Making a Black Lace Dress, Part Two

Today i’m blogging about making the skirt to match the black lace bodice which I posted about last week. This part of the project went better than the bodice, and ended up being pretty easy!

 The pattern is a simple 18.5″ long three quarter circle skirt. The finished length after seams will be seventeen inches, which is pretty short, but there will be a six inch ruffle sewn onto the hem so hopefully it will rest just above my knees.

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The skirt was cut out of the polyester shantung I used for the bodice. I had just barely enough left!

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 I sewed a layer of black petticoat net overtop so it would match the bodice. The bodice actually had two layers of petticoat net on it, but I figured the gathered black lace at the waistline of the skirt would make it look darker and balance out the color difference.

Also I didn’t have a lot of petticoat net leftover. The second layer would have been made up of three or four pieces which I didn’t think would look that good.

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I was going to do a normal rolled hem on this but I ended up having just enough one inch wide horsehair left. So I used that instead. I sewed the horsehair on by machine, then turned the hem over and sewed it down by hand with whip stitches.

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With the circle skirt done I switched over to working on the petticoat topper and ruffle. The petticoat i’m wearing under this is  my cheap leg avenue one, since I plan on traveling with this dress and that one can be squished into a small plastic bag. But that petticoat is shorter than this skirt and doesn’t have the level of volume I wanted.

Which is where the petticoat topper comes in! It adds the length I want and a bit more poof. And it gets sewn into the dress so the dress could even be worn without a petticoat and still have a bit of volume.

I cut twelve and eleven inch wide strips for the petticoat topper, and six and a half inch wide strips for the ruffle on the hem of the circle skirt. All of these were cut from a beige point d’esprit netting I got from Joanns. I was pretty impressed with this netting – I think I paid less than $3 a yard for it and it was really soft and easy to work with, while still creating a good amount of volume.

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Anyway! The eleven inch wide strips got gathered down and sewn onto the twelve inch wide strips.

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And then the top was gathered down and tah-dah! It doesn’t look like much here but trust me, it helps with the skirt shape.

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Then the six inch wide strips were sewn together and the twelve yard length was gathered down.

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That is some ruffly goodness right there. I left all of these strips unhemmed because I prefer the look of that. This netting is soft enough that it isn’t scratchy, and it doesn’t fray, so it doesn’t really need to be hemmed anyway.

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The ruffle got pinned on.

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And topstitched on. I could have sewn it on by hand but I didn’t think anyone would really notice.

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Here it is on the dress form – It looks a little uneven but I promise it isn’t!

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With that done I cut out the lace overlay. This was nineteen inches long and three yards wide. I figured after the top was gathered down it would fall just below the hem of the circle skirt and make a nice transition into the netting.

I did that, and it kind of worked but I didn’t like the result.

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So I ripped the gathers out and pinned the scalloped edge of the lace onto the point where the netting attaches to the circle skirt. Then I roughly pinned the top to the waistline.  I realize this looks messy right now, but I liked this soo much better!

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I sewed the lace onto the hem.

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Then gathered the top down and sewed it onto the waistline of the circle skirt.

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I thought it looked really lovely, but there was a slight problem.

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The scalloped edge kept flipping up and that looked bad.

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So I spent an hour hand sewing the scalloped edge onto the netting.

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And then it was done! Or almost done. I still have to glue on the rhinestones but everything else is finished. I love how this turned out. I think the fabrics look lovely together and it’s so pretty and delicate. I was worried the lace would look cheap (I think I paid like $6 a yard for it? so it was cheap) and that my dress would end up looking cheap. But that concern went away after getting it to this point.

Like the last blog post, this one has a video counterpart which can be watched here.

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And that’s it! Part three should be up on Friday and will talk about the collar.

Thanks for reading!

Completing the Brown Menswear Ensemble + Finished Photos

DSC_5288resize2This is the final post about making my brown menswear inspired ensemble. Part one went up almost ten months ago, and part two was posted a couple months ago. Today I’m sharing how I made the tunic and hat, along with some photos of the finished costume!

I started on this tunic ages ago, so I don’t remember the dimensions and measurements I used. But here are how the pieces looked after being cut out.

I used a lightweight cotton gauze for the tunic. I absolutely love the feel of this material, and it’s ridiculously wonderful to work. Unfortunately it’s delicate, so it isn’t a great choice for undergarments that will be worn a lot. I still chose to use it since I had some around and it was the perfect shade of off white.

