18th Century Underskirt, Yellow Sateen

This is the second and final project in my 18th century October series. I’d hoped to make a menswear ensemble too but that didn’t end up happening, and this dress is to blame! It ended up being way more detailed and time costuming than I had expected.

Today i’ll be talking about the long process of making a pale yellow underskirt. This piece is really just an accessory, the real star is a striped Robe a l’anglaise which will be worn overtop.

For this project i’m using a lovely red and yellow striped upholstery fabric and a yellow twill sateen. I also ended up using ivory tulle as an overlay and several hundred pearls for decoration. Despite searching everywhere for a fabric that matches the yellow tone in my striped material I couldn’t find anything. Fabric is either too yellow, or not yellow enough, or too dark!

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I ended up using yellow twill (which doesn’t actually match) and adding a tulle overlay to create texture and hopefully desaturate the color enough to make them match. It didn’t work, but hey, I tried!

I started by cutting out the skirt. The skirt has two main pieces, an upper section, and a lower section. I lost my measurement sheet so I can’t tell you the dimensions of these, but they were both rectangles. One was three yards long and the other way six yards long. The six yard piece was much thinner since it creates the ruffle at the bottom of this  skirt.

This is the upper part of the skirt.

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I cut tulle that was the same size and basted it on with very large stitches. I didn’t have a large enough desk to lay this out all the way so the process was very slow.

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The six yard strip was made of three pieces which were sewn together with french seams.

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Then I repeated the process used on the upper section of the skirt and hand basted tulle overtop.

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Then it was time for hemming! I decided that I should hem everything by hand, because thats the sort of stupid decision that I make on a regular basis. I actually like hemming things by hand, but this ended up being super tedious since I did it all in one sitting.

The bottom edge of my six yard strip has a three quarter inch rolled hem that was whip stitched in place

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The top has a quarter inch rolled hem which was also whip stitched in place.

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Then I  hand the thing down until it was three yards long. I divided the fabric into four fifty four inch sections and made sure each section was gathered down to twenty seven inches. I probably should have used smaller sections to ensure the gathers are even, but this worked pretty well.

I made two rows of gathers to create a smoother surface to sew my pearls onto.

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My ruffle got set aside and it was time to focus on the upper section of the skirt. Before I could do much with it I needed to make the waistband. The waistband was also a rectangle of twill fabric, but I reinforced it with a lightweight interfacing.

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I folded the strip in half and sewed the edges together with the “right sides together” method, then top stitched around each edge.

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The last step was sewing a button hole and attaching a button! I originally made covered buttons with matching fabric, but they ended up being too big.

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I gathered the top of my skirt until it was the right length, then stitched it onto the waistband.

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I folded a strip of leftover fabric into something resembling bias tape and used that to seal off the edges. I also tacked this to the skirt so it would stay facing down.

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At this point my skirt looked like this, which was pretty disappointing considering how long I had spent on it.

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The next step was sewing on the ruffle, I used my machine for this because it would be hidden by pearls later on.

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After attaching the ruffle and building up my dress form with the proper petticoats this looked a LOT better!

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Then it was time for the detail work. I ordered a heap of glass pearls from etsy in colors that matched my striped fabric. Unfortunately they only had ten strands of red 6mm pearls in stock, and I needed twelve.

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I decided to leave a twenty four inch gap free of pearls in the back of the skirt. This part will be hidden by the overskirt and leave me with enough pearls to use them the way I had planned. But it did look sort of stupid having this empty space on the skirt, so I decided to make tulle flowers to cover the gap.

I made these from tulle strips. I folded the strips into loops and wrapped thread around the bottom of each loop. Once I had five or six loops I stitched them together in the center to create something that resembles a flower.

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To jazz them up a bit I added pearls to the centers.

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Then it was time to sew pearls onto the skirt! I did this one by one and it took a really long time since I had over 500 to attach. I haven’t really done something like this before and it was surprisingly soothing, like hemming but with a much prettier end result!

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Once I finished sewing on all the pearls it was time to add my flowers!

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When that was done I did up the back of the skirt with a french seam.

