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Category Archives: Renaissance

Gold and Ivory Gown, Photos

Here is the photo set that I promised! I didn’t think I would have these finished until tomorrow, but I got them done a day early (this may be the lamest Christmas miracle ever) so here they are.

For the third year in a row my dad and I went to a Christmas Tree Farm and asked if we could take photos. The people that own the farm said yes, so we spent a good hour taking pictures and looking for the best clusters of trees that would make a nice backdrop.

Last year our trip there wasn’t very successful since the dress didn’t really suit the environment. But this time it went wonderfully! I think the contrast of the white dress against the green is striking, and the headpiece works nicely with the surroundings. Plus it was a really nice day, which helped.

Usually I only post eight or so photos, but I couldn’t narrow it down this time so i’m posting double that!

If you’ve missed my “The Making of” posts about this project, they can be read here, here, and here. I also have videos about making it which are posted here.


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These ones turned out a little odd thanks to shadows from a tree that I didn’t notice until we got home. But I still like the pictures!

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And that’s it! This is definitely my last post before Christmas, and mostly likely my last post of the new year. I hope you all have a fantastic holiday (or week, if you don’t celebrate any of them) and a great start to the new year!

Thanks for reading!

 

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Making a Gold and Ivory Gown, Part Three

We are onto the final post about this dress! This one will cover the process of making the skirt. The first post about this dress can be read here, and the second is posted here.

The skirt is really pretty basic, since it’s just a giant rectangle. I had four yards of fabric leftover after making the sleeves (which is weird since i’m 90% sure I only bought four yards) and my material was sixty-one inches wide. That was a little long, so I trimmed five inches off the bottom.

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Then I folded the bottom edge inward by a half inch and sewed it down with basting stitches.

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Then folded the edge up by an inch and a half and pinned it in place. This way the raw edge was hidden and I had a wider hem, which will look smooth once ironed.

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I sewed that down with a cross stitch, which is my favorite hemming stitch. I think it’s a lot of fun to do, but I don’t like how much thread it takes up.

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I decided I wanted the skirt to close with hooks and bars at the centerback of the dress. But I didn’t want the stitching that attached the bars to be visible from the front side of the fabric.

So I made a facing for the back sides of the skirt out of a rectangle of cotton. I turned over the edges, then sewed them onto the back edges of the skirt, with the right sides of the fabric facing each other.DSC_9711

When the rectangle of fabric was turned over and pinned down I had a nicely finished edge and a base to mount my hooks!

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That got sewn on with whip stitches.

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Then I secured my hooks/bars onto that. These are spaced between one and a half and two inches apart, and I used black size 2 hooks. I would have used silver ones, but I didn’t have any.

The stitch work on these isn’t the prettiest, but at least you can’t tell from the outside of the skirt!

I really need to get better at sewing these on, I find them really frustrating, which shows in how the stitching ends up looking. My main problem is the thread getting tangled/caught on them, and how difficult it is to hold them in place while sewing them on. Any tips for that would be much appreciated!

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The back of the skirt got sewn up with a half inch french seam. I left the top few inches (that have the facing and hooks attached) open, and tapered the stitching down from that point into the half inch seam allowance. This way it doesn’t look abrupt or wonky from the outside.

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Then I gathered the skirt down. This part didn’t go very well. Even though this brocade is medium weight, it has a lot of body to it which made it a pain to gather. I did it by hand the first time, but my thread broke when I got to the end.

So I switched to doing it by machine. It took three passes to get it down to forty-five inches, then I used upholstery thread and gathered it down by hand to get it down to twenty seven.

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The gathers looked pretty decent but unfortunately I messed them up. I sewed the skirt onto the bodice from the backside, and ended up shifting some of the gathers around so they looked good from the backside. That was a mistake, because from the front they looked really lumpy and uneven.

That’s why it’s a better idea to sew densely gathered skirts on from the front side. And I should know that, I just forgot the day I sewed this skirt on…

The brocade used for the bodice is pretty delicate, and I didn’t want to damage it by removing and resewing on the skirt. So I left it as is. Which is another silly decision because the lower inch or two of the bodice is covered by ribbon, so if the brocade got a little banged up it wouldn’t matter, the ribbon would cover it.