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The first thing I did was fold rectangles in half and gather the top edge down to make little ruffles. The smaller ones are for the wrist cuffs, and the larger one is for the collar.

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The body of the tunic is made from a rectangle which is folded in half, then a neck hole is cut in the center of the folded edge. I cut a slash down the centerfront so I could easily pull the tunic over my head.

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The raw edges of the slash got turned inward by a half inch, then I covered the raw edges with bias tape.

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The collar and cuffs are made from two inch wide strips of fabric. The edges were all turned over by a half inch to create finished width of one inch.

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I sewed the ruffle onto the top edge  of the collar.
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Then the collar got sewn onto the body of the tunic. Lining was sewn in to hide any raw edges.

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After the lining was sewn in I stitched one eyelet onto either side, so the collar could be closed with cord.

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That finished off the body of the tunic, so I moved onto the sleeves. Both sleeves were tightly gathered at the cuff.

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The cuffs were attached, then ruffles got attached to the cuffs.

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After the lining was sewn in I finished the cuffs off with eyelets so they can tie closed.

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And that is where my progress pictures for the tunic end. I sewed gussets onto the tops of each sleeve with french seams. Then the sleeves were sewn onto the body of the tunic with french seams. Finally the side seams were done up, and the lower edge was hemmed.

Now, onto the hat! I decided to pair my doublet with a beret. Berets are super easy and made from three pieces of fabric: A circle, a circle with a circle cut out of the center, and a rectangle. That’s it.

I cut those pieces out of a thick brown canvas. Then I used these as a guide for cutting out the top layer of my beret, which is a brown stretch jersey. Definitely not the best choice for a hat, but I used it on the doublet and I wanted them to match.

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Here are the layers pinned together.

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With the right sides facing each other I stitched a half inch away from the edge of the inner circle.

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Then I turned the fabrics the right way out, this creates a finished opening where the hat will fit on the head. I stitched around this edge by hand.

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Then the two pieces got pinned together and I sewed a half inch away from the outer edge. Once it was turned right side out I had a hat!

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I turned the edges of a rectangle inward and trimmed it with some lace, then sewed that to the opening of the hat. This created a band/brim that I pinned onto my wig. I would have loved to decorate this with feathers, but the pheasant feathers I bought with this in mind were too large and the wrong shade of brown.

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I paired this costume with a wig from color.salon on ebay, the shoes are from payless, and the socks are from charlotte russe. This costume is menswear inspired and I tried to mirror that with the styling – the wig is still long but it’s tied back and i’m not wearing nearly as much makeup as usual.

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And that’s it! I’m not totally happy with how this turned out, but I like how different it is from my other projects. I’m planning on making another menswear inspired ensemble very soon. Hopefully my next attempt will be a bit more historically accurate because this is all over the place.

Thanks for reading!

Making a Forest Sprite Costume, Part One

My allergies have been crazy this week so it seems fitting to blog about a costume that i’m allergic to! I’m not even kidding. The only thing I learned from making this is that burlap, plastic moss, and real moss are three materials I will never be touching again.

With that cheery intro, lets talk about this project! I found some really neat fake bird nests, flowers, and moss from Michaels. They were on sale and I found the textures really interesting and unlike anything I had worked with before. So I bought them.

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I decided to make a forest sprite costume. This was a challenge for me, since I wanted something that would blend in with the forest environment but also be a pretty standalone dress. I wanted the materials to be really prominent in the dress, and for it to have a lot of texture. My original plan was to have layers of petal shaped organza and tulle gathered at the waist, which is shown in this sketch. But I scrapped that idea pretty quickly.

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Even though the skirt design wasn’t completely clear in my mind, I knew what I wanted the bodice to look like. So I started draping it.

I was ten minutes into the draping process when I realized I had already made a bodice very similar to the one I was trying to create. It was pretty much identical to my Fall Forest Fairy bodice. I still had the pattern for that, so I decided to reuse it. All I did was fiddle with the neckline a bit and lengthen it at the waist.

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I cut the bodice out of a ivory brocade fabric. This fabric is kind of thin on its own, so I backed it with fusible interfacing.

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Then I added the boning and boning channels.

