The making of a Red and Silver Renaissance Gown

Part One : June 13, 2013

Today seems like a good day for a double post, doesn’t it?

For my birthday I ended up spending the majority of my money on fabric and pretty trims from the fashion district and on etsy. The fabrics were all brocade with satin, or sateen in coordinating colors. I ended up being really, really happy with my haul and loved every single item I bought.

In the same trip I purchased fabric for Merida, and that costume has already been made – so it’s time to put the other fabric to use! Starting with this little design I drew up.

The fabrics pictured here are from the lovely shop Diana Fabrics who gave me an amazing deal on the material and even threw in a few yards as a gift! The silver trim is from LaceFun on etsy who are also really awesome and always give you extra goodies. The pearls are from DeezTreasures.


I began with the bodice, since it’s the most detailed bit aside from the sleeves.

I draped the pattern in the usual way. I’ve explained this method a lot before, but still get questions all the time, so I created a more thorough write up on tumblr. If you are interested you can read that here!




Once that was done it got unpinned, and ironed!


And after adding seam allowances it became a mock up, which fit surprisingly well.


I took in the side seams a bit, and made the entire thing an inch longer before drawing out my pattern on paper.


Since this is historical fashion I decided to add a whole bunch of boning.


Some of it was metal, but the majority was plastic. Cutting it all took longer then making the mock up.


When I cut my pattern out, it was for the lining. Which is made from this really lovely red velvet i’ve had around or a long while.


When it was all sewn together, with the boning it looked like this! I attempted to try it on and it didn’t go as I’d hoped..somehow it had become too big in the bust and I had to add darts and remove a lot of material. Because of this my paper pattern became of little use…


So instead, I traces out my finished lining piece and turned that into my new pattern for the front facing. I wanted the front to be more fiddly then the lining, so it went from seven pieces to 13!


Once it was assembled I sewed the neckline with the right-sides-together-pillowcase method to get a finished edge. I went through and did some top stitching by hand, since I needed to stitch around the boning.



Then I drafted the collar piece by tracing the neckline of the bodice and sketching out the shape I wanted. I cut it out of newsprint as a test to see if I liked it, and it later became my pattern.


The collar was cut from fusible felt interfacing, which is a really stiff interfacing usually used for purses, or hat making. I fused the maroon colored satin onto it and hand sewed the edges onto the other side so no stitching was visible.

I ended up decorating the collar with some 4mm silver pearls and a bit of lace! It took a long while to sew together but i’m really very pleased with it. I entertained myself by watching Man Lab on BBC throughout hand sewing this – I ended up spending more time laughing then sewing, but I have nor regrets.


I had to do the back too…I like this picture because it shows what a difference a little lace can make!


I ended up making a sash that I despise (that will be talked about it a separate post)I tried to save it which rhinestones, but they got pulled off pretty quick since they didn’t actually match. I shall remake this at a later date!


Here are a few close ups of the bodice in it’s “complete-aside-from-sleeves” stage



Next step was sewing on the hidden sash. This is what the top gets sewn to, and also what the skirt will be sewn onto. Then the sash can be hand stitched (or fused) on and won’t hold any weight. This was a problem I had with the last dress I made, the sash really pulled and didn’t fully support all the wight of the skirt, so it stretched.

Look at me learning from my mistakes for once


Then it came time to make the skirt. It hurt so much cutting this fabric because I absolutely adore it.



Then things got sewn together



When it came time to sewn on the trim, I ran into a bit of a roadblock. I wasn’t sure whether I wanted it pointing inwards, or outwards. I ended up going with inwards, even though it’s less “obvious” I think it looks much nicer and less messy then the outward facing.


Earlier today I went through with 1″ lace that is cheap, and scratchy, and awful, and I used it to seal the hem. This way it won’t fray anymore. However it looks bad, so it needs to be hemmed again (by hand) but that was something I had planned on doing, anyway!

I pinned everything all together for your viewing pleasure.



A lot more is complete now, I have the sleeves almost finished, and it resembles a dress even when removed from the form. But those changes shall be reviled in a later post!

Part Two : June 25, 2013

Here is the second installment of making this pretty little dress I dreamed up! If you haven’t already, you can read part one right here.

For once I was very diligent in my photo documentation, so this shall be more of a photoblog then a…erm, blog!

The next major step was creating the sleeves. In the last dress I made, which was somewhat similar to this, I left the sleeves for last and ended up regretting it. So I dove right in!

I started with a sketch, and some measurements.


And then It got turned into a pattern


Once they were cut out the edges were folded to create a finished edge. Between each piece I sewed on a 1/2 strip of my white brocade material. Each of these were originally two inches wide, then folded over, ironed, and sewn into place.


I ended up sewing them all onto a base of red velvet. This required a lot of yelling at my machine and ripping out, since getting the white right against eachother without any gaps was very tricky!


I trimmed the velvet on the sides, and pinned it for a fit test which looked like so:

DSC_0493Next up was the silver “poof” portion which was created by pinning trim over an interfaced strip of the white brocade.


I sewed (carefully) around the edges of the white, and cut away the extra trim. Then It got sewn, and topstitched down onto the velvet.


After that the final piece was sewn into place, and I was ready to move onto the largest, and most complicated bit…


The poofy sleeves of doom….

I really despise making poofy sleeves, so i’m not sure why I continuously put myself through this. But I do, and I will probably continue to do so.

Damn pretty sleeves….

I went ahead and drafted a ginormous poofy sleeve pattern, then I cut it from my maroon satin and fused interfacing onto the back. (The larger the sleeve, the more support it needs.)


Then I went about creating the tricky part. I called these “sleeve doohickeys” throughout making them but ended up googling the proper term for this post and have discovered they are called “Paned sleeves”…I think.

(I also learned about a sleeve nicknamed “imbecile sleeve” which I might have to make next just for the hell of it)

I started out with 2.5″ interfaced strips!


Which were cut to the proper-ish length…


The edges were turned over and sewn down, giving me 1.5″ strips.


Then I cut out 2 inch wide strips of my brocade, which were folded and ironed into 1″ strips.

DSC_0485These got sewn onto the 1.5″ strips of satin, leaving me with strips (doohickeys) that were each 2.5″ wide.

DSC_0486But as you can see, the backs look really crappy, and frayed like crazy. So I cut out 1″ strips of double sided fusible web and ironed that onto the backs.


When the paper was pealed off, I ironed silver ribbon atop it, which sealed the edges up nice and pretty!


These were then pinned onto the base sleeve I created earlier, and were trimmed again, this time more precisely.


I sewed around the edges and then gathered it down by hand, I had to use pliers since there were so many layers of material to stitch through!


This was sewn onto the fitted portion I created earlier, and voila!


Then I had to make another one…


All they needed were side seams done up, but being impatient, I pinned them on for a few photos.



That’s that! Not to shabby, if I do say so myself. Working on this makes I feel like i’ve progressed a lot, even just in the last few months from when I made my red/gold gown. I’m really proud of it so far, and hopefully it will continue on that way!

Thanks for reading! x

7 thoughts on “The making of a Red and Silver Renaissance Gown

  1. Lalalalalalala says:

    OMG. BLOODY HELL HOW CAN YOU BE FIFTEEN???? I THOUGH YOU WERE AT LEAST 20 something with like YEARS of experience in sewing. OMG you my dear are amazing. Like woah. Like woaaaaaaah. And very beautiful as well /envy

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s