It seems really obvious looking back at it, but it didn’t at the time. So that’s why my gathers don’t look great on this one 😦

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I sewed the ribbon around the waistline of the bodice.

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Then I made the bow! I cut my remaining ribbon into three pieces, then sewed them together so I had a much wider piece of ribbon. This got sewn into a circle, then I pressed down in the center of the circle to create two evenly sized loops. I secured the loops with thread, then gathered the middle slightly and wrapped a scrap of ribbon around the center.

I love this bow. Maybe not as much as the ones on the cuffs, but it’s pretty close!

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I sewed one side of the bow onto the bodice. The other side is secured with a small snap. One half of the snap is stitched onto the underside of the bow, and the other onto the ribbon at the waist of the bodice. When the bow is snapped in place the center of it alights perfectly with the center back of the bodice.

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And that’s it! When I wore it for photos I put two fake cardinals on my shoulders. My wig kind of ate them but I thought they looked cute.

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I paired this with my wigfashion lace front (I wouldn’t recommend this wig, but I like how it looks here) and the Christmas Crown I made last year from things I got from Michaels. I actually have a tutorial about that crown here, if you’re interested. The full photo set of this ensemble will be in a few minutes, but here is a preview.

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Overall thoughts: I like how this turned out. Especially when it’s worn and paired with the headpiece and red lipstick. I think the contrast between the ribbons and the brocade is lovely, and I adore the bows and bodice detailing. It’s not my favorite thing i’ve made this year, but i’m happy with it. Especially considering it was made in a week from (mostly) things I already had, and without a clear picture of what I was making in my mind.

It isn’t as grand as my previous years costume, but it’s definitely better made! I don’t think I had any major construction or fit problems this year. If I did it again I would be more careful when attaching the skirt, and probably bone the back of the bodice a bit more heavily because I had some buckled bones at that point (oops) but there aren’t any raw edges or loose threads or issues that had me stumped for days on end. So that’s progress!

Thanks for reading! I hope you are enjoying the holiday season so far, or the time of work if you don’t celebrate any of them.

 

Making a Gold and Ivory Gown, Part Two

It’s time for the second post about making this years holiday dress! Part one can be read here and is about making the bodice. Today i’ll be going over how I made the sleeves, which i’m excited about because they are my favorite part of this dress. I wasn’t expecting to like them so much, since they are really simple, but I adore how the cuffs turned out. They have little bows on them so my wrists feel like presents!

I started by drafting a full length puff sleeve pattern. They flare out more at the bottom, so they have a slight bell shape but are pretty full at the top too. I probably would have made these wider but I was working with fabric limitations. I’m kind of happy the fabric restricted me, because the shape worked out really nicely and they probably wouldn’t have looked right if they were any bigger.

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I turned the bottom five inches of the sleeves edge inward by a half inch and sewed it down. Then turned it inward again so the raw edge was hidden, and sewed it in place with a whip stitch. I did this because the lower few inches of these sleeves have to be left open to allow my hand to pass through.  My hands are too big to fit if they are sewn closed all the way to the wrist cuff!

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I also gathered the lower edge of the sleeve down to my wrists circumference by hand with a running stitch that was pulled taught as I went.

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Then I cut out the lining for the cuffs, which are just rectangles of quilters cotton. I marked guidelines an inch away from each edge, then folded the raw edge up so it touched that line and sewed it in place.

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This way every edge of my cuff was finished.

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I pinned my sleeves onto the cuffs, with all the raw edges facing upward. Then sewed it down with my machine.

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The gathered edge was quite bulky so I topstitched over it several times until it became relatively flat. The backside of these did not look pretty, but they are functional, which is what matters most when it comes to the interiors of garments!

Since these cuffs are very fitted I decided to use hook/eye closures. I sewed two of these into each cuff – one at the top, one at the bottom.

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My cuffs fit perfectly at this point, but I realized later that I actually made them too small. The cotton had a tiny bit of stretch to it, so they eased nicely over my wrists. Once I added the top layer of fabric (which didn’t have ANY stretch) to the cuffs, they became much more difficult to hook up and I was left with some red marks after wearing them for long periods of time. Silly mistake on my part.

