Making a Silvery Blue Dress, Part One

Here is a new project! I started this when I was at a point where I didn’t have anything in progress and I didn’t feel comfortable starting on a big project because I hadn’t done enough research. So I chose a simple dress in a style i’m familiar with to keep me busy while I read up on elaborate dresses from the 1500s.

After watching “Galavant” I felt really inspired and decided to make a dress based off of Madalena’s Wedding Dress. Most of the costuming on that show drive me crazy (not in a good way), but I thought this dress was gorgeous, even if it isn’t anything near historically accurate!

I decided to use a blue brocade and a silvery blue ~mystery~ fabric that is silky on one side and matte on the other (definitely not satin or charmeuse). I talked about these materials in a Fabric Friday post ages ago, about how they were so pretty I couldn’t bear to use them. But now i’ve had them for almost two years and think it’s time they have a life beyond sitting in a box. I can always get more!


I had planned on beading the bodice and creating a very full skirt but after deciding on the brocade and silver material I knew I wouldn’t be able to do either of those things. The brocade is delicate and I think it would catch on the beading, and the second fabric is too soft to form such a full design.

This sketch was done before I had picked fabric, so it isn’t quite accurate!

DSC_2015 I started by draping – this was a very easy pattern to drape!

This mock up features sexy delivery men. Of course.


DSC_2017I removed it from the dress form and turned it into a paper pattern, which looks like this! Usually I would draft the front of the bodice as one piece, because princess seams didn’t exist in the 1400s. But in this case I wasn’t focusing on accuracy at all.


I cut my pattern out from lining fabrics first. I decided to use scraps of batik – i’ve had these for ages and they are too small to use for draping and most mock ups, so it was nice to finally have a use for them! I think they look quite nice together too, funky lining makes everything better.

Once the pattern was cut out I sewed it together and tried it on – it was actually a pretty nice fit!


 Then I cut  my bodice pattern out from brocade.


 Which also got assembled.

DSC_2039 When all the seams were pressed I went through and stitched a 1/2″ away from the edge, around each edge. This prevents the brocade from fraying and creates a guideline of where to turn the edge over, without leaving any marks on the interior of your fabric.

(after the pen incident I have converted to using this method as much as possible)


 I went through and turned over all the edges and secured them in place with a tiny running stitch. This is before it was ironed, the brocade is very delicate and prone to puckering so it didn’t look great at this point.


 I repeated this process on the cotton lining. The only difference is that the center back edges were turned over by machine, and done in such a way that it creates a pocket. In this pocket I put a piece of plastic boning.

Without the boning whatever closure I add will be prone to bunching up, this solves that problem!


 Speaking of closures, for this particular piece I wanted to try creating loops to lace through instead of eyelets. I made these by cutting one and a half inch wide strips of bias cut fabric – in this case I used the same fabric that will get used for the skirt.

I turned the edges inward, then folded them in half again. This is the same way you make bias tape, except I stitched the folded edges together.

I made twenty four two inch long pieces for the loops, and one piece that is three yards long to serve as the lacing.

DSC_2025 I pinned the bits of fabric (soon to be loops) onto ribbon.

DSC_2045 Then stitched over them a bunch of times. The end result were two pieces of ribbon with loops attached. Perfect!


 Then I sewed these onto the back of the bodice lining and ta-da, a functional closure!


Since the skirt fabric was now incorporated into the back of the bodice, I decided to bring some to the front by decorating the neckline with a folded bias cut strip of the material. I’m not sure why it is puckering a bit, I made it properly and ironed it loads. Luckily it looks find when worn, so i’m not going to get too upset about it!


So that is it for this post. Because the next step was attaching the sleeves, and this post would be very long if I included that part too! Hopefully that will go up next week, along with another post. I’m going to try to get back onto my twice a week schedule because I miss it.

Thanks for reading!


14 thoughts on “Making a Silvery Blue Dress, Part One

  1. Karen K. says:

    Beautiful so far!! I adore the fabrics!! The loops look incredible and I love the way the addition of the skirt fabric on the front looks! This is going to be a marvelous dress!! I can’t wait to see the rest! 🙂

    • Angela Clayton says:

      Not currently. A bunch of things went into it but I basically felt very creatively limited by trying to stay accurate to the character designs. I was a lot more interested in investing time and money into original designs – I have a lot more fun with those, and they are more valuable in a portfolio.

      Right now I don’t have any cosplay plans aside from a Toothless PJ set which I don’t think really counts! I might take on cosplay commissions in the future, but I don’t see myself making any for personal use. Sorry!

  2. jennyjackowski says:

    I was wondering where you got your dress form and what you think of it? I’m in the market for one. Also, so far, this dress looks great! I love the fabric.

    • Angela Clayton says:

      I got it from buystoreshelving, it is a display form! I like it, it has served me well over the last two years, especially for the price ($100 or so including shipping). It is hard, pinnable foam, so it has works well for draping. On the downside the shape of it isn’t really the shape of a natural body, since it is made for displaying clothes not making them. So it has a weirdly shaped chest and no bum whatsoever.

      I got a Uniquely You dress form for christmas, and that seems a lot more promising (they are soft foam, you adjust the cover to fit you and it alters the shape of the form to match) but I haven’t actually used it yet so I can’t vouch for it!

      Thank you!

  3. lulumorina says:

    Noticing the way you pinned your ribbon loops…seemed rather intimidating with all those needles, hope you didn’t prick yourself!

  4. Lucia Beňadiková says:

    Hi, I have some questions. I didin´t find the answer in your articles, maybe I wasn´t reading properly, so I would be really happy if you answered them.
    Firts thing, well, I can´t undestand how you stitch the raw edges. I see you don´t use overlock or zick-zack, but, you just turn it over and stitch? Or turn it over twice? But then I think it would be too thick and press when ironing.
    I´m really confused and I hope you understand what I´m asking 😀

    Thank you very much!

  5. lucyvwilson says:

    Have you ever considered taking a period of history that you really like, looking at the similarities between all the dresses in that time period and then putting them into a modern dress that you could just wear while shopping or something?

  6. Elizabeth Pitcher says:

    Princess seams didn’t exist! I am so fascinated by that knowledge bomb. My primary google searches are not very informative. Do you have any favorite websites to learn about fashion history?

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