Making a Cinderella Inspired Dress, Part Two

We are onto the final blog post about Cinderella! And more exciting than that, once I finish writing this I don’t have to see the dress ever again!

Can you tell i’m still a bit annoyed about how frustrating this project has been? I was so looking forward to having a fun/sparkly/easy side project. I expected it to take two weeks, if that, and here we are two months later and it’s only just been finished. Sometimes projects don’t go as planned, and this one definitely didn’t.

But it’s done! And it actually came out pretty cute.

I made the skirt from two rectangles and a lot of gored panels (which were just rectangles cut in half diagonally). The fabric wasn’t wide enough to cut it as a partial circle skirt, otherwise I would have done that.

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All the pieces were sewn together with the wrong sides together, then the edges were trimmed and sewn into french seams.

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Since the skirt was made from rectangles and triangles the hem was pretty blocky and uneven. I cut one half to the shape I wanted, then used that side as a guide for cutting the other half.

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After being ironed, this is what it looked like!

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It was really sheer, so I decided to use chiffon as lining. I used the skirt as a guide to cut the chiffon down to be the same size….or at least close to the same size. I did a sloppy job on this part!

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I sewed up the back edge of the chiffon with a french seam. Then the lamé layer was pinned to the chiffon, with the right sides facing each other.

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I sewed a half inch away from the hem.

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Then I turned it the right way out and stitched a quarter inch away from the hem.

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And I also sewed across the waistline to prevent the chiffon from drooping down and being visible.

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I knife pleated the top of the skirt down to twenty five inches.

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And sewed across the top.

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I cut a slit up the back to help me get the skirt on and off. I used bias tape to finish the raw edges, but I didn’t take photos of that part.

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I made the last minute decision to add a ruffle. I felt like the hem was missing something and when in doubt always add ruffles.

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For the skirt overlay I gathered a five yard block of tulle down to the same waist measurement, then sewed it to the top of the skirt. I like the effect this gives, but I really needed more tulle. If I did things again I would probably use ten or fifteen yards of tulle, and have two separate layers. That would create way more volume and give the skirt a nicer silhouette. It would also hide the seams in the lamé a bit better.

I think the way it looks now you can kind of tell it needs more tulle. It just doesn’t look right to me.

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But I carried on! I trimmed the hem of the tulle to match the hem of the skirt.

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And the final step was attaching a waistband. I made mine from more lamé which was fused to interfacing to add the necessary stiffness.

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The waistband got pinned on, then sewn. I also sewed a snap onto the centerback to keep it closed. I opted to keep the skirt separate from the bodice just to make it easier to get into and store. But I can always sew them together later on if I feel like it.

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Now, with the skirt finished, it’s time to complete the bodice. In my last post I had the bodice mostly finished, it was just missing the collar and sleeves. So those are the things i’ll be talking about today.

The gown in the film doesn’t have sleeves, but puff sleeves flatter my arms nicely and I think they work well with the dress design. The pre-transformation dress had puff sleeves, so who says the transformed ball gown shouldn’t?

I made the sleeves similar to the ones on 19th century ball gowns. Which means they are short, sheer, with boning in the cuff. I started by cutting two three yard lengths of tulle.

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Then I gathered the sleeves at one end, about an inch away from the edge. This edge will be the cuff and this gathering creates a cute one inch ruffle.

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I pinned the tulle onto my sleeve pattern.

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Then sewed around the top so they would hold that shape. I decided my sleeves were a bit long so I sewed one inch away from that line. I also sewed ribbon across the gathering at the cuff. This ribbon was supposed to be a boning channel but the boning kept getting caught on the tulle. If I forced it, it would tear.

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So I sewed tiny strips of lamé overtop the ribbon, then inserted the boning into that, which totally worked! I also trimmed the sleeves down to the line I sewed across the top.

I pinned the sides to make sure they fit (they did) then sewed them up.

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Pretty little finished sleeves~

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Those got sewn onto the bodice with a whip stitch.

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I made the collar from two rectangles of lamé and two of tulle. I think these were about ten inches wide and twenty something inches long. The tulle was cut to be fifteen inches longer since I had planned on tying the ends into a bow at the front.

