The Christmas Costume – A Glittery Gown – Part 2

Today something pretty unbelievable happened – I hit five hundred thousand all time views on my blog, which some people probably wouldn’t consider a lot. But i’m amazed, and smiling, and giddy because that is just so many people. I can’t even comprehend the fact that many people have read or willing viewed the ridiculously long rambles I write about making things.

I mean, hell, I still remember the months where I would get one thousand views in the entire month. And I was so proud of that, and now I get that in a day, and it’s insane. But I’m also really happy, and I really appreciate the fact so many people continue to take interest! So thanks for reading, even if you don’t read often, because it has contributed in some way to this overwhelming happiness i’m feeling today.

Anyway,

I do actually have progress to share, too, and I will get into that right now. 

Since Christmas is just around the corner, it seems fitting to talk about my Christmas Costume! A few weeks ago I wrote a whole post on the concept and how I made the bodice, and that post can be found here. If you haven’t already, I would suggest you read that post before this one. 

This post will talk about the skirt, and the crown. I should have the post about the cloak up on Sunday, with photos of it all together posted on Christmas eve! 

The skirt and crown were by far the easiest part of this costume. Especially when compared to the bodice and cape, these pieces were an absolute vacation to work on.

I had originally planned to make my skirt a giant rectangle… but then I realized I didn’t have much material left, not nearly enough to make the skirt as full as I had wanted. I decided to attempt it anyway, figuring it would probably be fine. 

So I used all the material I had left…

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When I draped it over the petticoat I had made ( I talk about making it here) I realized it was really not going to work at all. The skirt was too small for the petticoat, and it looked like a stuffed cone that caved in at the bottom. A disaster. 

I mean, disaster might be a slight exaggeration, but it definitely wasn’t what I wanted.

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Soo I rifled through my fabric bins and came up with some yellow brocade that didn’t really match, but would have to be good enough. I sewed it onto the back panels of my rectangle skirt, then gathered it down onto a basic waistband. Here is what the back of the skirt looked like once I was finished…

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I thought it looked pretty terrible, and to be honest I still don’t think it looks quite right. But it’s grown on me a lot throughout the sewing process. I think it brings out the yellow in the sleeves, which creates more contrast and makes the costume as a whole look more interesting. 

I went ahead and hemmed the whole thing, I did a double three quarter inch hem and whip stitched it by hand. It took longer then I would care to admit, but it looks much better then doing it by machine. 

Once that was finished I sewed the skirt onto the bodice (by hand) and declared the dress finished! 

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And when worn…

(since I wasn’t wearing heels the dress is a bit too long and folds over in the front, oops) 

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I’m super happy to call that complete! But this post isn’t over just yet. 

When I first looked at this fabric it looked so holiday and christmasy to me, and when I decided to make an elaborate gown from it, I knew I needed a matching headpiece. I thought about several crown ideas before deciding on a flower crown. 

Now you may think that flower crowns are too casual to go with such a dress, and most probably would be. But when you choose (like I did) to make one entirely out of glittery christmas tree decorations, they definitely do not fit into the casual category. 

My materials were all purchased at Michaels (a craft store) from the holiday decor section. These were all 50% off and cost me seven dollars or so in total? It was something like that. 

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I also took some supplies from my stash, plastic boning, organza, and some hot glue. 

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I cut my organza into strips, then did a half inch rolled hem.

DSC_2775Once both edges were finished, I gathered and sewed it onto a piece of plastic boning.

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I pulled all the flowers off the stems, and cut apart the leafy gold ones that I purchased. Then I went a bit crazy and glued them all over the damn thing until I was happy with it. 

Once I was done I used hot glue to connect the two ends, then I snipped away the extra and it was done!

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Isn’t that lovely?

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It’s pretty ridiculous I know, but so is the dress, so I think it works! 

