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 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…

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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!

Diaphanous Flower Dress, Part One

I don’t like summer.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks for reading!