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I pinned the right sides together and sewed the rectangles into tubes. This is what they looked like when turned the right way out.

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I gathered one end of each tube down to about an inch. This will be the center point of the collar and attach to the center front of the bodice neckline.

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It was at this point that I started pinning the collar on. I tried the bodice on with the collar and hated it. The proportions were really off and it didn’t look the way I wanted at all. I decided the only way to fix it was by lowering the neckline. So I used a sharpie to draw a “V” in the center and chopped off three inches. The edges got finished with ribbon so it won’t fray.

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Then I pinned the collar on again. I was much happier with it this time!

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I decided against the bow – it looked silly on the bodice. So I ended up cutting most of the tulle off and wrapping the few remaining inches around the gathered parts of the collar. This hid the stitching.

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I finished the bodice off with little fabric flowers which I got from Joanns. I pinned three onto the cuff of each sleeve and three to the center point of the collar.

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With those sewn on it was finished!

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I paired the costume with a home made headband. I sewed iridescent beads and more ribbon flowers to a dyed strip of organza. This adds a little sparkle to the wig without destroying it with E6000 and rhinestones.

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Here is a closeup of the bodice. I liked the webcam photos of this a lot more than the ones taken with my nice camera (the lighting makes them a bit weird looking) but i’ll post those below as well!

Photo on 7-12-15 at 3.44 PM #3

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Considering all the struggles I had with the first half of this project, I’m pretty happy with the end result. I think the bodice especially ended up really cute. If I were to do it again I would add several more tulle overlays to the skirt. I would also use a different lining fabric for the bodice. One of my favorite things about the live action dress were the different textures in it (the skirt, collar, and bodice were all completely different). But my dress only has one texture – and even though it’s a pretty texture,  it’s all the same all over so it lacks visual interest.

I’d also set the eyelets properly the first time and make the bodice a little differently. If I had done that the first time I would have enjoyed this project way more!

Thank you for sticking with me – hopefully my next project will go a little better!

Making a Cinderella Inspired Dress, Part One

If the title sounds familiar it’s because i’ve used it before! This is the second dress in my Cinderella dress series, and part one about making it. The posts about making my previous Cinderella dress and the petticoat that goes with it can be found here. This dress is based off of the ball gown from the live action film, with a few major changes – like the length, and the fact that i’m adding short sleeves.

I’ve run into a few problems (okay, a lot of problems) throughout making this costume and to be honest, it hasn’t been fun. So if that frustration seeps through into this post then I apologize! If you would like to see the process of me making it, without the complaining, I’ve made a video of the process – it’s posted here!

Step one was draping the bodice. I draped it as two pieces, but planned on the bodice being five pieces in total.

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I traced the draped muslin onto paper, which gave me a pattern. I added seam allowances between the pieces, but not around the neckline and waistline. This was because i’m too lazy to fold the edges over on my mock ups (they get thrown out anyway! I just can’t be bothered…)

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Here is the mock up. I altered the neckline a bit, but I was pretty pleased with it! I’m basing the shape more off of ball gowns from the 1860s, instead of the dress from the film. So it stops at the natural waist instead of curving over the hips.

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I made a new pattern, this time with all the proper seam allowances and boning channels. I also took the pattern it a little, since I am adding boning and wanted a bit of waist reduction.

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Then I cut out the first layer of fabric. This bodice has three main layers – the top layer (the one you’ll see, made from pretty fabric), the base layer (from a heavier fabric that supports the boning channels), and the lining.

This is the top layer. It’s made from chiffon which I fused interfacing onto so it isn’t floppy.

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Obviously the color and texture isn’t a great match, which is why I placed a layer of iridescent lamé overtop. I basted this layer down by machine.

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I still wasn’t super happy with the texture, so I added another overlay. This time it consisted of two layers of matte tulle, which diffused the lamé nicely. Below you can see one piece with tulle (left) and one without (right).

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I basted this on by hand since my machine doesn’t like tulle very much, and it often stretches or warps it, which isn’t good!