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I left a six inch gap at the top of the skirt and rolled the raw edge inward twice to create a finished edge. Usually I would use snaps or hooks to keep this shut but since this is an underskirt I decided to leave it open.

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There was an ugly flowerless gap where the seam was, but luckily I saved a few tulle flowers which I sewed on after the seam was done up. So everything looks flowery and lovely!

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And the skirt was complete! I made this over the course of a week but there was so much hand sewing involved that it felt much longer.

In the end I’m really pleased with how it turned out, the whole project went smoothly. Even though it’s a simple design that’s something to be grateful for, mistakes are all the more noticeable on simple projects!

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Thanks for reading!

Dewdrop Series, Making Another Dress, Part One

A few weeks ago I finished up a dress and cloak which I named my “Dewdrop Series” because it was based off of the blossoms and greenery of spring. I ended up with two yards of leftover ivory damask, and a few yards of remaining velvet. My original plan was to use the remnants to make a fancy 18th century suit, but the damask proved to be far too delicate (and prone to fraying) to make into a jacket, so that wouldn’t work.

The fabric really needed to be used for a dress. After a bit of sketching I decided on a really simple design, so simple that I figured I would make it right away. I  mostly wanted to have it completed so it can be photographed along side the other pieces in this series, but I MIGHT have been procrastinating on all the other things I have in progress.

(oops)

I wanted this dress to be more modern then the original but I still wanted it to be cohesive, simple, and a little unusual. I decided on a strange kind of “spiky” neckline, a visible waistband, and a skirt half the size of the original but pleated the same way. I originally wanted it to have a train too, but I only had two yards of fabric so that didn’t end up happening.

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This post is going to focus on the skirt, next post will be about the bodice.

The skirt was one big rectangle, cut to be one hundred and twenty inches wide, which is the same width as this material – if the fabric was less wide there is no way I would have been able to make this dress with two yards of fabric.

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I didn’t have any side seams to do, so I got straight to the pleating! Step one was cutting long strips of lightweight quilt batting. I learned a lot from making the first dress in this series, this time around I whip stitched the strips together so there was no added bulk at the seams.

I also didn’t mark the lines on these like I did the first time around. The ink was prone to rubbing off, and it was terrifying touching white fabric with blue hands! I’m also pretty good at eyeing it, so I decided to be brave and trust myself.

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Then I sewed these on by hand with a really large basting/running stitch. The first time around I used my machine and it sped up the fraying process which I did not want!

The only lines I marked were for the large box pleat in the front.

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Then I hemmed the whole thing using the same method I use in most of my dresses.

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Doesn’t that look pretty? Slash that, it’s not supposed to look pretty, it’s supposed to look invisible. 

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Then the pleating began! This went so much faster then my first dress, I think it took one sixth of the time or something crazy like that. Even a bit of practice makes such a different when using new techniques.

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You may also note I didn’t add bias tape, so it’s fraying a lot. I did this on purpose because last time I ended up with a ton of extra bulk at the waist due to sewing on bias tape BEFORE my cartridge pleats. This time I did it afterwards and the end result is much nicer looking and more practical too.

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And  that was pretty much it when it comes to the skirt. Aside from a back seam (which can’t be done until it’s attached to the bodice) it was finished!

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Thanks for reading!

Related posts: Part One, Part Two, Photos of Completed Dress

★ The making of Napoleon (Eiyuu*Senki) ★ Part 2

The adventures of making a fluffy skirt ★ The making of Napoleon (Eiyuu Senki) ★ Part 1

Finally, a progress post. I’m sorry to say that recently I’ve been a bit lazy when it comes to the photo taking aspect of documenting my work, so there shall be more text then photos.

My first thing to fix was on the skirt, though I was pretty happy with the ruffly-ness,  it had deflated a bit. Luckily the solution for this was really simple: Get a petticoat. And to make it even better, I already had a petticoat that would work perfectly. This particular one is from leg avenue, and cost around $9 on ebay auction, it’s really fluffy and short which makes it ideal for supporting the ruffly mass of bridal satin that is my skirt.

Here is an example of the effect it gives.

 I still need to add a zipper and tack bits down, but I’m pretty happy with it so far!

