. These were once again, something I already had around. I bought these from my red and silver “Renaissance” gown (aka my totally un-researched slapped together costume that had a sleeve fall off during a photoshoot) but never used them. I sewed these around the shoulder of the bodice but didn’t put them on the back, since the wig would likely get tangled in them.

You can also see how my eyelets progressed!

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For the center point, where the strands of pearls join, I put a brooch. I bought this for my birthday last year, It was a total $2.24 on ebay and suits this costume perfectly.

And when I say “perfectly” I mean it looks really pretty, not perfect from an accuracy standpoint.

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With that attached, the bodice was complete and it was time for the skirt! I actually made and cut this skirt out in the middle of the night, so my photos are lackluster at best and nonexistent at worst. But here is my skirt “pattern” there are six panels which get progressively longer towards the back. Once they were all cut out and sewn together I cut the hem into an arched shape instead of the blocky/triangular one this pattern creates.

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Two of the panels cut out…

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And those are all the photos I have of the skirt being cut out. I told you it was bad! But you can probably imagine the rest, they all got sewn together with the wrong sides facing each other, then the seams were trimmed down to a quarter inch and sewn into french seams.

After the hem was shaped I folded the edge over by a half inch and basted it down.

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Then the hem was brought up by an inch and a half and pinned in place.

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I sewed it down with a cross stitch.

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I knife pleated the top of the skirt down to twenty five inches.

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After I sewed across the pleats I pinned the skirt to the bodice. Then I cut a seven inch slit in the skirt, which continues down from the opening in the side back of the bodice. To finish the edge I used more strips of wool.

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All that got sewn on, then I pinned a strip of one inch wide bias tape over the frayed edge on the interior of the bodice. I stitched that down and it was done!

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Isn’t it pretty?

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I’m very happy with it! I was going to wait until Friday to post worn photos but here is a sneaky one since i’m eager to share!

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Thank you for reading!

 

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Heinrich Mücke Inspired Dress

I try not to make separate posts for indoor pictures since they are never that great. But it’s already been a couple week since I finished this project and it might be a couple more before I have outdoor photos, so this will have to do!

Overall i’m really happy with this costume. I love the dress, headpiece, and how they look together. I’m pretty happy with how my wig and makeup turned out too! But I don’t love these pictures. I wanted the dress to be long and flowing but it’s a little too…flat.

I think next time i’ll wear it with a petticoat to get a bit more volume. I posted a video (here) of me spinning in it to get the hem laid out for photos – the volume it has in motion is something I want to carry over into photos as well. But that is an easy fix and not related to the dress itself, just the way it’s worn in the future.

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And some portraits taken a few days later. I was trying out a new lighting setup, which I really liked, but I didn’t like the background. Going to change that next time!

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Thanks for reading! A “The making of” post should be up on Monday!

 

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Making Brown Taffeta Breeches

With Cinderella done I can go back to my twice weekly updates! I’ve spent the last month trying to get my youtube videos on a schedule, and coordinating blog posts with those. I think that’s caused me to neglect blogging a bit and i’ve ended up with really long posts once a week instead of shorter ones twice weekly. That has caused a huge backlog of blog posts about projects I haven’t been filming and it’s a bit of a mess!

But i’m going to try and get it sorted out. And i’m starting with a project I began more than six months ago.

In November I made a Beaded Doublet from a variety of brown materials, lace, and pearls. I was quite happy with the finished doublet, but lacked the motivation to make the rest of the ensemble at that time. I started work on the matching pants in January and finished them in April. The tunic was finished a month later, and the hat was made two weeks ago (about an hour before I decided I wanted to photograph the costume that same day).

So after eight months of work I finally have my menswear ensemble! And now I want to make another one. Maybe if I start now it’ll be done before 2016?

Today i’ll talk about the pants or breeches, if you want a more historically correct term. Much like the doublet, this costume is really lacking in the accuracy department. It’s based off of paintings that I liked and has elements from a slew of different centuries. Going along with that theme I didn’t research or make these the historical way at all. 

I started with a home made pattern. I can’t remember how I got to this point (it was a while ago). I think I used a pattern I drafted last year as a base for the crotch slopes, then altered the length and amount of fabric in the hips. I’m pretty sure I made a mock up first and ended up removing a lot of material from the hips.

