Black and Grey Dress – Part Two

Happy Monday everyone! I think most people hate Monday’s, but over the past year they have grown on me. It’s a brand new start to the week, which I find really refreshing – especially when the week prior was pretty crappy.

Last week was a tough one both emotionally and when it came to sewing, so i’m happy to start anew, and i’m hopeful that this week will go much better. I’m also going to attempt to kick my blogging butt into gear and start posting three times a week – I definitely have enough stuff to write about, I just have to, you know, write it.

Here is the second the-making-of post on my Black and Grey dress. A few weeks ago I blogged about making the simple, but fluffy grey dress, and this time I will be talking about the black dress that is worn overtop it.

Fair warning – I was awful about photographing this project, so it’s not as well documented as usual.

(I’ll make up for this next week when I bore you guys with one thousand words and thirty photos on making a set of sleeves – no, i’m not even exaggerating)

This dress is made entirely from black velvet (around 1.5 yards), some cotton broadcloth for lining, five yards of lace (from this store), a bit of grey chiffon, and a few dozen grey pearls.

I started by draping my pattern. This went surprisingly well, I got the shape I wanted right away!

(These pictures make me miss draping, my last few projects haven’t required it and i’m itching to do something that involves this process again very soon)

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When it was taken off the form I made some minor adjustments before cutting the mock up.

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My mock up ended up looking like this, and I made a few rough marks where I thought boning should go.

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When tried on it looked like this – I had to take it in at the shoulders, but it was pretty much perfect!

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I got the bodice pieces cut, then they were reinforced with a really light fusible interfacing so the pieces wouldn’t stretch. Assembly involved a lot of pins to avoid the fabric slipping around – have I mentioned I don’t like velvet?

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I sewed in the lining and stitched around the neckline to make sure it wouldn’t slip around. I pinned everything for a test fitting – which went well – then moved on to the sleeves.

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I started with a doodle for how I wanted them to look. Since the bodice is strangely pieced, the pattern was much different then any sleeves I had made before.

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I flat drafted it and was pleasantly surprised with the results!

DSC_3503I got them cut out, and sewed on the lace.

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Then they were carefully sewn in place.

DSC_3513And they look just the way I had hoped!

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I made cuffs for the sleeves out of rectangles of folded velvet, then I made little bows out of velvet on top of them. I gathered the sleeve by hand, then sewed them to the cuffs. Of course I was lazy and didn’t take any photos throughout this process, oops!

Then I started on making the trim. The trim was made from a 3/8th of an inch strip of velvet ribbon which has strips of chiffon that were gathered every 3/4 inch tacked on to it.

DSC_4539I sewed my home made trim onto the bodice, then I stitched on 6mm pearls over each ugly gathered bits.

(please ignore the massive amount of lint!)

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The last step was making and sewing on the skirt panels. I draped these on my dress form to get the length I wanted, cut them once from the lining and again from velvet.

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Once that was finished I sewed lace onto each panel, attached them to the bodice, added a zipper and the dress was done!

Overall a pretty easy project, but it took ages since I didn’t give it much attention and spent time on other projects instead of this one. I am happy with how it came out, though it’s quite unflattering and not as classy as I would have liked – I think it’s really cute.

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It looks so much better in real life, and even better when worn.  I’m hoping to get some photos of it within the next week, and I’ll share those as soon as I have them.

Thanks for reading!

Something Fluffy and Ruffly – Black and Grey Dress

Yesterday my foot got in a battle with a pin (which was hiding in my carpet) and I think it ended up bruising a bone, which has made walking, sewing, and moving pretty excruciating. So i’m not sure how productive I will be this week. But on the bright side, this has given me lot’s of time to reply to things!

As some of you may know my little blog got “featured” on Buzzfeed, The Daily Dot, Fashionably Geek, Observation Deck and a few others. I’m really shocked and overwhelmed by all the views and comments but i’m also incredibly grateful and thrilled that so many people are interested in my work. I’m going to try my best to reply to all the questions, notes, asks and emails! I’ve already replied to around five hundred things on tumblr and i’m hoping to get through (most of) the backlog of emails today.

