Making a Sybil Inspired Edwardian Ensemble, Part Two

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This week I have the second (and final) post to share about making my embellished edwardian ensemble! Part one can be read here, and talks about making the bodice and starting the sleeves.

The bodice was almost finished, but still needed a bit more sparkle. I accomplished this by covering the stitching that attached the bodice together with tiny sequins and beads.

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I think the end result is very pretty, there is so much texture and sparkle!

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Then I folded the back edges inward and added a piece of boning to the lower portion of the bodice. The boning supports six eyelets that are embroidered onto each side of the back of the bodice. The top portion of the bodice closes with hooks and eyes for a clean finish.

I chose to make the back lace up since I wanted the bodice to be as fitted as possible, and because laces allow me to get the bodice on and off without help.

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Now back to the sleeves! I sewed organza backed lace trim onto the hem of each sleeve.

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Then I covered the top edge with sequins so it wouldn’t fray.

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With that done I pinned the back seam closed so I could do a quick fitting. Unfortunately the sleeves were a bit too small – I could get them on, but it wasn’t easy. So I decided to sew the seam up with a half inch allowance, instead of the french seam I had planned, giving me an inch of additional room in each sleeve.

I finished all the edges of the sleeves with lace tape.

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The only downside to the smaller seam allowance is that it means the stitching used to secure the chiffon to the lace is visible. It falls underneath my arm, and matches the fabric, so it isn’t too noticeable, but it annoys me nonetheless!

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I sewed the sleeves onto the bodice by machine with a half inch seam allowance, and then the bodice was complete! I’m really happy with this, I love all the detail work and how all the different fabrics and textures work together. It’s well constructed too, which i’m proud of since this was made in a relatively short amount of time.

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But I wasn’t happy for long because I had to work on the pants. The chiffon pants. I don’t like pants, or chiffon so the combination didn’t seem like much fun (and it wasn’t). It was however, very confusing. So I’m sorry if my explanations are confusing, but I’m not sure how to avoid that since I’m still confused and I’m the one who made them!

At first I thought these would be easy to make – a typical drop crotch pant with an asymmetric draped panel at the front, no problem! Then I realized the draped portion is actually sewn into the inseam somehow and that the back is asymmetrical too.

Before even trying to figure out how that would work I made the base pattern. Which is just a longer version of the pattern I made for my cycling bloomers. I made the crotch lower too, but that was the only big change aside from length.

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I cut two of each pattern piece out from my “base” fabric – which is a gold chiffon. Then I cut the front left panel out again, this time from a orange chiffon, and I extended the panel to be thirty inches wider at the side seam. Then I did the same thing with the back right panel and pink chiffon.

The pieces looked like this.

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Now for the confusing part. I basted the wider panels to the matching pieces (front left was basted to the front left cut from base fabric, and same process for the back panels) at the crotch seam and inseam.

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Then I sewed the crotch seam for the front and back panels AND I sewed the side seams of the base layer together with french seams. Once I put it on my dress form and loosely pinned the waistline it looked like this.

I can practically hear your skepticism but have faith!

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The thirty inches of fabric I added to the overlay panels wrap around the body and create the draped front and back. It’s kind of confusing because the front panel wraps around the back of the pants, and the back panel wraps around the front. But it totally worked!

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I gathered the top edges of the overlay panels down so they were the same width as the base layer of fabric.

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I tucked the front edges inward twice, by around two inches so a raw edge wouldn’t be visible. Then sewed it onto the waistline of the base panels so it hangs asymmetrically.

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I cut a slit into the back of the base panel, then covered it with ribbon so the edges wouldn’t fray. I mounted four hooks and bars onto the ribbon, which is how I get the pants on and off. This slit is covered by the overlay once the waistband is done up.

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After a bit more gathering the waist of the pants was twenty eight inches, exactly what I wanted! As you can see I left the very front of the draped panels ungathered since I thought that looked nicer.

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Now the waistband could be sewn on. I used a rectangle of interfaced brocade for this. It was sewn on with the right sides facing each other, then tucked over the raw edge and sewn down once again.