Thank you for reading~

The Christmas Costume – A Glittery Gown – Part 1

Like the vast majority of my projects, I’m not entirely pleased with the name I’ve chosen for this, but I think it is more amusing then calling it “Red and gold dress #2” so I shall stick with it. The name was inspired by the fact that this costume is red, gold, glittery, and decorated with things purchased from the christmas section of a craft store. Wearing it makes me feel sort of like a princess, but mostly like I belong on top of a tree. 

I originally came up with this idea when I was researching 17th centuy gowns and the baroque period – as I have plans to make a very simple taffeta gown of that style in the near future.

Unsurprisingly I got distracted, this time by a stunning painting of Anne of Austria which can be seen here.

I really loved the idea of having a dramatic cape and overdress on top of a heavily printed gown. Then I remembered some materials I purchased for my birthday earlier this year that would work really well for such a thing. I had a little less then six yards of a lovely brocade, along with several yards of matching gold satin and organza. All together I was sure I had enough to make something wonderful! 

When I went into NYC a few weeks back I purchased eight yards of velvet to turn into a cape, as well as enough tulle netting for an underskirt. And so it began…

My first sketch looked like this, very similar in style to the painting that inspired it. I ended up dropping and changing a lot of these in my  more finalized sketch later on.

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I began with the bodice, I altered the pattern I made for my pirate bustier to better suit this project. Then I cut it from a heavyweight twill which became my lining, and again from brocade. I sewed the boning onto my lining, then sewed it right sides together so each edge was finished! 

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I went through and tacked both layers together with a cross stitch so no topstitching would be visible on the fabric. Then I moved onto the sleeves, which were going to be the most elaborate and outrageous part of the costume. 

I wanted a very specific shape, one that requires a very poofy base, so I decided to start by cutting a normal sleeve pattern which would be quite snug. This is the base that I would sew everything to. 

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 I made little rolls out of quilt batting rectangles. 

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 I sewed two rolls to each sleeve, marking where each puff would be. 

20131111_142808Then I cut much larger rectangles of quilt batting and draped them evenly on top of the smaller rolls. 

This is much more time consuming then any other sleeve base method I’ve used, since these have to be hand sewed down very carefully and evenly to get identical shapes on both sleeves. But I do like how this ended up looking much more, it is also far sturdier and more comfortable then just stuffing sleeves like I did in past.

Definitely a method I plan to use again in future projects! 

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 I took a large piece of satin and gathered it down the middle. Then it was pinned onto the sleeve base.

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I sewed this down and repeated it at the top of the sleeve, then again with my other sleeve. I cut off many extra inches of material that hung over the edges.

20131112_122824I repeated this with gold organza, except this time I used an even larger piece of material and a pattern I drafted to make sure they were actually even. 

The picture shows me attaching half of the second piece of organza. 

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Finished with that step, but the sleeves were far from done! 

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I did take a momentary break to see if they had the shape I wanted and they really, really did. They looked exactly the way I wanted and I couldn’t have been happier! I was stupidly giddy over the shape of these things.

I would also like to say that this is the actual color of both materials. I’ve been switching between photographing things with my phone and my nikon, my phone tends to make everything much less vibrant. The brocade also has a tendency of changing between red, pink, brown, and maroon depending on lighting. 

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Next I went ahead and made the strips for a sleeve overlay, which was a somewhat tedious and boring process that I didn’t photograph at all. But once I was done I ended up with two of these

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Which were sewed to the sleeves, and looked like this!

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You could see the icky bands of interfacing between the puffs and at the bottom of the sleeves which I needed to fix.  I cut a few strips of satin and a very long piece of organza which was turned into a ruffle, and when that was sewn on I was left with this! 

DSC_2715In the picture above the sleeves are sewn onto the bodice, but the side seams are not yet done, which is why they look a little loose. Once they get stitched up they should fit nice and tight! 

I should also mention that each edge of the sleeves were encased in bias tape so they wouldn’t fray. 

Thanks for reading!

The next post will talk about the skirt. Or the cape. Whichever I finish first.