Sorry for the late post – WordPress was being odd on Sunday and wouldn’t let me post…then I forgot about it until tonight, oops!
Today I’m going to spend way too long writing about something which seemed like an awesome idea when I was doodling out a sketch. In actuality, making a cape from ten yards of stretch velvet sucks. Seriously, not something I would recommend doing it unless you have masochistic tendencies or enjoy getting into screaming matches with your sewing machine.
When you try to take your anger out on the horrible fabric, it just sits there looking all pretty, draping all nicely, and feeling super soft, all innocent looking! Psh. If this fabric was reincarnated as an animal it would be that cute puppy that pees on everything but is so adorable you can’t bear to part with it.
Yeah. That’s the relationship I have with this project.
I had a very clear picture of how I wanted this cloak/overdress to look, and it was pretty complicated. To make it look the way I wanted I had to build a functional bodice, then add the cape and shoulder details ontop of it.
To get a rough idea of what I wanted, I sketched on some muslin to get the rough shapes.
This gave me enough information to draft an actual pattern.
I was quite pleased with this, it only needed a few minor adjustments.
I cut each piece once from velvet, and again from quilters cotton. Though I purchased stretch velvet, I didn’t want my garment to stretch.Stretch velvet is just the cheapest of all velvet’s (six dollars a yard) and happened to come in the exact color I wanted.
I sewed together my lining at the shoulder seams. Then I used the pattern I made for the bodice sleeves to create the sleeve covers from velvet.
I gathered these by hand, then sewed them on to the lining.
Then I made up the back panel, this was my first real look at how tricky it is to work with velvet. Honestly, I think it just may be my machine, but no matter what thread/needle/tensions I used the velvet shredded my thread and the machine would unthread every three inches or so. I got so frustrated I switched off to hand sewing for the vast majority of this project.
So it wasn’t that awful, but a project that should have taken a week from start to finish took a lot longer since I had almost twenty hours of hand sewing to do.
After that was finished I cut the cape, and sewed that onto the back panel. The cape pattern was just two giant rectangles gathered down, and hemmed later on to be the proper length.
After this was done I sat down with netflix on and watched a dozen Say Yes to The Dress episodes, and a full season of River Monsters while I went through and hemmed every edge of the cape.
Then I started sewing the velvet pieces to the bodice, which, at this point, was still just quilters cotton.
The bodice pieces looked like this.
And when they were pinned onto the bodice roughly, the whole thing together looked like this!
The first part of the back panel was sewn on like so.
Then the front piece was stitched onto the back panel (the part that had the cape attached) these were sewn on the same way the back panel was.
It’s all sort of complicated to explain, since the pattern was so odd.
I sewed the side seams together and tried it on over the dress to make sure it all looked right, which it did.
But I had one final piece to sew on, the skirt. Which was just a 50″x65″ piece of gathered velvet . Once that was done it also had to be hemmed, which took three more episodes of River Monsters.
I also made a waist tie to keep the whole thing on.
And that was about it. It wasn’t a terribly difficult project, it was just a lot more time consuming then I had expected when I started! Velvet definitely goes on my hated materials list now, it’s not a fun fabric to work with. But it does look really pretty and drape in a lovely way~
4 thoughts on “The Christmas Costume – A Glittery Gown – Part 3”
It looks fabulous! I had the same problem with my machine: I couldn’t go more than a few inches before the thread snapped. I think next time I’ll use stronger thread. Gathering by hand is a pain!
This is just so lovely. I wish there were occasions I could wear clothing like this on a regular basis.
I have been enjoying your blog….very much. I have a few thoughts about your troubles sewing the stretch velvet: the breaking thread could be caused by using the wrong type of needles. I have found many problems were from not using the right ‘tools’. Needles make a big difference. http://www.schmetzneedles.com/learning/pdf/schmetz-needle-chart.pdf
Also, the foot may not have been the best one for the job. However I normally use the same presser foot that is standard when sewing stretch velvet, velvet or velveteen. You may try adding or reducing the tension that the presser foot applies to the fabric. Stretch velvet is far easier to work on and with than actual velvet or velveteen.
Your Christmas costume is beautiful and your Elsa gown is AMAZING!!!!
Your work is inspiring – everything you make is beautiful, and the quality of your work is evident. I am pleased to have found your blog. Thanks for sharing.