Next up was remaking a part of the costume  I wasn’t happy with, the shirt. The one I made originally was quite scratchy and just didn’t fit right. Plus the sleeves were a little too poofy for my tastes. So when I was in the city this past weekend I picked up some lightweight cotton jersey and whipped this  together.

I referenced one of my regular sleep wear shirts to get a basic idea, but I made sure to leave 4” on each lapel so I could add interfacing and support for the buttons. This all went together really quickly and easily, within 2 hours I had myself a comfy shirt.

Then it came time for buttons, I quickly learned buttons are far more fun to play with then to actually sew on…. “RAWR!”

In total I purchased 138 buttons- all of which will be used on this costume.

And here they are sewn on! I think it looks pretty snazzy at this point, It still lacks a collar and the bottom edge is unfinished, but I think it looks good. I’ll draft up the collar later tonight or tomorrow and get that finished up. I don’t think it will be too difficult. *crosses fingers*

The jacket is easily the most difficult part of the entire costume, and it’s also a part I messed up on several times. My first attempt wasn’t *too* bad, but it had so many issues that were impossible to fix. I decided remaking it would probably be faster and look much better.

Here is the first attempt, as you can see, it never even got finished.

I’m much happier with my second jacket attempt, the fabric is a bit thicker and lighter in color. Which makes it nicer to work with and more pleasing in texture. A lot of it is still pinned, which is why it looks a bit lumpy, but that should go away soon enough.

Sorry for the mess D:

Then it came time to make the jacket collar and abuse it with 50 someodd buttons.

My wig also arrived, but unfortunately i’m quite unhappy with it. I’m going to try and get a new one as soon as I have enough money to do so.

And my mirror needs cleaning ^^;

And here are how my boots are coming along! I got the base shoe for $20 at famous footwear, but unfortunately they lacked a cuff and the signature buttons. But with a bit of creativity this issue was resolved.

They aren’t 100% done yet, the cuffs are just pinned at the moment. But i’m pretty happy with how it’s going!

And I guess that’s it! I’ve kinda been juggling  three projects, so progress hasn’t been very speedy. Hopefully i’ll have more to post soon.

As always, thanks for reading!

The adventures of making a fluffy skirt ★ The making of Napoleon (Eiyuu Senki) ★ Part 1

Edit: I’ve recently created a video tutorial going through this process, if you’re interested it can be watched here!

Hello everyone~ I’m getting an early start on my AnimeNEXT cosplay and thought I would share some of it with you guys. Also, my “The world god only knows” uniform part 2 will be up VERY soon. Expect it in the next week!

Anyway, meet Napoleon:

Napoleon’s skirt is ridiculous in the poofyness and ruffle department, seriously it’s insane. So right away I knew that I would need tons of material, and some sort of stiffening for the hem. Luckily I already had several yards of white bridal satin laying around, then the other day I picked up 12 yards of horsehair braid, which meant I had everything I needed to get to work.

Step one was drafting a quick circle skirt pattern, I think everyone has seen these before, but this is what mine looked like. Please excuse my terrible handwriting.

Next step was cutting them all out, in total I cut out 4 circle skirts.

 

Then I sewed them all together. At this point they didn’t look much like a skirt, but they made a lovely scarf. For reference of how much material was here, I’m around 5’ 10”.

Then came the pinning. Oh god, the pinning. The hem was 12 yards, which means it tookages to pin it all, and to make things worse, my bobbin ran out half way through without me realizing, which meant I had to do even more pinning then I had originally planned.

And for those curious, this is what the horsehair braid looks like.

After it was all hemmed and had the horsehair braid added you could see the ruffles forming. Modeled once again, as the lovely scarf that it was.

Since a corset/vest is worn over my waist, I couldn’t have the ruffles extending all the way up. So I made up a waistband, it’s made of three panels and has interfacing in all of them. Then I went ahead and lined it for good measure. This is also where I gathered my “scarf” down into 40 inches of ruffles.

 

Then I sewed them together, and looky here, It’s pretty much done! I just need to tack down some of the ruffles and add a zipper. But that should be very easy.

 

Edit: 5/5/12 A few updates on this skirt!

I added a petticoat for more “oomf”

And then I went through and sewed certain parts down, giving it all a more uniform look.