Here are all the panels covered with both overlays.

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Then it got sewn together! Unfortunately my iron wasn’t working very well at this point (my laptop was at a higher resting temperature than it, which was a bad sign…) so these seams didn’t get pressed as flat as they should.

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Then I switched to focusing on the base layer. I used a medium weight starched cotton for this. After cutting out the pattern I trimmed all the edges by a half inch, this will remove bulk from the edges later on.

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I used a colored pencil to mark out all the boning channels.

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And turned the edges of one inch wide strips of fabric over to create boning channels. These got pinned between the lines I marked earlier.

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Then the channels were sewn down and the pieces were stitched together!

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I cut out all my boning and tipped the ends with tape.

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All the boning got inserted and the base layer was complete! The only thing left to add were lacing panels. The bodice will zip closed up the back, but to get the reduction I wanted I really needed a hidden lacing panel.

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I made the lacing panels out of more of the same fabric, with a layer of quilted fabric inside to add structure.

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With the grommets added.

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And after being attached to the base layer!

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I wrapped the edges of the top layer around the base and sewed them down.

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I cut out and assembled the lining from a lightweight cotton.

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The edges got folded over and pinned in place.

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Then whip stitched down.

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Here is what the front looked like.

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I had a bodice, it was great! Sure the seams aren’t pressed as well as they should be, but that isn’t a huge deal.

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It was less great when I tried it on because THIS happened…

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Okay, this sucked. I know how to put grommets in, I don’t need advice on that. I should have used an awl to make the holes, not a punch, and braced both sides with boning instead of just one. But i’ve had issues with metal grommets in the past and I figured this was some type of karma for being to lazy to hand sew them (what I usually do). So I remade the lacing panels and spent four hours sewing pretty little eyelets.

Tried the bodice on, and you’ll never guess what happened…

 I think the major issue was the fabric, it was a medium weight cotton which was strong in theory but pretty prone to tearing (which I didn’t realize at the time, otherwise I wouldn’t have used it). I know I could have done a better job supporting the eyelets but honestly i’ve never had this happen. My flower dresses have embroidered eyelets up the back which are set into organza and chiffon, the most delicate tear prone fabrics ever and they are fine!

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The third time around I embroidered the eyelets again but used two interfaced layers of cotton sateen with a quilted canvas strip running through it. So these things better not budge. Luckily they stuck, but the problems didn’t end here.

When I finally got it laced up I realized zipping it closed would be a problem. I can lace it tighter than what you see below, and get the fabric panels to touch, but it isn’t a pretty site. It involves a lot of spilling out at the armholes and an ugly crease of back fat. It also creates a conical silhouette which I wasn’t going for.

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So I made a modesty panel, addition, thing. Which gives me one inch of room at the waist and three inches at the upper back. I inserted the zipper into this and though it isn’t pretty, it’s prettier than heaps of back cleavage.

(Not to say there is anything wrong with that, it just wasn’t something I wanted to have while wearing this dress)

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Here it is sewn onto the bodice. That back it such a mess, ugh…

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And the front is rippled too, which is frustrating. I honestly wish I could remake it but at this point i’ve had so many troubles that I just want to get it done and never see it again…which isn’t a very nice mindset to be in when trying to make something!

Photo on 6-30-15 at 11.16 AM

Part two will be about the skirt, collar, and sleeves – and hopefully it will be a bit more positive!

Thank you for reading!

Making a Cinderella Inspired Dress, Part Two

DSC_4281RESIZEThis is part two about making my Cinderella inspired dress! It feels a bit weird to be blogging about this now, because I actually finished this several weeks ago. I need to up my blogging game, I’m so behind!

Anyway! This is part two and will focus on making the skirt. Part one can be read here, and it shows the process of making the bodice.

I’m actually using a piece of an old costume as the skirt for this one. Last year I made a medieval inspired suit based off of one worn in the show “Game of Thrones” I love the design of this piece but while making it pretty much everything that could go wrong went wrong.

The end result was too small at the shoulder, way too narrow in the sleeves, and landed a couple inches above my waistline. It looks okay on a dress form but is completely unwearable. You can see a picture of that here.