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Once the hooks were sewn in I trimmed the frayed edges at the cuffs.

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Then I cut out two pieces of ribbon and stitched them over the top side of the cuff, so all the ugly bits were hidden.

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Doesn’t that look so much better?

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Now it was time to make the bows for the cuffs. Here are the two lengths of ribbon I cut for them – I’d say I used around ten inches of ribbon for each one. I sewed the ends of the ribbon together so I had two circles, then pressed down in the center of the circle so I had two even loops.

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I wanted to use the same ribbon for the centers of the bows, but this ribbon is awfully wide for the centers of such small bows. So I folded the velvet part of the ribbon towards the gold trim and sewed it down. This created a quarter inch wide fold that made my ribbon a half inch smaller, and much more appropriate for these bows.

(I take bows very seriously, clearly)

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Then I wrapped the smaller ribbon around the center of each bow and sewed the ends together. And tah-dah, perfect little bows!

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I was going to put these on the backs of the cuffs, but they were so cute that I decided to sew them onto the front instead. Here they are pinned in place.

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And sewn on!

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Then I sewed up the side seam with a french seam. Like I mentioned earlier, I left the lower few inches open so I can fit my hand through.

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I sewed the bottom half of the sleeve on first, then gathered the top half so it perfectly fit into the arm opening. Then it was sewed in place with a whip stitch. I’ve been doing puff sleeves this way a lot recently because it lets me better visualize how dense I want the gathers to be before sewing them, which I like.

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At this point the interior of the bodice wasn’t looking great. It isn’t that bad, but there are some frayed edges and knots of thread which aren’t nice to look at.

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So I cut out a layer of lining from quilters cotton.

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Pinned it in place.

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And sewed it in with a whip stitch.

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Then my bodice, and sleeves, were complete! It still doesn’t look like much. I think this bodice really comes to life when it’s worn, it’s quite…flat looking when it’s just laid out. Luckily I will have worn pictures to share very soon – they should be going up on Wednesday or Thursday.

DSC_9744The final “The making of” post and video about this project will be up tomorrow! And that will be followed by photos of the finished ensemble. I got behind on my Christmas related posts, so you will be getting a lot of posts at once (I hope you don’t mind too much)!

Really quickly I wanted to mention the Christmas themed headpiece I made. It isn’t exciting enough to get it’s own post, but I’m really happy with how it turned out so I wanted to share it with you guys. A tutorial on the process of making it can be watched here, and photos will be below!

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Thanks for reading!

 

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Making a Gold and Ivory Gown, Part One

It’s that time of the year again! The time where I make a dress inspired by my favorite holiday, which is Christmas.

In case you are new to my blog, this is my third year in a row making dresses with this theme. My previous two holiday inspired dresses  can be viewed here and here. And like last year i’m filming the process of making this, the videos about it will be posted here.

This years dress has proved to be more of a challenge than ever. Not because it was difficult to make, in fact the construction was a lot more straightforward on this dress than last years. The challenge was coming up with an idea, which is weird for me, usually the idea is the easy part!

The ideas behind my previous Christmas dresses were very solid in my head for a few weeks before I started working on them, which made the lack of inspiration about this years project all the more frustrating.

After a lot of consideration I’ve decided to make something simple. I think my problem was  trying to overcomplicate this project and come up with something really impressive. But I don’t feel like making a really complicated this year. I want to make something quite simple and pretty that goes with this headpiece that I made last year.

I’m making the design somewhat Angelic once again, with a fitted bodice, full length puffed sleeves, and a full skirt. It’s kind of a throwback to the Renaissance inspired dresses I made when I first got into historical sewing a couple years ago – but the construction will be much better.

Today i’ll be showing you my materials and how I made the bodice.

I’m using fabrics I already had around. The bolt  of striped brocade was picked up earlier this year, and the other brocades were bought last year. I’m also using a bit of off white chiffon. Ideally this dress would be made entirely out of the striped brocade, but I only have four yards. That’s enough to make a relatively full skirt and pair of sleeves, but not enough for the bodice. So that’s where the gold brocade on the left side will come in.

