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!

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!

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.