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Making a Pleated Navy Gown, Part One

14 Mar

Today (well, yesterday) I was supposed to post about finishing my Fluffy & Feathered dress. Unfortunately I didn’t get around to taking the photos required for that post, so that couldn’t happen. However, I have a new project to talk about, which is always exciting!

Right now i’m not in a very positive place project wise. I’ve hit a lot of roadblocks with my tudor costume and realized I have to accept that it won’t turn out the way I wanted. That is a very frustrating position to be in, even if it is part of learning.

After two days of moping around and doing a whole lot of nothing I decided it was time for a procrastination project! I was aiming for this to be a forty eight hour project, but due to some setbacks it ended up becoming a seventy eight hour project. Oops.

My main inspiration for this dress was this painting, and how Saints were depicted in [early] Renaissance times. I’ve wanted to make something soft and draped for a long time, so this seemed like a good opportunity! I decided to use navy satin faced chiffon for the dress and brocades for an undershirt.

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Since chiffon is sheer and far too flimsy to make a dress with this shape I’m lining it with navy gabardine – I’ve had this fabric for a good two years so I was happy to find a use for it!

I had five yards of gabardine and seven yards of chiffon for this dress and I used almost every scrap, so that worked out well!

This is the sloppy little sketch I did before starting.

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Step one was draping the bodice! I still really need to make a proper write up on how I do this…but I really don’t have a specific method, I just pull the fabric around until it fits the form tightly. Then I draw the seam lines and trim any extra material.

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After I was happy with it I removed the fabric from my dress form and ironed it. This is what it looked like when laid flat!

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 Which got turned into this.

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 Unfortunately since I was trying to make this quickly and because I worked on it at night, I wasn’t very good about photographing the process.

Luckily it is pretty easy to explain! I started by cutting the pattern from gabardine, which will be used as the bodice lining and as a base. This post is going to be almost entirely about working with the gabardine, since I had to completely assemble a skirt and bodice with it before even touching the chiffon. The chiffon gets draped overtop of the gabardine later on.

Once the  pattern was cut I turned the edges over by a half inch – I used my machine for this, which is kind of rare for me! Once the edges were finished I assembled the pieces. Below you can see the collar pinned in place, ready to be attached.

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 This is the bodice lining finished! I used an ivory jacquard for the center piece.

DSC_3167 And here is the first fitting. In my rush to make this I neglected to do a mock up, so I was thrilled to see it actually worked!

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Then it was time to start on the skirt. I chose to make the skirt a rectangle since those are fast, easy, and an effective use of material.

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I decided to hem the gabardine layer with horsehair braid to give it a bit more volume. This is cheap, kind of crappy horsehair so it didn’t add much “oomf” to the dress, but it certainly didn’t hurt!

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And here it is on a dress form! I’m intentionally leaving the hem very long, because it was quite common in paintings from the middle ages. And it helps differentiate it from my other dresses, which I like.

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The last step before beginning work with chiffon was adding the lace up front panel. Since I was working under time constraints I decided to just stitch it down instead of making functional laces.

The panel is cut from jacquard, then I used a piece of lace as an overlay to add texture.

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The lace was gathered overtop the front panel, then stitched down.

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I made marks every three quarter inches down each side, then cut pieces of leather covered cord. These will serve as the “laces”. I used a tiny stitch length and backstitched over the ends of the cord to make sure they were secured over the markings I made earlier on.

This was the end result!

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Ok so it looks like a big mess. But I promise it turns out okay!

Thank you for reading, and hopefully I will be better about posting next week!

 

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7 responses to “Making a Pleated Navy Gown, Part One

  1. Ynhoia

    March 15, 2015 at 4:42 am

    I really appreciate your work, I’m a fashion student now, and u are one of my biggest inspirations to do what I want. Thanks for showing your lovely work n_n (and sorry for my bad english).
    Go girl! You are really talented.
    Have a nice day❤

     
    • Angela Clayton

      March 20, 2015 at 5:42 pm

      You’re really sweet, thank you! I hope you have a nice day too.

       
  2. Lady Earlene

    March 15, 2015 at 5:05 am

    I love your blog posts on costuming Angela. The way you detail the process is so helpful for me as a writer. My mother sews beautifully but I have no talent for it and your posts help me understand the details that I need for a seamstress character.

    Thank you for your gorgeous costumes and your excellent descriptions. =) Keep sewing, you are so talented!

     
    • Angela Clayton

      March 20, 2015 at 5:42 pm

      That is really neat – thank you for the kind words!

       
  3. Stephanie

    March 15, 2015 at 9:06 am

    You are so very talented! I enjoy reading your posts and seeing your videos on YouTube! You are such an inspiration! I also really enjoy your commentary in your posts about mistakes and fixes…you are so funny! But, with that, you show the process of imperfections and when you are completed with the projects…it’s pure perfection!!

     
    • Angela Clayton

      March 20, 2015 at 5:42 pm

      Thank you so much! I’m glad you enjoy them!

       
  4. Auraelai

    July 12, 2015 at 7:06 pm

    I really love seeing your work and the process behind it, I’ve just recently got into costume design and sewing myself and am very interested in seeing the different techniques you use to make your pieces. I actually had a question about the horsehair, is that normally used in hemming? I’ve never heard of it before, but I’m interested in using it if it will help make my pieces look more professional. That said, I must tell you how talented you are and what a blessing it is to see such beautifully handmade costume pieces!

     

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