The chiffon is for a gathered panel at the front of the bodice, which will make it look like i’m wearing a chemise underneath the dress. The did this with a lot of Lucrezia’s dresses in “The Borgias” which is one of my favorite series and probably why i’m so obsessed with this style.

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Once I selected the materials from my stash I went on a little trip to joanns and browsed the Christmas selections with hopes of finding inspiration. I didn’t find too much, but I did get these cute little velvet birds, a gold cage, seasonal sprigs, and some braided trim. I really loved the little birds, and the contrast between the doves and cardinals. That was something I wanted to incorporate into my dress.

Once I got back home I discovered some red and gold ribbon that I bought a few years back (for 70c or something crazy, thanks to sales) which matched the little birds perfectly! So I chose to feature this ribbon prominently in the dress at the waist and cuffs. I also pulled some gold sequins, seed beads, and 4mm fake pearls from my stash which i’m going to use around the bodice neckline.

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With all that settled, I got to work on the bodice. Instead of drafting a new pattern I used a vest pattern I made a few years ago to wear with my Pretty Pirate Project. I altered it quite a lot but the shape is still the same. The main changes were making the neckline wider and deeper, lowering the waistline, and removing the side seams.

Then I cut out a layer of cotton and marked all the boning channels. I drew these out randomly, with most of the bones at the center and sides of the bodice. I went a little crazy with the boning channels, but i’m using all plastic bones, and to get a nice shape with them you have to go a bit overboard.

Also, since i’m using brocade which shows every flaw I wanted the bodice to have a very stiff, smooth base, which is the effect lots of plastic bones give you.

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I cut a layer of twill out and pinned them together, then sewed all the boning channels. This took a while but I like sewing boning channels, it becomes relaxing after a while.

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I used the twill/cotton layer as a guide to cut out the brocade layer of the bodice. Then I pinned them together with the right sides facing each other and sewed around each edge. This should have been really easy, but I did it wrong. Or at least I thought I did it wrong. So I cut a few slits in the brocade layer, then began seam ripping the stitching. Only to realize a minute later that I DID sew it the right way.

Would have been nice to realize that before I cut the fabric…

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Anyway! I redid it and it turned out fine. Then I added some lightweight fusible interfacing to the back edges of the bodice, so the eyelets will sit better in the brocade.

I also trimmed the curves and corners so everything would look sharp when it’s turned the right way out.

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Speaking of turning things the right way out, I spent half an hour doing just that. I used pliers and colored pencils to speed the process up but it still seemed to take ages. When I was finally done I pinned around the edges, making sure that none of the twill/cotton/base layer was visible from the front side of the bodice.

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I sewed around each edge with a whip stitch so the brocade layer wouldn’t move around and reveal the base layer. You can avoid doing this if you make the lining slightly smaller than the top layer of fabric, but I didn’t want to risk doing that when boning channels were involved.

I only grabbed a few threads from the top layer of fabric so none of these stitches are too visible.

When that was done I added boning to the bodice and tried it on – luckily it fit!

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Then I stitched all the eyelets. I had the realization last week that you can use embroidery floss for sewing eyelets and it is way easier to work with than regular thread. I don’t know why this never occurred to me – it’s so obvious! Embroidery floss for embroidered eyelets. Makes perfect sense.

With this newly discovered process I decided to be brave and sew eyelets in a contrasting color. I went for a cheery red shade that matches the ribbon i’m using at the waist~

Fun fact: Totally pricked my finger when I was doing this and now it’s infected (though the doctor I saw insists it’s a bruise – despite the swelling, redness, and pain). I have my fingers crossed (the ones that aren’t infected) that it will resolve itself soon.

But hey, that barely matters because the eyelets look super pretty!

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I also trimmed the bottom edge and sewed on bias tape to cover it.

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To create the gathered front panel I cut out a strip of chiffon. Then I folded it in half and hand stitched across the folded edge so it wouldn’t shift.

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I gathered it by hand at two points – one is three quarters of an inch away from the top edge, the other is half an inch away from the bottom edge.

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Then I sewed it into the bodice with small whip stitches.

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I liked how it looked, but when I tried it on the gathering stitches at the top snapped. So I regathered it down to twelve inches (instead of the eight it was gathered down to originally) then sewed some thin elastic at the gathering point. This holds it close to my body but gives it the ability to stretch if it needs to.