I decided to disassemble it and use the skirt as a base for this dress. Luckily the sleeves had enough fabric in them to make the bodice and matching headband!

Though I never posted the “Making of” post about this project, I do have a few progress photos of how I did it. These photos are less than a year old which seems so crazy, my progress photo quality has increased so much. Vacuuming regularly and seeking out natural lighting has done wonders for them.

The skirt is a basic circle skirt. I cut this pattern out on the fold, twice, so I had a full circle skirt.

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The skirt was hemmed with two inch wide horsehair braid, which was turned over and hand stitched into place. The seams were sewn normally, but bound with blue quilters cotton.

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And that was pretty much it! There was a six inch slash down the back to allow me to take it on and off…and I don’t have anything else to say about it!

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It was sewn onto the bodice of that costume, so I had to use a seam ripper to detach it for this project. Then I draped it over my petticoat (which I talk about making here) and the results weren’t so great. It was too long in the front and too short in the back, which was bad.

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To fix it I opened up the back seam and lowered the back half by a couple inches. I added a panel to the waist so it would sit this way permanently. I lifted the front by an inch and a half, then sewed a gored panel into the center back.

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It wasn’t too pretty at the top but the hem rested evenly!

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That meant I could move onto making the overlay. I bought a glitter organza with this in mind. Unfortunately it wasn’t the right fabric for an overlay, despite the sheerness. The organza had so much volume, it wanted to stick straight out like a tutu instead of draping over the skirt. I tried steaming it but that didn’t help at all.

I decided to stitch the organza to the underside of the circle skirt hem. It wasn’t the look I wanted, but it’s better than a tutu!

The overlay pattern is really basic, it’s made up of several rectangles.

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Those got french seamed together because this fabric frays horribly. It also sheds a lot, I tried hairspraying it at several stages and it didn’t help at all. You can’t touch it without being covered in glitter and when I walk around in the finished dress there is a little “Fairy Trail” of glitter that gets left behind.

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I pinned the lower edge of organza to the underside of the circle skirts hem.

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I used something resembling a whip stitch to hold it down. In this photo you can see how fancily I finished the circle skirts hem! I remember this taking me ages at the time, because it was one of my first cross stitch hem attempts. I think I watched like two seasons of American Pickers during the process haha.

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The top of the organza got gathered down to twenty seven ish inches. Then it was sewn onto the waistline of the circle skirt.

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I cut a slit down the back of the skirt to allow me to get in and out of it. Then I basted the layer of organza around it.

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I stitched bias tape around the edges, and turned it under.

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I had cut my overlay a little long, to correct this I gathered it over an inch away from the edge. Once it was attached to the skirt I decided to trim it down.

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And I had a functional, really pretty skirt!

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Even though this glitter pattern is a pain in the ass it’s so pretty.

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Now it was time to make the panniers! I used the same method for making these as I used with my Halloween Inspired dress which means they are made from rectangles.

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One of the longer edges gets hemmed, then the other three edges are gathered down. Mine were gathered down to twelve inches, and the end result looks like this!

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I sewed these onto a piece of ribbon, to keep them separated by the correct amount.

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The ribbon got pinned onto the skirt, then sewn. I tacked the panniers down in a few spots to make them lay nicely, and that was it! The skirt is complete! I love how it looks.

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But I wasn’t done yet. The skirt got sewn onto the bodice, then a zipper was added up the back. Both of these things went well, it was the whole trying it on part that went badly. By that I mean, I couldn’t really get it on. I decided to take out the zipper and do a lace up back. No problem!

Okay there was a little problem. I measured wrong. My eyelets were marked incorrectly and this fabric did not take eyelets well. I couldn’t heat my iron to a high enough temperature to attach interfacing (thicker fabric = easier to make smooth eyelets) without burning through the organza. So I was either going to have uneven, ugly, eyelets, or a bodice that didn’t fit.

Then my dad jokingly said “You should cover it with lace” which was brilliant. 

I let the dress out by and inch with folded strips of fabric.