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This is the finished waistband from the front side. It doesn’t look too pretty, but it isn’t visible when the ensemble is worn so i’m not too bothered by it!

It also closes with hooks and bars.

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Here you can see it on my dress form. It still doesn’t look too promising, but I was pretty happy with this!

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At this point I pinned the overlay portions to the inseam of the base layer. Which looked like this!

Then I did the inseam up with french seams.

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I hung the pants up, then used my scissors to level the hem to make sure the overlay was the same length as the base.

I cut an inch of length off since I thought they were too long, then gathered the hem down by hand. I gathered this edge to be large enough to get over my foot, which left them significantly larger than my ankle.

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After a quick try on I realized a few issues. The first was that they were still too long. But I didn’t want to raise them from the hem, and it was too late to take them up at the waistline.

The second was that I had no idea how I would get them over my feet after attaching the cuffs. I would have to cut a slash into them, but I knew that would look awful.

But they needed cuffs. So I made some. And after pinning them on the length looked even worse since the cuffs caused them to sit higher on my leg.

So I took the cuffs off and decided to bind the bottom edges with bias tape. It isn’t ideal, but the bottom edge is mostly covered by the volume of the pants. And this also means I don’t have to worry about adding a slash/closure method since they are large enough to fit over my feet. Also, since the bound edge is loose, they hang lower on my leg and the length looks more natural.

For some stupid reason I used chiffon to bind the edges. I should have used a sturdier fabric or at least interfaced the chiffon first but clearly I was in a daze of frustration so I didn’t bother.

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End result: PANTS! I think these are the most unflattering thing I’ve ever made. I don’t mind shapeless garments if they have a nice shape but these are…difficult to pull off, to say the least? I think they look nice in a very specific pose (shown on the right) and when they are moving, but from the front it’s pretty rough.

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But that’s it! Here they are laid flat.

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Close up of the waistline.

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And the back – you can see how the overlay hides the slash!

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I made a little headpiece to go along with this costume. I didn’t love the crown it was paired with on the show, and I didn’t have enough trim left for anything really exciting. I ended up gluing some scraps of beaded trim onto a strip of lace, along with some glass montees and a few bits of an ostrich feather.

The end result is more 1920s than edwardian, but I think it’s super pretty and fits with the rebellious nature of this ensemble.

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Now for the worn photos! I paired it with a blonde wig, some shoes from DSW, and knee length spanx since the pants were a bit more sheer than I had intended (an opaque lining would have been smart). I also wore some earrings from the Downton Abbey collection, but you can’t really tell.

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I wish I had a necklace to go with this ensemble, I think the collar area is a bit bare. I was really tempted to get this this one*but figured I wouldn’t wear the costume often enough to justify it. But it matches so nicely…I might crack and get it anyway!

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Sorry for all the similar poses, as I said the pants are most flattering from that one specific angle! I think this was the first time I’ve been grateful for my height while wearing historical costumes as I think they would be even more of a challenge the shorter you are.

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And that’s it! I’m quite pleased with how this turned out. Even though the pants were a pain, I love the bodice and how all the fabrics work together. It’s very different from anything i’ve made recently, and only took a week to complete! I really want to do more of these week long projects, I always end up really enjoying them.

Thanks for reading!

 

Making a Rose Colored Chiffon Chemise

I’m not sure what happened this week, I ended up not blogging for some unexplainable reason. But today i’m back and i’ll be talking about making a simple chemise from chiffon!

I picked up this china rose colored two tone chiffon many months ago because I fell in love with the color. None of my projects this year have required anything like it so it has sat around collecting dust. For my newest design  I needed a chemise to wear under a maroon middle ages inspired dress I knew I had finally found a project for this material!

I paired it with a colorful brocade, the same fabric was used to trim the dress i’m pairing this chemise with.

I only had three yards of this fabric which wasn’t really enough so I had to use my fabric sparingly. I cut my fabric into three pieces, the first was the smallest and was used to make sleeves, the next was the front of the chemise, and the last was slightly longer to create the back of the chemise. Since I didn’t have enough fabric to make a full length version I decided a high low hem was as close as I could get.