This is what the lining layer looked like once it was cut out and pinned to the brown polyester taffeta, which will be the front layer of the pants.

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I cut the lining and front panels out together to make sure everything was the same size, but they were assembled separately. The taffeta layer was done first. I marked the darts out with chalk, then sewed them.

I’m pretty sure mens pants didn’t have darts in the 1600s, but men probably weren’t working with a twelve inch hip/waist difference either.

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Here are the darts sewn and ironed. At this point I realized that I got a good batch of polyester taffeta. Some poly taffetas are like tarp material and will not take on any shape without becoming a puckered mess. This stuff was really thin and pressed very nicely, which was great! Especially since I only paid $8 for the two yards.

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Here you can see the taffeta layer and the cotton side by side.

I left the front seven inches of the crotch open. Instead of sewing that part closed I turned the edges over by a half inch and covered the raw edge with a two inch wide strip of fusible interfacing. Eventually I’ll add eyelets to each side of the opening, which will be used to close the pants once they are worn. The interfacing will prevent the fabric from warping as badly and make the eyelets more durable.

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I attached them with the wrong sides facing each other so the frayed side seams are hidden. I did that by machine sewing them together at the waist and cuffs. At the front opening I whip stitched them together by hand.

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I sort of cartridge pleated the cuffs. I use that term loosely because it was really just two rows of large basting stitches that I pulled on until the cuffs were the correct width. I did use a strip of flannel to bulk up the taffeta and make the “pleats” look a little nicer.

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At this point they started to look like pants! And I could try them on!

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Not a flattering angle for me and taken shortly after Christmas snacking, but the fit was good! A little volume in the sides, no wonky crotch, no saggy butt. Not perfect but compared my previous pant making disasters experiences I was happy.

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I sewed eyelets into the front panels. Looking back I realize these should have been much closer together. They are a whole inch and three quarters apart, what was I thinking?!

But other than that they are fine.

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I cut out a waistband from the jacquard I used for part of the doublet. This is a simple two inch wide strip with interfacing on the back to make it a little sturdier.

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I turned the edges over and whip stitched it onto the pants. Then I added two eyelets to either side so it could lace up as well. I did this step a few weeks after the worn picture above and by this point they were a little big in the waist! So I gathered the center back down just the tiniest bit before attaching the waistband.

When it was finished I cut a strip of cotton and pinned it over the raw edges, this will serve as lining.

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I repeated this same process – though on a smaller scale – on the cuffs. They got the same jacquard band and cotton lining treatment.

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And I had a completed pair of pants! I probably could have made these in a day or two if I had really tried, but the timeline doesn’t matter, what matters is that I did finish them and they actually fit.

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I don’t have any pictures of the way the crotch and waistband looked (it’s all hidden by the doublet) but here is a side shot.

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And the back. Okay the fit in the back isn’t great. The gathers at the waistband make it look wedgie-ish than they are. They were actually pretty comfortable to wear on the mile long trek we took in the woods to get these pictures.

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More photos soon along with the post about the hat and tunic. I didn’t do a very good job documenting the process of either of those things, but I’ll try to cobble together post about them.

Thanks for reading!

 

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Making a Cinderella Inspired Dress, Part Two

We are onto the final blog post about Cinderella! And more exciting than that, once I finish writing this I don’t have to see the dress ever again!

Can you tell i’m still a bit annoyed about how frustrating this project has been? I was so looking forward to having a fun/sparkly/easy side project. I expected it to take two weeks, if that, and here we are two months later and it’s only just been finished. Sometimes projects don’t go as planned, and this one definitely didn’t.

But it’s done! And it actually came out pretty cute.

I made the skirt from two rectangles and a lot of gored panels (which were just rectangles cut in half diagonally). The fabric wasn’t wide enough to cut it as a partial circle skirt, otherwise I would have done that.

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All the pieces were sewn together with the wrong sides together, then the edges were trimmed and sewn into french seams.

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Since the skirt was made from rectangles and triangles the hem was pretty blocky and uneven. I cut one half to the shape I wanted, then used that side as a guide for cutting the other half.

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After being ironed, this is what it looked like!

