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.
I think the end result is very pretty, there is so much texture and sparkle!
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.
Now back to the sleeves! I sewed organza backed lace trim onto the hem of each sleeve.
Then I covered the top edge with sequins so it wouldn’t fray.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
I gathered the top edges of the overlay panels down so they were the same width as the base layer of fabric.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Here you can see it on my dress form. It still doesn’t look too promising, but I was pretty happy with this!
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.
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.
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.
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.
But that’s it! Here they are laid flat.
Close up of the waistline.
And the back – you can see how the overlay hides the slash!
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!