Before I could do much with chiffon I made the patterns for the collar and cuffs. On the left is the pattern I made for the chemise, the one on the right is for the matching dress.

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The cuffs were just rectangles with seam allowances added in. Once the paper patterns were done I went ahead and cut the pieces from brocade.

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I also used the pattern to cut a layer from white cotton, which will eventually be used as lining. Once all the pieces were cut out I marked the edges and hemmed them.

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When those were finished it was time to make the dress. The two rectangles I cut for the body of the dress got sewn together with french seams. Then the garment was hemmed – i’m still really bad at hemming chiffon, it never turns out well!

I only have a photo of the first step in hemming this, the fabric was turned under a quarter inch and stitched in place with large basting stitches. Then I rolled the hem and secured it with a whip stitch, which isn’t shown below.

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I used a small running stitch to gather the chiffon down

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The majority of the raw edge will be covered by the collar lining, but the parts that will hang down to create sleeve holes won’t be covered. So I stitched lace over the tops to keep them from fraying.

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Then I sewed the dress onto the collar!

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This is what it looked like on a dress form. It’s not a very good color representation but you can see the length!

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Now it’s time to talk about the sleeves! I drafted a really simple boxy pattern for these. I would have liked to make them wider and fuller but I was working with fabric limitations.

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The sleeves were gathered at both ends, then lace was stitched across the tops to prevent fraying.

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The lower edge got sewn on to my little rectangle cuffs!

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The side of the cuff and lower two inches of the sleeves were hemmed. The sleeves will close with a french seam but also have an eyelet at the wrist.

My hands are way to fat to make it through a cuff that matches my wrist measurement, leaving the lower two inches open prevents me from having to attempt it.

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I sewed in the cuff lining, added the eyelets, and my sleeves were almost done!

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All they needed were french seams, then they were ready to be attached to the dress.

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I sewed them in place with a whip stitch. From the outside the dress looked okay, but the inside was a bit of a mess!

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I trimmed the worst of the fraying, then sewed the lining in place.

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I had originally planned on adding eyelets at the back of this chemise, but I can pull it over my head without any problem, so that wasn’t necessary. All I did to finish this off was sew up the back with a french seam!

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This was quite the easy little project. I dislike working with chiffon so I wouldn’t call it fun, but i’m happy with how it turned out!

Thanks for reading!

Diaphanous Flower Dress, Part One

I don’t like summer.

I know, it’s an absolute sin to say that. But I don’t like the heat, or the sun, or the bugs. Ugh, the bugs…

I’m definitely not the person who makes facebook statuses complaining about cold weather and overcast days – in fact I savor them. When summer comes around I sadly pack my fuzzy pajama pants, sweaters, and hot chocolate packets away for a few months and wish for colder temperatures.

If I think really hard about it I can come up with two things I do like about summer. There is an adorable family of tiny bunnies that live on our lawn throughout the season, and craft stores put all there summer items on clearance sales to make room for fall merchandise.

I figure I should take advantage of one of the things I like in this god awful season, and since the bunnies won’t let me get within ten feet of them, summer clearance sales were my only option.

The majority of these came from Michales, I made a huge order during an independence day sale when they were all 50% off.

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Then I bought even more flowers from Joann’s, which were on clearance for less then a dollar a piece.

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And I followed that by buying even MORE from Michaels summer clearance, at seventy cents a piece.

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I bought these heaps of flowers with a project in mind, I wanted to sew them into the hem of a dress and overlay them with a sheer fabric to make them look a little less fake.

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Originally I wanted to use chiffon, but I quickly realized it was too opaque. I thought about using organza, but didn’t like the texture. I ended up deciding on two layers of tulle as an overlay, with organza and chiffon as a base for the flowers.

I wanted to pair the skirt  with a corset bodice made from tulle, which unfortunately isn’t really possible. After some experimenting I realized I could use silk organza to create a solid structure for the bodice, then overlay that with chiffon and tulle. I would still have the sheer factor, but it would be much more durable.