If you have commented on something, and I don’t manage to get back to you i’m really sorry. I promise I read each one and always appreciate the kind words, advice, or opinions that people share, even if I don’t have the time to write responses to them all. I hope it won’t stop you from commenting in the future since I really do love hearing what each and every one of you has to say!

Moving on from all that, I’m going to try and get back into the habit of blogging twice a week! I have a bunch of projects in progress, and even some that are finished but I haven’t gotten around to writing about. So I really don’t have any excuses (aside from laziness) for long waits between updates.

….

This project was started on New Years Eve, my brother was having a party at our house that I didn’t get invited to, so I had to occupy myself upstairs. At this point I was a month into working on Elsa and really needed a break – I was going through ruffle withdrawal or something.

I wanted an easy project that was different from what I had done in the past. I also wanted a project I could make with materials I had on hand. This didn’t give me a whole lot to go off of, since most of my original ideas were full length gowns that would take dozens of hours to make, and I have piles of material hanging around.

I looked through the newest addition to my little library for inspiration, which is “The Complete Costume History” by Auguste Racinet. After a bit I came across this, which is sort of hideous but really captured my attention.

DSC_3465I loved the sleeves, the interesting trim, and how well the overdress(?) and underdress (or is it a chemise?) complimented each other.  I decided I would base my newest project off of this, and use materials from an abandoned project to make the whole thing.

That abandoned project was supposed to be another version of Anju from Chibi Vampire, but never developed beyond a pile of grey organza (around three yards), chiffon (around three yards), and black velvet (almost two yards).

I did up a sketch of what I had in mind – due to limited materials I decided to make it short!

DSC_3473Then I began the drafting process. I didn’t really take any photos of my mock up, since the fit was so wonky in both of them. Eventually I ended up with a pattern that looked like this;

(This is the front)

DSC_3472(And this is the back)

DSC_3474Those are all cut from white broadcloth. I covered three of the pieces in a layer of grey chiffon and set aside the others – those would be covered with gathered panels later on.

DSC_3475I made up little two inch ruffles to decorate the neckline. I chose to make them by folding over a four inch strip of chiffon since my top stitching on chiffon always seems to pucker.

DSC_3476At this point I had already sewed the shoulder seams, so I could attach the ruffles without having to sew seams into them later on. I gathered the ruffles by shoving them under the presser foot as I went – not the safest or most precise method, but it’s become one of my favorites.

DSC_3477Then I created the gathered panels, and sewed those in as well! The gathered panels were created by gathering and sewing a large rectangle of material over the smaller broadcloth pieces. I’ve used this method a lot to create puffs in sleeves and stuff.

It looks a little wonky here since I hadn’t ironed it yet or clipped my corners.

DSC_3478Then I started on the sleeves, which were giant! They took about a yard of material in total to make. Each one is made from organza, with a top layer of chiffon. Since they are so large I knew that if used on it’s own the chiffon would collapse on itself. The underlayer of organza helps it keep the shape, and adds a lot of volume!

I gathered both ends of the sleeve and sewed cuffs onto the wrists.

DSC_3479Then I sewed them onto the bodice, and moved onto the skirt!

The skirt was a giant rectangle of fabric with a hand sewn rolled hem, there wasn’t anything fancy about it at all. Looking back I didn’t take any photos of this until after I had sewn it onto the bodice, oops!

DSC_3483Even though it was almost done, I wasn’t happy with it. Though the skirt was made from a three yard length of chiffon, it had no volume whatsoever. Like I had with the sleeves, I decided to fix the problem with organza. I made a little underskirt with a single ruffle to give it more volume.

DSC_4568Then I made some piping out of black velvet, sewed it on to the neckline, and added a zipper. I was done!

(I actually went back and redid the neckline after taking these photos since it was crooked. So please ignore that)

It’s fluffy, ruffly, and horribly unflattering. But it was the perfect side project after spending so many hours on the slinky and sparkly costume that is Elsa.

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Next week I shall revisit this project and talk about making the overdress!

Thanks for reading!