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With that done it was time to add the embellishments to the neckline.

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I alternated between 4mm fake pearls and gold seed beads, then whip stitched the strand in place. Below that I sewed a spattering of gold sequins on. It’s subtle, but I think it’s very pretty!

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I didn’t extend the beading to the back of the bodice because I didn’t have enough pearls. And beading on the backs of dresses is kind of a pain, hair gets caught in it so easily.

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And here it is with the shoulder seam done up! I did sew lining into the bodice but that step came after attaching the sleeves, so i’ll show that in another post.

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And here is a preview photo of what the whole thing looks like finished, because the details are so much clearer in this photo and I wanted to show how smooth the brocade looks. I’m quite proud of that!

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More photos and The Making of Posts about this project will be up soon!

Thanks for reading!

 

Heinrich Mücke Inspired Dress, Photos

I have some photos to share today! It’s been a while since i’ve gotten proper pictures of a costume, so I’m excited about these.

These photos were taken in a pumpkin patch and in front of a corn maze that a local farm had set up. I took pictures in one last year but didn’t plan on doing it again this year since I didn’t feel any of my costumes were appropriate for the location.  But when we passed by this one I changed my mind. Something about the color of the corn and the reds of changing trees reminded me of my Heinrich Dress.

So my dad and I got up early on a Saturday and drove out to the farm to get some pictures! It was kind of a frustrating shoot because the camera seemed determined to focus on the corn instead of me, and things looked overexposed no matter how much I fiddled with the settings. But things turned out okay! I ended up with a few shots I really love, and a half dozen more that i’m also happy with. I think the costume has a Harvest Princess kind of vibe to it in this setting, which I really like.

More information about this dress can be found here.

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I was either squinting or had my eyes closed in most of these because it was so sunny, but I’ve tried to pick the ones where it looks intentional.

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Fun fact about these photos: I was barefoot in all of them because I thought the skirt looked better that way!

That’s it! Thanks for reading! A ‘Making of’ post will be up later in the week.

 
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Posted by on October 26, 2015 in Completed Costumes, Renaissance

 

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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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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 Pleated Navy Gown, Part Two

The draped dress continues! Part One is posted here, it talks about making the lining for the dress, and though that was successful, it wasn’t looking very pretty. Today i’ll be adding the satin faced chiffon and making it look much better!

So this is the mess I left off with. The first step towards improving it was creating side panels from chiffon.

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But the chiffon is too delicate to keep the shape these panels require. So I backed them with a medium weight fusible interfacing.

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The edges got turned under, then the side seams were sewn.

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I removed the bodice lining from the dress form and pinned the side panels over it. I rested the bodice over an ironing ham to make sure the shape was right!

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Then the side pieces were sewn on with big basting stitches, these will get removed later on so the sleeves can be attached.

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Here is what it looks like on the form! Once it was pinned in place I could begin draping the chiffon overtop.

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I had this weird assumption that this part would be easy. I was wrong.

Granted my only experience with draping comes from watching Rami Kashou and Austin Scarlett do it on project runway, which apparently isn’t enough of an education to make my attempts turn out brilliantly on the first try.

After two – or maybe three, it all blended together in a big mess of frustration, hours I had something that looked decent! And kind of symmetrical. Not really symmetrical, but it was close(ish).

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I used large basting stitches and white thread to secure down all the pleats. My first plan was to sew them down by hand, which I did on the left side. After trying it on I realized it looked TERRIBLE. Even the tiniest stitches created a lot of puckers and it lost the effortless look I was going for. So that got ripped out.

You may notice the back left side looks a little weird. Because I was doing this in a dim room and didn’t realize I was working on the wrong side of the fabric, so that had to be ripped off and re draped.

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The back up plan of keeping everything when it should be involved ironing the crap out of it and hoping the pleats would stay in place, which totally worked!

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Now it was time to move onto the skirt! I cut out another large rectangle, but I made it a couple inches longer than the gabardine layer I cut for lining. I wanted to make sure the gabardine wasn’t visible at the hem, and since I wanted the skirt to drag it made a lot of sense to leave it extra long.

