Silvery Blue Dress, Photos

I finally got around to editing all of these! So here they are, finished photos of my silver/galavant/renaissance inspired fantasy dress! I really need to think up a better title for this dress, but i’m the worst at naming things.

This dress was inspired by Madalena’s wedding dress in the show “Galavant” and has a few qualities to it that remind me of early Renaissance gowns. I made it from materials I had around, which included five yards of a shiny “mystery” fabric and a matching brocade. I made it in about two weeks, and it was a really enjoyable project! More information about the inspiration and construction process is posted under this tag.

These photos were taken during one of the many snowstorms we got this year – which are quite inconvenient, but make for some pretty pictures!

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I mentioned in the last post about making this dress that I would like to add a liner to better support the skirt, because the flowy fabric doesn’t hold its shape. I’d also like to make a better petticoat to pair with my renaissance dresses, since I have many dresses with this shape and no specific petti to support them.

But aside from that, i’m really pleased with this dress and how the photos turned out!

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 Silvery Blue Dress, Part Two

This is a continuation of this post, which goes over drafting and making the bodice of this project. If you haven’t already, I would suggest reading that post first. In this post I will talk about making the sleeves!

The design for these sleeves is one i’ve used before – a large puff at the shoulder, fitted to the elbow, another large puff at the elbow, and fitted to the wrist. It can easily be made as a four piece pattern. The difficult places to fit sleeves are at the shoulder and elbow, so it is actually really great pattern if you find sleeves hard.

The sleeves on this dress bring back memories of making my Merida cosplay a couple years ago. I was really proud of the sleeves on that dress….even though the edges of the chiffon were unfinished and the sleeves were unlined so it frayed everywhere. The sleeves also didn’t really line up – and by that I mean the “puffs” were an inch away from lining up at points. Yikes.

But I did a much better job this time!

I started by taking a set of measurements, mostly paying attention to the arm length. After I got the proportions and shapes right I took this pattern in to fit my arms width.

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 The pieces for the “puffs” were altered a lot. Since I wanted them to have a lot of volume I made the patterns almost four times wider than the size they will be when gathered!

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 The lining for the puffs were cut out of silk organza, I had long scraps of it and thought it would create more volume than thin cotton. I cut the rest of my pattern from mismatched batiks, the same type I used for the bodice lining.

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 The organza pieces were gathered down roughly by machine, then stitched on to the batik pieces. All the edges were turned over and stitched down to ensure they wouldn’t fray too much.

I also stitched up the back seam and tried them on to make sure the fit was good – they ended up being a little large, so I made some alterations to my paper pattern before cutting out the top layer of fabric.

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 I trimmed the edges to be a half inch and then sewed them onto the bodice. I ended up with a big ugly mess that looked like this! But it fit really well, and that is the important thing!

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 So I moved on to making the top layer of sleeves. Step one was cutting out the pattern, again. This time from brocade (the fitted portions of the pattern) and the mystery fabric i’m using for the skirt (for the puffs).

Once the pieces were cut out I folded all the edges over a half inch and stitched them down. I was concerned they would fray and wanted to add a bit of stiffness to the brocade, so I fused one inch strips of interfacing over all the raw edges.

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Unfortunately I can’t find a picture of the fabric for the puffs ungathered, but here is what they looked like after I painstakingly gathered each one by hand. It took a long time. Much longer than I was expecting. I may have even done it by machine if I knew how tedious it would end up being.

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 I smoothed out the gathers a little bit, then pinned them onto the brocade parts of the sleeve.

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Then they were stitched together! This part so it took a long time too.

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But eventually I had two lovely sleeves!

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 I did up the side seams and they fit nicely! So I sewed them onto the bodice and stitched the cuffs to the cotton lining.

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 Now it was time for another fitting, which went quite well!  A few little puckers from the lining not being arranged properly, but that can be smoothed out later.

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 Before moving on to the next step I decided to stitch flannel into the bottom of the lining. Batik is pretty delicate, and so is brocade, neither are really strong enough to support the skirt.

 Eventually I’ll stitch the skirt onto the flannel and then cover the flannel with brocade.