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I covered the edges with half inch wide home made bias tape, which was sewn on by machine. The top edge will be completely covered in moss and netting so I wasn’t too particular about how it looked before those things were added.

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I covered the bottom edge with bias tape as well.

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The bodice fit well enough that I felt comfortable moving on to decorating it. I wanted this to be packed full of texture so I decided to do some fancy stitchwork.

This isn’t really embroidery, it’s just a running stitch repeated every eighth of an inch. The stitching attaches floral print chiffon (I left the edges of it raw) to the sides of bodice. I didn’t do a very precise or pretty job of this – but I wasn’t trying to do either of those things. I just wanted to add texture, and I think the irregular pattern does a better job of that.

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Then I pinned some mesh over the neckline. I pulled at the edges until they looked torn and frayed.

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It all got sewn down by hand.

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Then I added the moss. I used a mixture of moss that came on a spool, which was plastic, and moss from a bag which was real. I DID NOT know the bagged moss was real until after buying it and having it sit in a drawer for a month. It was pretty awful to work with since the ratio of green moss to sticks and dirt was about 50/50. I felt like bugs were going to crawl out while I worked with it.

But the fake moss was almost as bad. I think it’s made by spraying flocking over a wiry plastic base. Which I usually wouldn’t have a problem with but in this case the flocking was made up of tiny plastic spines which get all over your skin, into your eyes, and nose. They have a texture that makes me itch.

So this part of the process wasn’t a lot of fun. After maybe an hour I got everything oriented and glued on in a way I liked. The bodice was finished with a few burlap patches which were also hot glued on.

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To completely hide the top edge of the bodice (which was the ivory fabric) I had to extend the moss into the interior of the bodice. I can’t really line it without it showing, so the moss remains pressed against my skin which adds another level of discomfort to this costume. My chest does not deserve the pain this plastic itchy moss from hell inflicts on it whenever I wear this.

But it looks really cool! So that makes it worth it. kind of.

Thats it for the magical forest spire bodice. Next week i’ll go over the process of making the skirt.

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Thanks for reading!

Making a Dress out of Ikea Curtains

I recently went to ikea. Going to ikea is usually a fun experience, because I enjoy places with a lot of stuff I don’t need but find very appealing because it is cheap and aesthetically pleasing. I got a new rug for my sewing room, and a little wire cart for under my desk. But the most exciting purchase were the curtains I got.

I don’t need curtains. I don’t plan on using any of the sets as curtains. The reason I bought them is because the curtains are effectively very large panels of fabric. About five and a half yards of fabric, in fact, which is enough to make a dress! That’s what i’ll be doing today. This entire dress is made from a pair of curtains and a zipper, which cost a grand total of $16. And it only took me five hours to make!

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I sort of gave up on photographing this project part way through. I made this dress for my youtube channel, and wasn’t even sure if I would blog about it, which is why the pictures are limited. But there should be enough for you to understand the process!

Here is the material. These are EIVOR curtains.

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Two 57″ x 98″ panels – that is soo much fabric, it ends up being less than $3 a yard.

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It’s a stiff cotton fabric and it feels a lot like the broadcloth you get at fabric stores. This isn’t a print I would usually go for, but I thought it was really cute. It’s a large sketchy black pattern of branches, leaves, and birds.

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As I said, this isn’t a print I would usually go for, so I wasn’t entirely sure what to make with it. I decided to browse etsy for ideas. I ended up searching for 1950s summer dresses, since they often have cute, but simple designs, which suit a large print. I found two that I really liked, they can be seen here and here.

Here is one of the images from the listing (photo belongs MinxouriVintage, not me) in case it gets removed and isn’t visible later on. I thought this neckline was pretty, and the bows on the straps won me over completely.

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So I used some scraps of a batik fabric and draped a pattern on my dress form which I felt looked similar. I know it looks pretty shoddy here, but I ironed it, cleaned up the edges, and transferred it onto paper.

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After all that it looked like this! Much nicer!

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I cut the bodice out twice. One layer will be the front, the other will be the lining. Since this fabric isn’t completely opaque the print on the lining layer is visible from the outside. I could have used a pure white cotton lining instead, but I liked being able to see the print. It ads a shadowy effect which I think is cool.

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I marked the darts onto the wrong side of the fabric. Then they got pinned and sewed in place.

