I am really surprised at how long it took me to make this gown! In my head everything is so simple, yet the execution took 50 times longer than I ever expected. Real life constantly interrupts me, and I need to find a way to deal with that effectively. .. and I can’t really whine about it, as this is a problem every seamstress in the world shares! If anyone has any tips– clue me in! I am already working on my next project, so this post will be rather prose sparse– but, as I took photos along the way, I might as well show them!
Here is the fabric I had to work with– my client sent it to me to use. It is so pretty– but all I could think was “HOW THE HELL CAN I MAKE A DRESS WITH THIS??? Velvet flowers and ruffles and stripes and embroidery and a crazy iridescent sheen that had to be dealt with.
You know I love a challenge!
Sideways it is a totally different color, so I had to cut wisely so the gown appeared all the same color from all the basic angles! This fabric had an electric magenta warp and an bright canary yellow weft. I KNOW!! Mostly it looked a nice pumpkin burgundy color to the naked eye, and how that was pulled off I have no idea.
I didn’t take many photos of the making of the stomacher, but here’s a few:
This is the bodice with the original furbelows halfway sewn on… and “original furbelows” means I ended up hating them and undid them all.
Starting the underskirt:
Ruffles and ruffles and more ruffles– I love that ruffling foot, it has saved me loads of time and aggravation.
Sewing the ruffled bits down and adding some gold trim.
Adding more ruffled bits…
Gold trim along the bottom ruffle hem.
Marking off where the pinch puffs go, Do I like pearls there? I do! Of course I do!
Gathering up the sides of the skirt, this will become the pocket slit. This is of course after I added the petticoat net inside for extra fluffy support. No, not historically accurate, but have you met me? I’m a total faker!
Sewing down the binding over the waistband:
Getting started on the sleeves, cutting out the scallopped edges of the lace fabric my client sent me. It was actually a really cool platinum taupe color and I thought it looked really good with the pumkiny color of the gown.
I don’t think I took any pics making the sleeves… oh well! Here they are!
Readying the front panels– I actually tucked the fabric to make that double ruffle row angle out, and I used this as my base for the front furbelows.
Adding more ruffles on top of ruffles. I thought it would look cool! Well, it didn’t. It looked flat and uninteresting, and from a distance it looked like nothing at all. I had to pick them all out, and off the bodice, too. BOO! My client will be using this gown in a presentation, and everyone will be looking at her– the furbelows needed to be better! More texture! It took me a few days to figure out what to do.
But, eventually I got it. I added the golden racing stripes inside the double ruffles, gladly using up nearly all of this gold trim I’ve had in my stash for way too long. Stash Buster Alert! Goodbye three spools of gold trim!
Marking out where the puff pleats will be…
And sewing them directly to the skirt panels.
Muuuuuch better, more texture, more to draw the eye.
But still needed more! I sliced up some leftover crinoline into to little bitty strips…
…and I added more gold-edged ruffly bits in a zig zag down the center…
…and stuffed them with a little bit of the shredded crinoline. I love how it slightly puffs them up without adding any weight!
Sewing down the edges so the shredded crinoline won’t start leaking out.
But, it still needed more! I cut out the velvet flowers from the scraps leftover, fraychecked the edges and then cut them out by hand. I did this on the stomacher as well. I was just going to put a pearl at each zig zag junction, but that just looked BLAH. It needed a little more.
Edged them with more gold trim.
…and tacked them down with a cluster of baroque style pearls.
NOW it looked right!
All that was left after that was hemming, which was a challenge because she is so petite that my dressform didn’t lower enough– I had to use a thick book as a guage! Anyway, The gown is now shipped off and arriving at its new home– when she sends pictures I’ll share them!