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It was really sheer, so I decided to use chiffon as lining. I used the skirt as a guide to cut the chiffon down to be the same size….or at least close to the same size. I did a sloppy job on this part!

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I sewed up the back edge of the chiffon with a french seam. Then the lamé layer was pinned to the chiffon, with the right sides facing each other.

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I sewed a half inch away from the hem.

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Then I turned it the right way out and stitched a quarter inch away from the hem.

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And I also sewed across the waistline to prevent the chiffon from drooping down and being visible.

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I knife pleated the top of the skirt down to twenty five inches.

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And sewed across the top.

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I cut a slit up the back to help me get the skirt on and off. I used bias tape to finish the raw edges, but I didn’t take photos of that part.

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I made the last minute decision to add a ruffle. I felt like the hem was missing something and when in doubt always add ruffles.

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For the skirt overlay I gathered a five yard block of tulle down to the same waist measurement, then sewed it to the top of the skirt. I like the effect this gives, but I really needed more tulle. If I did things again I would probably use ten or fifteen yards of tulle, and have two separate layers. That would create way more volume and give the skirt a nicer silhouette. It would also hide the seams in the lamé a bit better.

I think the way it looks now you can kind of tell it needs more tulle. It just doesn’t look right to me.

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But I carried on! I trimmed the hem of the tulle to match the hem of the skirt.

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And the final step was attaching a waistband. I made mine from more lamé which was fused to interfacing to add the necessary stiffness.

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The waistband got pinned on, then sewn. I also sewed a snap onto the centerback to keep it closed. I opted to keep the skirt separate from the bodice just to make it easier to get into and store. But I can always sew them together later on if I feel like it.

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Now, with the skirt finished, it’s time to complete the bodice. In my last post I had the bodice mostly finished, it was just missing the collar and sleeves. So those are the things i’ll be talking about today.

The gown in the film doesn’t have sleeves, but puff sleeves flatter my arms nicely and I think they work well with the dress design. The pre-transformation dress had puff sleeves, so who says the transformed ball gown shouldn’t?

I made the sleeves similar to the ones on 19th century ball gowns. Which means they are short, sheer, with boning in the cuff. I started by cutting two three yard lengths of tulle.

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Then I gathered the sleeves at one end, about an inch away from the edge. This edge will be the cuff and this gathering creates a cute one inch ruffle.

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I pinned the tulle onto my sleeve pattern.

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Then sewed around the top so they would hold that shape. I decided my sleeves were a bit long so I sewed one inch away from that line. I also sewed ribbon across the gathering at the cuff. This ribbon was supposed to be a boning channel but the boning kept getting caught on the tulle. If I forced it, it would tear.

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So I sewed tiny strips of lamé overtop the ribbon, then inserted the boning into that, which totally worked! I also trimmed the sleeves down to the line I sewed across the top.

I pinned the sides to make sure they fit (they did) then sewed them up.

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Pretty little finished sleeves~

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Those got sewn onto the bodice with a whip stitch.

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I made the collar from two rectangles of lamé and two of tulle. I think these were about ten inches wide and twenty something inches long. The tulle was cut to be fifteen inches longer since I had planned on tying the ends into a bow at the front.

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I pinned the right sides together and sewed the rectangles into tubes. This is what they looked like when turned the right way out.

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I gathered one end of each tube down to about an inch. This will be the center point of the collar and attach to the center front of the bodice neckline.

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It was at this point that I started pinning the collar on. I tried the bodice on with the collar and hated it. The proportions were really off and it didn’t look the way I wanted at all. I decided the only way to fix it was by lowering the neckline. So I used a sharpie to draw a “V” in the center and chopped off three inches. The edges got finished with ribbon so it won’t fray.

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Then I pinned the collar on again. I was much happier with it this time!

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I decided against the bow – it looked silly on the bodice. So I ended up cutting most of the tulle off and wrapping the few remaining inches around the gathered parts of the collar. This hid the stitching.

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I finished the bodice off with little fabric flowers which I got from Joanns. I pinned three onto the cuff of each sleeve and three to the center point of the collar.

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With those sewn on it was finished!

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I paired the costume with a home made headband. I sewed iridescent beads and more ribbon flowers to a dyed strip of organza. This adds a little sparkle to the wig without destroying it with E6000 and rhinestones.