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…And that was where I gave up on photographing the process. So we skip a lot of steps! I pinned the layers together, so the right sides were facing each other. Then I sewed around the neckline and center back with a half inch seam allowance. I turned the bodice so the right sides are facing out and top stitched around the neckline.

Then I made bias tape from one and a half inch wide strips of bias cut fabric. I folded the edges inward and pinned them over the arm holes. I made the bias tape sixteen or so inches longer than the arm hole. Eight inches hang off of either side and will serve as straps.

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I sewed the bias tape on and that was pretty much it for the bodice! The straps got tied into bows and it was done.

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The skirt is three twenty three inch long panels, which are the full width of the curtains (fifty seven inches).

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I sewed them together, then hemmed the bottom edge. I did this by machine for once, hoping to save time. The edge was turned over by a half inch, then by one inch, to get a clean finish.

The top was gathered down by machine as well. I pushed the fabric under the foot as I went and ran it through the machine several times to get it down to the twenty eight inches it needed to be.

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The skirt was pinned to the bodice and I sewed the waist seam. I also covered the raw edge with bias tape.

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The final step was adding a zipper and sewing up the back seam. Then it was done!

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And here it is worn. It looks cute without a petticoat, but for these pictures I wore a cheap leg avenue petti – I got mine on ebay but i’m pretty sure that is the same one.

I like this dress a lot, especially considering it only took $16 and five hours to make!

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Thanks for reading!

Making a Orchid Inspired Dress, Part One

I’m back with yet another fashion project, which has kept me from going insane while finishing up the final details on my tudor costume! As the title suggests, this is a dress inspired by my orchids. I got the materials for this project (and talked a bit about it) in my birthday haul.

 In that post I mentioned that i’m really easily inspired, especially by things around me. I’ve had a pretty little orchid sitting next to my desk since January, so it was only a matter of time until I made a dress inspired by it. I’m honestly pretty impressed with myself that I  managed to hold off for three months.

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The original dress design can be seen below. I wanted it to be simple and elegant while still being visually interesting.That is a description I would use when talking about orchids, so I think it makes sense that my orchid-inspired-dress can be described with the same words.

. I had hoped to find materials in dark ivory, light purple, and a dull fuchsia, which when used together would create a gradient effect.

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But then I got another orchid. And I found the color patterns of this one a lot more interesting. I think the deeper purple spots and contrast against the lighter ivory better fits my “Simple, elegant, and interesting” description. So the sketch got revised a bit, and my fabric choices became much different than I had originally planned!

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I ended up with three yards of 120″ wide striped fabric, three yards of silk organza, and three yards of silk taffeta. I thought I bought four yards of the silks, but I remeasured and realized I was wrong about that! Honestly I should have bought four yards of all these fabrics, I  almost ran out part way through the project.

But I standby the actual fabrics I picked, even though I got the wrong amounts. I love the color, sheen, and weight of the taffeta, it was lovely to work with. The striped material gives just enough texture to what would otherwise be a boring circle skirt, and the organza gave it a lightness that the project needed.

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And here is Dotty (yes, I name my orchids) with the inspiration fabric.

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Okay! Now for actual progress photos! I wanted the bodice to be asymmetrical, and by that I mean as asymmetrical as I could get with everything still being covered. The majority of the bodice would be made from off white material, with a purple taffeta “collar” across the neckline and shoulders.

 I managed to accomplish the shape I wanted pretty easily, and my mock up fit on the first try!

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I made a few slight alterations to my pattern, the most major of which involved lowering the waistline. Then I marked out the boning placements and where the lacing loops would be.

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After making the skirt (which I will blog about next week) the fabric I had planned on using was almost entirely gone. I had enough to use for the bodice, but none of the stripes would have pointed in the right direction, much less matched up. So instead I decided to make the bodice from organza, with the option to add lining later on.

This is the bodice cut out.

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And with the boning channels marked out!

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I cut my boning channel casings from the leftover striped material. I cut these  out across the fabrics grain so you can see all the stripes. It isn’t very noticeable when the bodice is worn, but I think it’s a fun touch!

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Those got sewn in place. Unfortunately this part didn’t go smoothly. The two bobbins I had made in advance had something (I have no clue what) wrong with them which caused a tension problem and left me with very messy loose stitches on the underside. Ripping out stitches on organza is hell so I just went over the channels again after fixing the bobbin.

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Then I added boning! These bones don’t go to the top of the bodice, so  I had to hand stitch stoppers to keep them in place.