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Then zipper got sewn in again. I tried on the bodice and it fit! So I covered up the failed attempts at eyelets with silver lace.

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It looks a little odd. Not ideal at all, but it totally worked.

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I stitched the lining in, which covered the raw edges of the skirt waist and the raw edges from letting the bodice out.

And with that my dress was done!

Back:

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Front:

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And here is how it looks worn! The headband is a plastic one I got from walmart. I covered it with two layers of quilt batting, then stitched the satin backed metallic fabric over it. The underside was pretty ugly so I lined it with more of that fabric.

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I have some final thoughts about this project which I would like to share. This may sound a bit negative, but I think it’s important to mention.

I wish I had stuck to my original plan. In the first blog post about this project I shared a sketch of what I had planned for this dress. I wanted to make a dress using the colors of the animated gown, and was going to style it to look like Cinderella (the headband and silver shoes). It would have a very full skirt and “Princessy” qualities, but the similarities would end there.

Somewhere along the way I changed my mind and ended up with something that is more than a Cinderella inspired dress, it’s really just a shorter version of the dress in the film but with more sparkle.  I LIKE the dress and I love the fabrics, but I wish I had committed to my original design – which was a lot more original and way more flattering.

Anyway! That’s all I wanted to say about that. There is a video about making this skirt too, which can be watched here if you are interested!

Thanks for reading!

Making a Cinderella Inspired Dress, Part One

It has taken me a while, but here is the first post about making my Cinderella inspired dress!

I was originally going to make a dress inspired by the live action ball gown (and I still intend to) but got distracted during fabric shopping by this lovely light blue and silver glitter organza. This fabric really doesn’t suit the dress from the live action film, which is why I decided to also make a version inspired by the dress in the animated film. Which is what this blog post is about!

I purchased the glitter organza from Joanns and have paired it with a satin backed metallic grey fabric, which I bought ages ago at a shop in the NYC garment district. I’m also using a metallic fashion mesh (also from Joanns) and grey polyester organza (from onlinefabricstore.net).

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I had planned on reusing the pattern I made for my Halloween Inspired dress to make this one. After taking another look at pictures of Cinderella I decided against it, but I didn’t change my sketch to reflect that. The sketch below was my original plan, which just so happens to look nothing like the finished dress.

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Once I figured out what the dress was actually going to look like, I draped the pattern. I did a horribly sloppy job of this, but I have an excuse! I was paranoid about accidentally snipping the petticoats so I didn’t trim excess fabric. Plus I chose really ugly scraps of material, it was practically doomed to look from the start!

I draped this the way I always do – pieces of cotton get pinned over the form and pulled tightly. Then seam lines are marked and the process is repeated!

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This is what it looked like after removing it from the form and trimming away excess material.

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That got transferred onto paper and seam allowances were marked. I also labeled the center front and center back. And that was it! I had a pattern!

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I used that to create the mockup, which also features really ugly fabric! The mock up was too big so I took it in quite a bit. I also lowered the neckline and extended the basque waist.

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This is the new and improved pattern!

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I used that as a guide for cutting out the bodice pieces from the satin backed metallic fabric. Once they were cut out, I laid the pieces underneath the glitter organza. I pinned the pieces to the organza and cut around them.

With the pins still in I basted the layers together. I did this by machine because I was feeling a bit lazy that day. The point of this is to keep the two layers together during assembly, and it’s easier to sew the layers together than to deal with random pins sticking out everywhere.

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All the pieces got sewn together, and I had something resembling a bodice! When it was assembled I pressed the seams open, then used my sewing machine to stitch 3/4″ away from each edge. This will be used as a guide for hemming the edges.

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Speaking of hemming, the next step is doing just that! All the edges got turned inward by three quarters of an inch and sewn down.

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Then it was time to work on the lining! The lining pieces were cut out and assembled. I’m using polyester shantung for this, since i’ve had it in my stash for ages and wanted to use it for something.

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On the interior of the lining, after being assembled, the seam allowance between the center front panel and side panels got turned under and pinned down. I’ve always called this a flat felled seam but I know that isn’t the right term. It’s like a mock felled seam. But with the other edge pressed flat. Yeah.