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Here is a closeup of the bodice. I liked the webcam photos of this a lot more than the ones taken with my nice camera (the lighting makes them a bit weird looking) but i’ll post those below as well!

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Considering all the struggles I had with the first half of this project, I’m pretty happy with the end result. I think the bodice especially ended up really cute. If I were to do it again I would add several more tulle overlays to the skirt. I would also use a different lining fabric for the bodice. One of my favorite things about the live action dress were the different textures in it (the skirt, collar, and bodice were all completely different). But my dress only has one texture – and even though it’s a pretty texture,  it’s all the same all over so it lacks visual interest.

I’d also set the eyelets properly the first time and make the bodice a little differently. If I had done that the first time I would have enjoyed this project way more!

Thank you for sticking with me – hopefully my next project will go a little better!

 
18 Comments

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

 

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Heinrich Mücke Inspired Dress, Part Two

The procrastination project continues! Earlier this week I wrote about the process of making the lining and sleeves. That post can be read here. I didn’t mention this last time, but I “vlogged” (I hate that word) about making this dress on youtube. For the five days I worked on it I took short clips about my goals and how it progressed. I edited them into two videos and if you are interested in seeing those they can be found here!

Starting where the last post left off, I went ahead and gathered the tops of the sleeves and sewed them onto the bodice lining. I didn’t figure out a way to make these more opaque with the materials I had on hand, so I left them the way they were. Luckily as the project has gotten closer to completion the sheerness has grown on me!

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DSC_5020With the sleeves finished I switched to working on the skirt overlay. I started by cutting out a big rectangle, which was a little more than four yards wide and fifty sevenish inches long. I turned the bottom edge over by a half inch and basted it down by hand.DSC_5015I pinned that edge up to create a two and a half inch wide hem.DSC_5022And sewed it down with a cross stitch. I haven’t hemmed anything this way in a while because it is a little more time consuming than a whip stitch, and takes a lot more thread which makes it more prone to tangling. But this project reminded me how nice it looks from the outside of the fabric, you can hardly even see the stitches!DSC_5025The top eight inches of each edge got rolled over twice and stitched down with a whip stitch. I did this on the lining layer as well. It gets left open when I sew up the back seam and gives me a way to get the dress on and off.

DSC_5026I used my machine to gather the top down to twenty seven inches.DSC_5028Then I attached it to the bias tape I made earlier. I cut a fifty seven inch long piece of bias tape and sewed the center twenty seven inches over the raw edge of the skirt. I whip stitched both ends (which were fifteen inches long each) shut so I could tie them into a bow at the back of the skirt.DSC_5029I did up the back seam with a half inch wide french seam. Which doesn’t sound hard, and it wouldn’t be with more fabrics,  but this material is incredibly difficult to work with. It acts almost like a very tightly woven silk chiffon. Even my finest needle which was changed right before working on this caused tons of pulls when sewing a simple seam. Luckily they mostly ironed out, but it was really annoying!DSC_5037And here the skirt is, looking all nice and pretty on my dress form! At this point the skirt was complete so I moved on to the bodice.DSC_5031The bodice will have a draped gathered overlay on it, which is something I have very limited experience with, so I was a bit nervous. I took my remaining fabric and cut it into three rectangle, which got sewn together. Then I gathered the lower edge down to the width of the waist of the bodice.DSC_5039I pinned the wrong side of the gathered rectangles to the right side of the bodice. Then I sewed across the bottom.DSC_5040Then I started on the tricky part, pulling, gathering, and manipulating the fabric into a visually pleasing overlay. It looks great, right? The image below just has things roughly pinned in an attempt to get the fabric evenly distributed over the neckline. The next step  was gathering pieces by hand and basting them to the neckline. And of course, trimming away a ton of material so I could ease the overlay across the shoulder and around the armholes.DSC_5043After a bit (okay, a lot) of work I had something much more attractive.DSC_5049

DSC_5047I left the fabric around the zipper opening loose, since it will be stitched down in a specific way to cover the zipper. I have to wait until the zipper is attached before doing this, so it stayed open for quite a while.DSC_5050I tried it on to make sure it fit okay and didn’t create a “snowman effect” which happened with the gathered bodice for my christmas costume. It sort of did but I was able to mostly fix it by pulling it down in certain areas to create more tension and smooth it out.