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Then I added another layer of organza overtop. This diffuses the look of the boning channels and makes the bodice slightly more opaque.

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I cut two inch wide strips of purple taffeta on the bias and folded them into double fold bias tape. Then I pinned them around the bodices edges.

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I sewed it down by hand and for once i’m pretty happy with how it looks! My hand sewn bias tape hasn’t been cleanest in the past, so this is a big improvement for me.

Not sure if it balances out the sloppy boning channels, but it certainly helps!

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I also cut out one inch wide strips of fabric on the bias. These got ironed and sewn into quarter inch wide strips that are three inches long. I made about twenty of them, all to be used for loops up the back of the dress. I think loops look a lot more elegant and since elegant is the buzzword for this project, I decided it was worth the extra time to make them!

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They got folded into loops, then pinned onto leftover bias tape.

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I sewed over them several times until I was confident the loops were secure.

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Then the loops got sewn onto the bodice. This part doesn’t look as pretty. I was trying to avoid hitting the boning channels while being unable to see where the bone ended since the loops covered them.

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Now it was time to add the collar. I cut more strips of taffeta and sewed them into tubes, so the raw edges were hidden inside the tubes. It’s a little wasteful fabric wise, but saves the time it takes to hem the strips and completely avoids having to combat puckered silk hems.

I can’t really describe how I draped this. I pleated the end of the strip and placed it at the waist, then I just tugged, folded, and pinned until I was happy with how it laid. I cleaned it up a little bit after taking this picture, since the neckline wasn’t as smooth as I wanted it to be.

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Then I tried it on! I liked how it looked a lot, but it needed a couple of alterations. The biggest one was taking in the collar (that feels like the wrong name for this, though i’m not sure what else it would be called) at the shoulder, and taking the entire bodice in by more than an inch.

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I re-draped the collar so it was a little smaller in the shoulder, then tacked everything down so the pins could be removed.

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Before doing that I took it in by a inch. I did this in the under arm area, right next to the boning channels. Then the extra fabric was stitched underneath the boning channels. It’s obvious from the interior, but from the outside it is hard to tell!

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Back to the collar. Here are all the tacking stitches. Not the prettiest thing ever, but much nicer to look at than tons of pins or puckers, which are the two alternatives. The edges of the taffeta were tucked underneath the loop closures and whip stitched down.

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With the collar done, all I needed to do was finish the lower edge with bias tape! So I did that. This time I used cotton bias tape that I had leftover from making the skirt.

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And it was done! Could probably use a steaming, but that’s all that I have left to do on it.

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Thank you for reading!

Making a Silvery Blue Dress, Part Three

This is the final post about making this dress! I originally posted about it at the end of January, almost two weeks after I finished it. It’s inspired by Madalena’s wedding dress in the show “Galavant” and has a Renaissance/Fantasy flair to it.

There is more information about all that in the first, and the second posts about this project! I would suggest reading those first, if you haven’t already.

In my last post I had just completed the bodice and sleeves, which meant it was time to focus on the skirt! The skirt is made entirely from the greyish “mystery” fabric. I had quite limited amounts of fabric, so I couldn’t make the skirt as full as I had hoped. It ended up being a rectangular front panel, with three gored panels in the back. Skirts like this can be cut from three and a half yards of fabric, which is super handy!

I gave it a small train – I would have made it longer if I had more fabric, but it only ended up being around sixteen inches.

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 I had planned on cartridge pleating the top, so I cut strips of flannel on the bias to back the waistline with. This will give the fabric more volume which makes it pleat nicer!

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I hemmed one edge, then stitched it onto the skirt. One end folds over a half inch, and the other is one and a half inches long.

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Unfortunately even with the backing this fabric really didn’t want to pleat nicely. I ended up with really tiny, sad looking gathers and I wasn’t pleased with them at all.

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So I decided to pleat the top instead. I had hoped having a gathered waist would help differentiate it from the dress I used as inspiration, since i’m not trying to make an exact copy of it. But sometimes you have to do what works with the fabric, even if it isn’t part of the plan!

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This is it all pinned! One large box pleat is in the center, then knife pleats on the sides.

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Then it was time for hemming! I marked one inch inside the hem and folded the edge to touch it, then basted it down.