The skirt is just a simple circle skirt, I really had no clue how long to make this. I wanted to pair it over a fluffy petticoat, which would make the skirt appear shorter…but I wasn’t sure if the weight of flowers would collapse the petticoat. I didn’t want it to be down to my knees, but I didn’t want it to be too short either so I took a guess and made a 22 inch circle skirt pattern.

I didn’t have enough chiffon for a full circle skirt, so my skirt is actually a 3/4 circle.

The pattern below is half that size, when cut on a fold it forms the correct size.

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I cut my skirt from a layer of organza, then again from chiffon, and basted (by hand) the layers together. Chiffon, tulle, and organza are all very slippy, not very well behaved fabrics so pretty much everything had to be basted before machine sewing pieces together.

Once that was done I sewed half inch horsehair braid into the hem, which is why it looks so wavy! At first I was worried it wouldn’t lay flat thanks to this, but the weight of the flowers ended up keeping it smooth. What a relief!

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I pulled all the flower blossoms off of the stems. In some cases I had to use tin snips or scissors, but most of them were easy to remove.

Then I poured them all onto my skirt – which made a dramatic picture but was a really bad idea. I got heaps of flower related lint onto my fabric and spent ages with a lint roller getting it all off (super fun).

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I got organized and set aside all the leaves, which I had saved. I might do something with them later on…

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I used a heavy duty glue gun made by Westward to attach all of these onto the skirt. The model I used takes 1/2″ glue sticks which makes the process much faster. I had better luck with applying hot glue to the flowers themselves then the fabric.

If you try this at home please do a test with whatever fabric you are using to make sure the hot glue won’t melt straight through it! The hot glue did melt the polyester chiffon I used as a top layer, but the silk organza (underneath it) did not melt.

I also clipped the plastic bits off the flowers before gluing them down. These plastic bits keep the stem and petals attached together, so it’s important to only snip it right before gluing them – the glue melts the plastic and keeps everything together which is why it isn’t a problem later on.

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Also I did do this on a rug but I used a set heavy duty melt proof lid underneath the portions I was working on. If you are working with sheer materials, don’t use cardboard or paper as a protective layer, the glue will take the paper with it. You’ll end up with brown paper bits all over your fabric which isn’t attractive.

After maybe half an hour of gluing I had a lot done! At this point I wasn’t very happy with the skirt. I felt it looked really tacky and I was honestly pretty upset by it.

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I ended up adding daisies to fill in any gaps (there were many) and adding many more hydrangeas to create a gradient of sorts. After that, I was much happier, so I moved on to the tulle overlay!

After sewing them hem and everything my skirt length was twenty inches, so I cut two layers of tulle that were forty inches long and one hundred and twenty inches wide.

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I basted the two pieces together, then gathered one end to be the same width as the skirt waist.

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 I sewed this end onto the backside of my skirt, then gathered the other end and sewed it onto the front of the waist. This gave my skirt a “bubble” hem and also encased everything in a layer of tulle. At this point I actually loved the way it was looking, the tulle gave it the lightweight “magical” look I wanted.

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Here is a picture of it on the dress form, with the matching bodice. I’ll talk about making that next week.

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Here are some more tips if you attempt to make this:

Vacuum your workspace between every step and lint roll each fabric before sewing, if any lint gets trapped between the materials fabrics it will be nearly impossible to get out.

If you have long hair and are prone to shedding, tie it back. Trying to get hair strands that are sandwiched between organza and chiffon out with tweezers is not fun, trust me.

You can use a lint roller to remove any hot glue strands after they’ve dried, so try not to worry about them too much during the process of attaching flowers.

Make sure to use a petticoat that has “bouncy” fabrics, the weight of the flowers isn’t too bad but it will collapse most tulle petticoats. I used one that is organza with cotton ruffles, which is much less prone to deflating then tulle or net.

For the record I have no problems with people taking inspiration from or trying to recreate my designs. I think it’s pretty awesome some people like them enough to do so, just please do not claim the design (or any of my photos) as your own.

Thanks for reading!

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!