DSC_2055Now I could attach the brocade bodice! Here it is pinned in place.

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And all stitched down! I left it open at the bottom so the skirt can be attached.

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That is it for this post! The next post will be the final installment about this project and talk about making the skirt.

Thanks for reading!

Making a Silvery Blue Dress, Part One

Here is a new project! I started this when I was at a point where I didn’t have anything in progress and I didn’t feel comfortable starting on a big project because I hadn’t done enough research. So I chose a simple dress in a style i’m familiar with to keep me busy while I read up on elaborate dresses from the 1500s.

After watching “Galavant” I felt really inspired and decided to make a dress based off of Madalena’s Wedding Dress. Most of the costuming on that show drive me crazy (not in a good way), but I thought this dress was gorgeous, even if it isn’t anything near historically accurate!

I decided to use a blue brocade and a silvery blue ~mystery~ fabric that is silky on one side and matte on the other (definitely not satin or charmeuse). I talked about these materials in a Fabric Friday post ages ago, about how they were so pretty I couldn’t bear to use them. But now i’ve had them for almost two years and think it’s time they have a life beyond sitting in a box. I can always get more!

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I had planned on beading the bodice and creating a very full skirt but after deciding on the brocade and silver material I knew I wouldn’t be able to do either of those things. The brocade is delicate and I think it would catch on the beading, and the second fabric is too soft to form such a full design.

This sketch was done before I had picked fabric, so it isn’t quite accurate!

DSC_2015 I started by draping – this was a very easy pattern to drape!

This mock up features sexy delivery men. Of course.

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DSC_2017I removed it from the dress form and turned it into a paper pattern, which looks like this! Usually I would draft the front of the bodice as one piece, because princess seams didn’t exist in the 1400s. But in this case I wasn’t focusing on accuracy at all.

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I cut my pattern out from lining fabrics first. I decided to use scraps of batik – i’ve had these for ages and they are too small to use for draping and most mock ups, so it was nice to finally have a use for them! I think they look quite nice together too, funky lining makes everything better.

Once the pattern was cut out I sewed it together and tried it on – it was actually a pretty nice fit!

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 Then I cut  my bodice pattern out from brocade.

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 Which also got assembled.

DSC_2039 When all the seams were pressed I went through and stitched a 1/2″ away from the edge, around each edge. This prevents the brocade from fraying and creates a guideline of where to turn the edge over, without leaving any marks on the interior of your fabric.

(after the pen incident I have converted to using this method as much as possible)

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 I went through and turned over all the edges and secured them in place with a tiny running stitch. This is before it was ironed, the brocade is very delicate and prone to puckering so it didn’t look great at this point.

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 I repeated this process on the cotton lining. The only difference is that the center back edges were turned over by machine, and done in such a way that it creates a pocket. In this pocket I put a piece of plastic boning.

Without the boning whatever closure I add will be prone to bunching up, this solves that problem!

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 Speaking of closures, for this particular piece I wanted to try creating loops to lace through instead of eyelets. I made these by cutting one and a half inch wide strips of bias cut fabric – in this case I used the same fabric that will get used for the skirt.

I turned the edges inward, then folded them in half again. This is the same way you make bias tape, except I stitched the folded edges together.

I made twenty four two inch long pieces for the loops, and one piece that is three yards long to serve as the lacing.

DSC_2025 I pinned the bits of fabric (soon to be loops) onto ribbon.

DSC_2045 Then stitched over them a bunch of times. The end result were two pieces of ribbon with loops attached. Perfect!

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 Then I sewed these onto the back of the bodice lining and ta-da, a functional closure!

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Since the skirt fabric was now incorporated into the back of the bodice, I decided to bring some to the front by decorating the neckline with a folded bias cut strip of the material. I’m not sure why it is puckering a bit, I made it properly and ironed it loads. Luckily it looks find when worn, so i’m not going to get too upset about it!

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So that is it for this post. Because the next step was attaching the sleeves, and this post would be very long if I included that part too! Hopefully that will go up next week, along with another post. I’m going to try to get back onto my twice a week schedule because I miss it.

Thanks for reading!