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Then I turned that edge inward again, until I had an even one and a half inch hem. I did make the hem a little deeper towards the back, so I could get really smooth curves.

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I stitched it by hand with a cross stitch to make it nice and pretty!

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I turned the top of the back seam edges over to create a slit.

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I finished the edge with bias tape and sewed hook/eye closures every one and a half inches to keep the skirt closed. I don’t think I got any photos of those, but below you can see the markings I made for them.

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Then the skirt got pinned on!

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And finally sewn on. I did this by hand to try and hide the stitches, but both of these fabrics are very pucker prone so i’m afraid it isn’t as smooth as I had wanted!

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Here is the finished dress – all it needs is a good ironing!

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I’m probably most pleased with the tiny gathers on the sleeves.

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I decided to pair this dress with the silver crown I got on ebay last year. I’m a little annoyed because it has started to turn gold in some areas which is really bizarre. I’ve heard of fake gold turning silver, but never the reverse! Luckily it kind of comes off with a cotton swab dipped in alcohol.

I also wore it with a bunch of rings I got from ebay and forever 21, and a pair of earrings from Charlotte Russe.

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After wearing this dress for a bit i’ve decided there are two things I want to change. The skirt REALLY needs a liner of some sort, the fabric is too flowy and looks very lumpy, even over a smooth petticoat. It also caves in at the bottom so I think adding six inch horsehair in the hem would make a huge difference.

I’d also like to pick up something to cover the waist seam – next time i’m in NYC I’ll keep a look out for silver lace!

Here are two pictures of the finished costume. We got some snow I thought it would make for a pretty backdrop!

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Thanks for reading!

Making a Fluffy, Feathered Dress, Part One

I’m really excited about this project! Not only is it a new project, it’s also the first dress in what will hopefully become a series.

This year i’m focusing on bigger projects, which are more detailed and elaborate. Which is great, and something I find really exciting. Unfortunately big projects take longer, which means I don’t have as much to blog about and don’t have any content for my youtube channel since the bigger the project, the harder it is to film.

So my new goal is to make a “Simple” project once a month – it’s can be a dress, jacket, skirt, or any combination of those things. Ideally the project will take less than twenty hours, incorporate items from my stash, and be completed in less than a week. Not only will this help break up the tediousness of elaborate historical costumes (which I love doing but can get tiresome) it will also give me more to blog about and something to film!

Now onto this specific project,

I’ve been watching old episodes of project runway recently, and it’s left me wanting to make something kind of…normal. As in not historically inspired at all. It actually has me feeling a bit inspired by Georgina Chapmans wardrobe of Marchesa dresses – they tend to involve a lot of lace and mesh, and have a light, airy quality to them. Something I wanted to incorporate into this dress.

At a trip to Joanns I took advantage of the presidents day sale and got some ivory mesh fabric with a laser cut floral chiffon print. I found the texture really interesting and paired it with a few materials I already own.

One of them is this crazy ruffled/gathered/sequined/striped jersey i’ve had for YEARS. I bought it with a project in mind when I first started sewing. It was crazy cheap for having so much texture (maybe $6 a yard?) but the project fell through and i’ve had it sitting in a bin for ages. I almost put it in a “Fabric I regret buying” post last year so i’m shocked and very pleased to find a project that suits it!

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I decided to pair that with some other materials I already have. They include: Feathers glued to buckram (why did I buy these?!), various beads, sequins and very pretty lace that I was given!

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And here is my original sketch, inspired by the textiles I chose. Some things ended up getting changed (mostly the sleeves) as I worked things out.

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So this post in particular is about the skirt! My dress actually ended up becoming three pieces, a jersey underskirt, a dress with a sheer overskirt attached, and an illusion neck mesh bodice with sleeves. The video that shows the process of making it is posted HERE!

 I’ll be going over the dimensions and process in more detail below.

The fabric i’m using this is a very strange sheer, striped, jersey with ruffles stitched in rows across it all. There is woven sequin trim dividing the ruffles every four and a half inches. I kept this all in mind when cutting my skirt pattern.

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Due to the nature of my fabric i’m making this a rectangle skirt with a ruffle. Rectangle skirts are the easiest skirts to make, since all they require are three rectangles of varying sizes. One rectangle for a waistband, another for the skirt “body” and another for the ruffle.