Regardless of what it’s called, once the folded edge is sewn down it will create a channel for boning!

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I also stitched around each edge, 3/4″ away from the edge. Like I said before this is for marking the hem allowance.

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With that done, I cut plastic boning to the right length and inserted it into the channels. Then I turned all the edges inward and sewed them down by hand.

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And it was finally time to attach the lining to the bodice! I pinned the layers together, starting from the centermost points and working my way out. I left the center back edges open (the lining will be sewn to hide the zipper, after the zipper is attached).

I also left the bottom edge open, well, kind of. I used large basting stitches to keep it in place, but it won’t be sewn down properly until after the skirt is attached.

For all the other edges (the neckline and arm holes) I attached the lining with tight whip stitches.

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Now it’s time for the sleeves! I spent so long trying to figure these out, and even contemplated scrapping them entirely. But after a few hours I figured out a shape I really liked – and a very simple way to achieve it.

Each sleeve is made from two rectangles of organza. The rectangle gets pinned in half, and the pinned edge gets sewn shut.

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Then each end is folded into three 1/2″ knife pleats, which point towards the folded edge.

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Then one end (this end will be at the front of the bodice) is folded into another knife pleat, this time facing the raw edge. That gets sewn securely so the pins can be removed.

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Lastly I tacked one of the pleats down, by hand, on the underside of each sleeve. This prevents them from losing their shape and flaring out into full rectangles.

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Each sleeve was pinned in place, with the folded edge facing outward and the raw edge being hidden by the interior of the garment. Well, that was my original plan, and that’s what is shown below, but I ended up changing it to make it more flattering. I felt this made my shoulders look very broad, which I didn’t like.

What I ended up doing was having the sleeves extend over the strap, with the raw edges tucked into the neckline.

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The sleeves were whip stitched on and the bodice was complete! It looks pretty puckery in the picture below,  but those disappear once the bodice is worn and tension holds the edges taut.

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So that’s it! I also have a video showing this process, it’s posted here if you are interested in watching!

Thank you for reading!

Making a Cinderella Inspired Petticoat

I thought this post would be fast to write. I was wrong. Somehow I ended up with fifty photos and two thousand words written about this project. Oops…

..

Speaking of this project, it’s a new one! I saw the live action Cinderella film a couple weeks ago and really enjoyed it, especially the costume design. It was stunning. Have I mentioned that I want to be Sandy Powell when I grow up? Because I do, she is really great.

I loved everything about the blue ball gown in the film. The shape, the color, the size, it’s gorgeous! But if I was going to put that amount of time (hundreds of hours) and money (hundreds of dollars) into a project, I would want to do something more original or something inspired by my favorite paintings.

So instead I decided to make a short party dress inspired by the gown in the film. This will fill my need to make something blue, sparkly and ruffly, while not eating up months of time.

 And because I fell in love with a silvery fabric (it was on a really good sale – irresistible!) I’ve decided to make a dress inspired by the ball gown from the original animated film as well. So that’s TWO Cinderella inspired dresses. And of course they require an obnoxious ruffly petticoat to go underneath them, which is what this blog post is about!

This was my fabric haul. I also had some glittery organza bought many years ago, and ordered a yard of silver lamé online. In total, seventy dollars of raw materials for two dresses and a matching petticoat – not too bad! That includes notions and beads as well, but i’ll share those in another post since they weren’t used for this petticoat.

My materials for the petticoat included: ten yards of blue netting, two yards of opalescent lamé, three yards of glitter organza, one yard of silver lamé, a yard of polyester shantung, a WHOLE spool of thread, and two yards of hooping wire.

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When the fabrics were figured out it was time to decide on the layers and do some petticoat math. I’m making a petticoat with has six layers, and each layer has three tiers.

The first tier is a piece of netting that gathers at the waist and gets longer towards the back. The second is a strip of netting which gets gathered at the top and sewn to the first tier. And the final tier is made from fabric strips, with a rolled hem and gathered top.

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The normal “petticoat math” is that each tier should be two or three times wider than the last. So if tier one is three yards wide,  tier two should be at least six yards wide, and tier three should be at least twelve yards wide (before gathering).