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After cutting the skirt to the proper length I had a three inch wide strip leftover. I folded that strip in half and ironed it so there was a sharp fold. Then I stitched the side with two raw edges onto the raw edge of the skirt.

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I treated it like you would any hem tape and turned it inward to the wrong side of the fabric, so the raw edge was hidden. I pinned this in place and then spent a few hours hemming the damn thing, doing my absolute best to avoid puckers.

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When that was finished I stitched the top of the skirt to the gabardine layer. Then I pleated the top into three quarter inch wide pleats. Two thirds of them face one direction, and one third faces the other.

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I attached a gabardine waistband to the skirt and turned the raw edge under so there was no added bulk at the waist. Then the raw edge was finished with home made bias tape to prevent fraying.

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With all that pinned to the dress form I had something resembling a dress!

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Now it was time for sleeves! The original plan was to have an undershirt made from brocade with fitted sleeves. I made the undershirt but I eventually realized the print was a little busier than I wanted, and I wasn’t happy with how it looked under my dress.

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So I scrapped it, and decided to make sleeves from ivory jacquard. Coming up with a pattern was a huge pain because the bodice has pointed arm holes, which are really difficult to set a sleeve into. The end result aren’t very pretty on the upper arm, but they are functional enough.

I didn’t take any pictures of the process, but here they are!

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Overtop of those sleeves I wanted draped sleeves that were open at the tops and nearly hit the floor. I was expecting this pattern to be quite complicated, but after cutting my remaining chiffon into two panels (40″ x 60″) and playing around I realized I could create a really pretty sleeve without cutting them at all!

This is just a rectangle pinned around the arm hole, and it falls really nicely.

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So I went with that! After making sure both rectangles were the same size I used a crayon to mark guidelines on the raw edges. The raw edges got turned inward by a half inch, twice, to prevent fraying.

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I stitched them down, which was time consuming since this fabric is so delicate.

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But the end result was really lovely. In this photo they are just pinned, but they got stitched on properly soon after. Both sleeves were sewn onto the lining, then the side panels of the bodice – which were previously basted in place, were stitched around the sleeves to hide any raw edges.

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The skirt got sewn onto the bodice, then I made a waistband to cover the raw edges. I wish I had enough chiffon leftover to make a blue sash, but the only remaining fabric was a 1/2″ wide strip of salvage. So Instead I used a piece of brocade. Brocade also got sewn on to create a collar.

Lastly I stitched eyelets into the back of the dress, I had originally stitched a zipper into the back but it wouldn’t zip smoothly past the bulk the pleated skirt created. But that’s okay, I like eyelets!

With that finished, the dress was done.

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Here are some worn pictures! I used the salvage strip of leftover fabric in the wig because I didn’t have a matching headpiece.

I think in the future I would like to add some boning to the centerfront and sides, which should keep the front smoother and allow me to lace it tighter at the back. Right now it isn’t very flattering. But before making any changes i’ll try it on with my pair of bodies or stays, which should give a similar result.

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So that’s it! Not bad for something I made in four days from things in my stash.

Thanks for reading!

 

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Silvery Blue Dress, Photos

I finally got around to editing all of these! So here they are, finished photos of my silver/galavant/renaissance inspired fantasy dress! I really need to think up a better title for this dress, but i’m the worst at naming things.

This dress was inspired by Madalena’s wedding dress in the show “Galavant” and has a few qualities to it that remind me of early Renaissance gowns. I made it from materials I had around, which included five yards of a shiny “mystery” fabric and a matching brocade. I made it in about two weeks, and it was a really enjoyable project! More information about the inspiration and construction process is posted under this tag.

These photos were taken during one of the many snowstorms we got this year – which are quite inconvenient, but make for some pretty pictures!

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I mentioned in the last post about making this dress that I would like to add a liner to better support the skirt, because the flowy fabric doesn’t hold its shape. I’d also like to make a better petticoat to pair with my renaissance dresses, since I have many dresses with this shape and no specific petti to support them.

But aside from that, i’m really pleased with this dress and how the photos turned out!

 
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Posted by on March 18, 2015 in Completed Costumes, Renaissance

 

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