The general “Skirt Math” I use is that each rectangle measurement should be at least three times bigger than the last. So if your waistband is thirty inches, the skirt “body” should be at least ninety, and the ruffle should be two hundred and seventy (paired with whatever length you desire). This makes sure you will get a very full skirt!

I ended up making my skirt even fuller than that. And due to the amount of fabric I had the skirt “body” was cut as four panels instead of one. So here are the pattern pieces for the skirt I made:

One 29″x4″ rectangle (for the waistband – this is my waist measurement plus seam allowances)

Four 28″ x 20″ rectangles (for the skirt body)

Two 5.5″ x 160″ rectangles (for the ruffle)

And a three inch wide strip which I used to make bias tape.

Here are the panels for the main part of the skirt.

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And the strips cut to turn into ruffles! I cut these in the opposite direction as the main panels, hopefully this will add more texture.

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I had originally planned on hemming the strips before making ruffles, but a bit of experimenting with scraps made me realize I could get this fantastic effect by cutting off the woven trim. It creates this really neat fringe-y look which I LOVE. Suddenly the fabric I didn’t like but was trying to use up turned into something really interesting.

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Gathering it just made it look better!

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I gathered it the same way I always do, by shoving it under the foot of my machine as I go. Not the safest or most precise way, but It is fast and I love the results. I gathered this down to be the same length as the hem of all the main panels sewn together.

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After sewing the panels together (which took a while, I was careful with pinning and did my best to get all the stripes/ruffles to line up) I pinned on the ruffle.

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I sewed it on and gathered the skirt at the wasit. I gathered the top of the skirt by hand…then realized it was a couple inches too long, so I hiked it up at the waist and gathered it again. Another pro of rectangle skirts!

I was so ridiculously pleased with this that I decided to make it a stand alone piece, instead of being attached to a bodice/part of the dress. That way I can wear it with other pieces too. I see so many options with the skirt!

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Once I decided to make it a separate piece I went about making the waistband. I made it four inches wide, so I could fold it in half and sew the edges together to finish them.

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To finish the bottom edge I cut three inch wide strips of fabric on the bias, then folded the edges inward, and folded it in half. This creates double fold bias tape.

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Before sewing the waistband on I folded the top eight inches of the back edge over, this will get left open when I do up the back seam so I can get in and out of the skirt easily.

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Then the waistband got sewn on!

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And I did up the back seam. I chose to close this skirt with a single eyelet at the waist, leaving a slit in the back. Since this will be worn under things i’m not too concerned about the slight opening.

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The raw edge got finished with the bias tape I made earlier.

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And the skirt is done! Looking back I should have reinforced the waistband with interfacing, it has the tendency to sag and warp in certain places due to the skirts weight. That was a mistake on my part. But other than that I really like this skirt!

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Now for the overskirt! The overskirt is made up of an eighteen inch long, seventy two inch wide rectangle, and two slightly gored panels that are the same length. I had originally wanted to make this as a three quarter circle skirt, but fabric limitations prevented that!

This mesh doesn’t fray so I left it unhemmed. I cut it with a wavy pattern to make it look more…natural I guess, I wanted it to flow over the underskirt softly instead of ending in a harsh line.

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I sewed the panels together and gathered the top down to my waist measurement.

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I tried it on over the underskirt and there was something missing. I decided that thing was sparkle, so I stitched on a scattering of sequins across the lower half, focusing on the hem.

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Sparkles make everything better, and this skirt was no exception!

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(at this point the underskirt was unfinished)

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I folded the top eight inches of the back edge over and sewed them down, I did this for the underskirt too. It will be left open when I do up the back seam so I can get in and out of the skirt easily. This doesn’t matter if you have a smaller frame, but I have big hips and big shoulders so a six to eight inch slit at the waist is a necessity for all my skirts.

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…And that is all for this post! I thought there was more, but it makes more sense to include the information on attaching the skirt to the bodice in the blog post about the bodice. Which will hopefully be up next week! This project is complete I just need to get around to editing the videos about it.

Here is the finished ensemble, as a bit of a teaser picture!

Dress WatermarkThanks for reading!

Fall Flower Fairy Photos

My wish since starting this costume was to get it photographed in a pumpkin patch. Last month on an early Saturday morning that wish was granted!

It was an cold and windy day, which was unfortunate because my hair doesn’t get on well with wind and turned to a frizzy mess in minutes. But the trip was completely worth it because the location was filled with vibrant colors and thousands of pumpkins!