Unfortunately since this bodice doesn’t have boning in it or anything to help keep its shape, the whole tension thing didn’t really work. It just pulled up the layer of suiting which made it rest a half inch higher on my waist. I’m really annoyed about this. It was coming along so well and actually looked pretty flattering! And this sort of ruined that. It wasn’t a mistake I could really fix since I had already trimmed the overlay fabric down, and even if I hadn’t, ripping stitching out of this material would be impossible.

I had no choice but to move on. So I did. I sewed the overlay down around the neckline, sleeves, and shoulders. Then I covered the neckline with more home made bias tape and stitched it down by hand.DSC_5053To help with the length problem just a little I decided to cover the raw edge at the waist with one inch wide bias tape, then top stitch the skirt layers onto the bias tape. This doesn’t make the bodice longer, but it does prevent me from losing the half inch seam allowance.DSC_5058Then it was time for beading. I decided to stitch a row of gold sequins across the bottom of the bias tape at the neckline, then another row extending down from every other sequin to create gradient type of effect. In the center of each sequin there is a red seed bead. This took three or four hours to do, which was wayy longer than I had expected. It’s a little more subtle than I had wanted, but I think it adds a lot to the bodice so it was worth the time it took to do it!

I chose to take a close up of the first section I did, which was a bad idea. The rest of it looks much cleaner, I promise.DSC_5060Here it is on the dress form.DSC_5061 I decided to make beaded tassels for one of the additional waist ties. I’ve never done this before and didn’t research how to do it, so it ended up taking hours and the end result isn’t that great. But I like how they look with the finished dress!

The one on the right was my second attempt. It took half the amount of time, used fewer beads, and looks way cleaner. So I think if I made these again it would be much faster and yield better results.

DSC_5067And that’s everything for the bodice! So back to focusing on the skirt. I sewed the skirt lining onto the bias tape on the bodice.DSC_5064

DSC_5072…Which made my dress too small to fit over the shoulders of my dress form. So here is how it looks hanging up!DSC_5069I sewed the zipper in (I did an awful job because I was feeling lazy and knew it wouldn’t be visible. I’m a bit ashamed of that) and top stitched the skirt overlay on.

The bodice overlay got tacked around the zipper and it was done! I’m very happy with this dress. It might not be the best thing i’ve made when it comes to quality of stitch work, but I think it’s really pretty and I know i’ll enjoy wearing it!

The weather where I live has been overcast all week, so I haven’t had enough sunlight to take worn photos. But that will probably change in a few days so I’ll have some worn photos to post soon!DSC_5077Here are some close ups for now.DSC_5558

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I’ve also made a headpiece (well, two headpieces, not sure which i’ll use) out of wooden skewers, sequins, beads, and dried flowers which are all mounted on plastic headbands. I think this will pair really nicely with the dress and give a similar appearance to the spiky brush strokes that were used to create the appearance of a halo in some renaissance portraiture.

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

 

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Heinrich Mücke Inspired Dress, Part One

Last week I shared the making of my Cinderella dress, which I actually finished today (thank god), that project has been frustrating, to say the least. Part way through I decided I needed to take a break, which meant it was time for a procrastination project!

I decided to begin work on something I mentioned in my Progress Report. I’ve had this project in mind for a while and I knew it would be relatively easy to make, so I got to work! In total this dress took five days to make, and sixty dollars worth of materials. I used sari fabric from Joanns, and a matching suiting for lining. I also raided my beading collection and used some sequins and seed beads for embellishments.

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This project is based on a dress from a painting called “The Body of Saint Catherine of Alexandria Borne to Heaven by Angels” it was painted by Mucke Heinrich. I love this painting, I think it’s really pretty. And even though the dresses shown are simple, I really like them.

The image below does not belong to me and was taken from this page.

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I drew up a quick little sketch as well. I decided that it would have a structured base out of suiting, with the sari fabric draped overtop. The sleeves would be large with little ties at the wrist, which match larger ones at the waist. The neckline would be finished with bias tape and have sequins sewn on to cover the seam.

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Step one was draping the pattern. This is a super simple three piece pattern, which will actually end up being a four piece pattern since the front and back seams are cut on the fabrics folded edge.