Unfortunately I ran low on fabric and had to make some sacrifices which resulted in some of my strips being shorter than they should have been.  I have a few very non-ruffly ruffles on certain layers 😦

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There are six layers (labeled 0-5 because I made a mistake and was too lazy to rewrite things haha) worn over a hoop base. Each layer gets longer and wider as they go. A few layers are the same length but most are a half inch to an inch longer than the last to account for the volume the layers beneath it provide.

I wrote all my petticoat math out before. And I had a list of everything that needed to be cut and from what fabrics.

Before cutting the the fabric for the layers I decided to make the hoop base. This is just to enforce the elliptical shape of the skirt and also prevents the skirt from getting tangled in my legs. This isn’t a big problem with shorter skirts, but I figured it couldn’t hurt either.

I made a pattern very similar to pannier patterns, with a flat front and large back. But instead of the flat side facing my hips, it would be at the front.

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I rolled the bottom edge over by a half inch, then over by one inch. This creates a channel to feed hooping wire through.

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I did up the front seams and added the hooping wire. Now you can really see the shape!

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The top got properly gathered and I had a functional base!

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On a whim I made a four inch ruffle from netting and sewed that onto the bases hem. This will give me the correct length to start building off of.

I could have made the fabric part of the base longer, but then it would show if I decided to spin in the skirt. And the whole point of this petticoat is to have majorly wonderful spin factor, with most of the volume coming from ruffles.

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I should also mention that the petticoat base has a eight inch slash down the back which will be how I get the petticoat on and off.

This is it with the netting ruffle sewn on!

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Now it was time for cutting the netting! As I mentioned above I wrote out everything I needed to cut ahead of time so I could do it in one go. When each piece of netting was cut it was put in a pile, then pinned to a label. I think I’ve said this several times before but it’s still true,  organization is VERY important in petticoat making.

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I also cut out all the strips for the soon-to-be-ruffles. For these I used a sharpie to mark all the lines, then zoomed through them with good scissors. I’m still scared of rotary cutters, which is unfortunate, they would have made this process a bit faster!

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When the fabric strips were cut they also got labeled right away!

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After all the cutting was done it was time to begin sewing! Actually that is a lie, before sewing anything I made ten bobbins of thread. Which didn’t end up being enough, I think I went through eighteen before this project was finished.

When it was time to sew the first thing I did was sew all the netting strips together with french seams. Then they got pinned back to their labels. I repeated this process with all the fabric strips because it’s way easier to get that out of the way at the beginning.

And then it was time for hemming. A lot of hemming…

I did a one quarter inch rolled hem, by eye, for all of the fabric strips. I don’t have a hemming foot for this, so I do it manually by running the fabric through the machine twice.

First the edge gets turned over by a quarter inch and sewed down.

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Then it gets turned over again and stitched down as close to the edge as possible.

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And this gets repeated for about a hundred yards of fabric! I’m not even exaggerating with that number. These are the lowest tires for layer one and two (the shortest layers) fully hemmed.

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Once those are hemmed it’s time for gathering! There are lots of ways to make ruffles, but I do mine by pushing the fabric underneath the presser foot as I go. These don’t make the most visually pleasing ruffles, but it’s relatively fast and gives me a lot of control over how dense the gathers are.

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And that gets repeated until sixty yards of fabric strips are turned into pretty little ruffles.

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Then the ruffles are sewn onto the strips of netting.

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Ideally the tops of these would be finished with bias tape or a serger. But because this petticoat is for personal use and I don’t need it to be super durable, i’m just top stitching the ruffle to the netting.

Except for layer two and four, because lamé is is so prone to fraying. Those layers have organza ribbon topstitched over the raw edge.

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And that gets repeated until all the ruffles are attached to netting layers!

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This process took me a few days and I didn’t have enough desk or drawer space to store my piles of ruffles. So they got pinned onto my then unfinished, uniquely you dress form and I had this bizarre looking ruffly statement piece in my sewing room!

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The tops of the netting strips were gathered down and sewn to the top layer of each tier.