Today I will likely consume several pounds of pumpkin pie, so it seems like a fitting day to post pictures of myself in pumpkin patch.

If you are curious about the process of making this dress, those blog posts can be found here!

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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!

Making a Glittery Gothic Dress, Part Two

This is the second part in my glittery gothic adventures, part one talks about the bodice and can be read here!

Since I didn’t have very many flowers I decided to make this skirt a half circle instead of a three quarter circle (like my previous flower dresses). Looking back on it I regret this because it didn’t create a very nice silhouette, this type of dress really works better with a fuller skirt!

 I cut the pattern from black broadcloth, but since all my flowers were black they didn’t really pop against the fabric, they blended in and looked terrible.

My solution was spray painting the hem silver to get a grey foggy effect. I think it worked really nicely, it looks interesting but keeps with the spooky/black theme, which normal grey fabric wouldn’t.

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 Even though I was happy with the paint job on the skirt I had no clue what direction to take this project in. It sat on my dress form for several days looking like this and I debated about scrapping the idea and giving up.

Part of the problem was the bat wing bodice (which was a huge failure) but just in general I wasn’t sure how to arrange the flowers and decorations in a way that wouldn’t look silly. My attempts with pinning things on to get a feel for how they would look just made things worse since it looked so bad.

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 I still wanted to move forward with this project so I decided to dive in and hope for the best. Just because one or two flowers looked bad doesn’t mean twenty will…or so I hoped!

Step one was hemming it, I used black two inch horsehair braid to add a bit of lift to the skirt. My sewing machine foot left tracks in the paint which was weird since I left it to dry for several days!

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DSC_9154The skirt totally retaliated by getting paint all over my hand and machine. I really wouldn’t recommend the whole spray painting fabric method because the paint seems to stick to everything else rather then the fabric, and it’s tough to get off.

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Then it was time for flowers. Despite my worries I was really excited about this, everything was so sparkly it was hard not to feel giddy!

I arranged this all on a table because I knew if I tried to do this on my rug I would never get all the glitter off.

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Then I started gluing stuff on. It took me a while to get the hang of it, working with flowers that were all the same color was a bigger challenge than I had expected, but in a fun way. I had to pay more attention and plan things out a bit more to get them to look the way I wanted.

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Here is what it looked like with all the flowers added! I’m really happy with it. It isn’t quite what I had imagined but I think it came together really nicely, it’s tacky but not in a really obnoxious way, which is impressive considering the materials I was working with!

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Then it was time for tulle. I used a piece that was five yards wide and twice as long as the waist-to-hem measurement of the skirt.

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Once it was cut out I gathered each edge and secured them at the waist of the skirt.

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Here is what it looks like with all the tulle sewn on!

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But the skirt still wasn’t finished. Though I really liked how it was decorated  the silhouette still wasn’t very nice. It looked too small and sad. To try and oomf it up a bit (that’s a technical term) I decided to add gathered pieces of bat material. Doesn’t that sound like a fantastic idea?

This would add more volume on the sides of the skirt without covering any of the decorations . It also helped blend the skirt and bodice together since the bodice has a bat fabric overlay but the skirt does not. Plus I can say it’s super loosely inspired by panniers which go nicely with my stay inspired bodice shape.

To make these I had to steal fabric from my failed Morticia costume, which I made last year around this time. The fabric was actually cut and sewn into the skirt as godets and seam ripping them out was a huge pain!

They were already cut into diamonds, which made triangles when they were folded in half. I didn’t want to make them any smaller so I decided to leave them in this shape and gather the tops down.

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It worked surprisingly well!

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I sewed those onto the waist of the skirt, then sewed the bodice to the skirt.

DSC_9197The skirt got sewn up the back and it was done! On and I paired it with a sash made from iridescent black/silver mesh. I like these photos since they were taken in front of a window and you can see the glitter!

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And here are some poor mirror shots that show it full length.

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DSC_9198That’s about it for this costume! I also made a headpiece and necklace but I didn’t take many (any) photos of the process. I will have a video tutorial about them so maybe i’ll post a link whenever I get it uploaded.

And I tried to get photos of the whole ensemble but everything went wrong and after three hours I was left with zero usable photos. Tomorrow i’m going to try again and hopefully get some better shots to show it all together!

Thanks for reading!