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Once removed from the dress form it looked like this! It was pretty rough around the edges so I did some trimming before tracing it for my paper pattern.

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After things were straightened out, I traced each piece and added seam allowances. The pattern looked like this.

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I turned that into a mock up (made of cute puppy dog fabric, of course). I was pretty pleased with the fit. I just wanted to deepen the neckline  a little and lengthen the waistline by a half inch.

After a big of fiddling,  I decided this dress would close with a zipper up the back side seam. It makes getting it on a bit of a struggle, but it’s really the only seam I can hide it in.

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With the alterations made I cut out my pattern. The two panels shown below are the ones the zipper gets inserted into. Instead of being sewn together with a seam both edges get turned over by a half inch.

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But the rest of the seams get sewn the way you would expect. This is actually the wrong side of the bodice, which will be facing the interior. As I said earlier the suiting is the lining, and the sari fabric will be draped overtop which will hide the raw edges.

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Here the bodice is with the shoulder seam done up and the right side facing out. I know it looks a bit messy, but that is unavoidable with these things! I also chose to stitch a half inch away from each edge, this creates a guideline for where to attach the bias tape.

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Speaking of bias tape, the next step was using some to cover the raw edges around the arm holes.

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With that done I placed it on my dress form. I think it looks a lot better this way! And this is actually the last step about making the bodice lining, because everything else has to be done after the overlay is attached!

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With the bodice lining “done” I moved onto the skirt. The skirt is a four yard wide, fifty four inch long rectangle. The top eight inches of the two raw edges got turned over twice and sewn down. This will be the opening for the skirt.

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Then I pleated the top down to twenty seven inches. I had to do this part twice since I sort of messed up on the measurements and it ended up four inches too small….

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Here it is on the dress form. The hem is really long, but I kind of like that. It reminds me of my Pleated Navy Gown, which is so long that it’s impossible to walk in. Though not very practical, it looks really nice in photos, so I decided to leave it.

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I used horsehair braid to hem it. I’ve shown this process before, but it doesn’t hurt to show it again! It gets sewn on to the right side of the fabric, with a half inch seam allowance.

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Then rolled over, twice, so it’s on the wrong side of the fabric. Then it gets stitched down again.

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With that done I did up the back with a french seam, leaving the top six inches or so open so the zipper can be sewn in  later on.

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The skirt can’t be attached until the bodice overlay has been draped, so this is pretty much it for the lining layer! I think the lining actually looks pretty nice on it’s own. This would be a fun dress to make in a day if you used prettier fabrics.

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But that would be far to simple for me, so of course I have to add an overlay, waist ties, and sleeves…

I’ve leave the making of the overlay for my next post, but I will show how I made the sleeves. I started by drafting a quick sleeve pattern. It has a lightly sloped top and is wider at the wrist than the top, but it’s pretty damn similar to a rectangle. So it doesn’t make the most flattering sleeves, but they are full and pretty!

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Here they are cut from the sari fabric. This fabric is kind of odd, it has big bullseye stains dyed into it at various points throughout. I think it looks fine in the finished dress, but when laid out flat it looks like the fabric has been shot and is bleeding!  It seems really out of place with the subtle mottled dye the rest of the fabric has.

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I turned the lower few inches of the edges over by a quarter inch and sewed it down with a whip stitch.

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Then I gathered the bottoms down to six and a half inches.

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I made little ties for the wrist out of bias cut strips of the fabric. I folded the edges inward, then folded the strip in half. The gathered edge of the sleeve gets tucked into the folded strip so the raw edge is hidden.

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The ties were sewn on, and the edges that weren’t folded were sewn shut with small whip stitches. Here are the sleeves with the bottoms nicely finished.

I wasn’t super happy with these, even though I liked how the gathers and ties looked. They were a lot more sheer than I had expected, which makes my arms really visible through them, and I didn’t want that. But the fit of the bodice makes undersleeves impossible and I didn’t have enough fabric leftover to line them. So I decided to live with it and move on!

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I did up the back seam with a french seam. The tops still need to be gathered and attached to the bodice, but i’ll go over that in my next post.

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So that’s it for today!

Thank you for reading.

 

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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!

 
6 Comments

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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