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And lastly, the tops of each layer get gathered down to twenty five inches. Now you can see some real progress as these get built up over the form!

This is layer 0 with a glitter organza ruffle.

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This is Layer 1, also from glitter organza. You can tell that it’s longer than the last layer, which was intentional.

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Layer 2! This layers ruffle is made from silver lamé.

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Layer 3, the last layer of glitter organza ruffles.

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Layer 4 is made from the opalescent lamé which I love. It’s so pretty. At this point I realized a little problem, the back of the dress actually had less volume than the front! Which is the opposite of what I wanted.

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So I decided to make my petticoat be two separate pieces. The second piece would be attached like a backwards apron, with the tulle being heavily gathered in the back instead of all the way around.

Which meant I could finish off the waist of this skirt! Some of my measurements were a little off on the tiers which resulted in me having to lower the center front and back to get a smooth hemline. This meant I couldn’t do a traditional rectangular waistband, instead I had to make something curvy with a pointed back and front.

But that’s okay. Curvy waistbands are pretty fancy and I think it ended up looking intentional.

I draped a mock up waistband over the petticoat, then copied it to paper and added seam allowances.

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I cut it out from polyester shantung and backed it with fusible interfacing.

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I used my machine to stitch a guideline a half inch away from each edge, then turned those edges inward.

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The edges got stitched down and my waistband was complete!

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I stitched it onto the petticoat and it was almost done! It wasn’t close to being done.

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Once I declared it finished I realized it was very flat near the waist. This is bad. I wanted a lot of volume near the waist. Not only does added volume near the waist give a more accurate silhouette, it also makes your waist look smaller by comparison. And I wanted a really small looking waist.

So I cut strips of leftover netting and stitched them together. Then I hemmed them with half inch wide horsehair braid and gathered the tops down to ten inches. I made two of these, one for each side of the skirt.

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 I hoisted up the top three petticoat layers and pinned them out of the way. I find this picture so amusing, it looks like a petticoat disaster gone wrong.

Am I doing it right? 

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 I pinned the horsehair additions to each side and sewed them down. These added soo much volume, I love it!

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And now the skirt had a much different, less A-line shape, which was perfect!

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That was before adding the second petticoat, which i’ll talk about making in a second.

 This is WITH the second petti overtop, it adds a lot of volume to the back!

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Now it came to making the second petticoat…or petticoat fluffer…or reverse apron, whatever you call it! All I did was cut a large rectangle of netting which the lower two tiers got attached to (these tiers were originally assembled for layer five). Then the top was gathered down to around twelve inches.

I made the waistband from a strip from a rectangle of shantung.  It was folded like double fold bias tape, but cut on straight grain.

Here are the folded strips. The top one is actually the lining for the first petticoats waistband.

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Then eyelets were stitched on both sides.

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Because of how it was folded there was a pocket between the layers. The raw edge of netting was inserted into that pocket, then it was sewn shut. And it was done!

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And because I didn’t show it earlier, here is the first petticoat with the lining pinned in place. It got sewn on shortly after, then eyelets were stitched in as a closure.

I was originally going to have it button closet, but i’m wearing this over a corset, so there is some size fluctuation depending on how tightly i’m willing to lace, which wouldn’t pair well with buttons.

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And the question i’m sure is on everyones mind, does it pass the twirl test? I think it does but i’ll let you decide for yourself, because I have a short clip of it in action posted here.

Final Notes: After draping the skirt to go over this, I don’t think the back has enough volume. Eventually i’ll make another horsehair/netting ruffle and sew it onto the “reverse apron” which will fix this. I would have done it before posting this, but i’m out of white horsehair and pink would look out of place!

Also the method covered here can be used for a full length version of Cinderella’s petti. Though I would highly suggest using a small hoop as a base, which I did with my Christmas Angel Petticoat. Otherwise the petti will tangle between your legs really easily. You should also use petticoat netting or organza for construction, they are both stiffer and provide a lot more volume than the crappy netting I got from Joanns. They can be bought in bulk here.

I think that’s it! Thank you for reading!