You know, I couldn’t decide between two stomacher styles…
So I made both!
I am so pleased to finally be done with this gown. I really love it! I think it turned out exactly as planned. Well, okay, 98% of plan. Well, no, okay, 89% of plan. Whatever. IT’S DONE!
I guess I have to reel back to where I left off– I had the sleeves done, and SO MUCH came after it, that I’m afraid you are in for a mountain of photos to scroll through. Sorry. I can’t help myself.
First I had to connect the gown at the shoulders and sew down the remainder of the bodice furbelows around the back of the neck…
Then I had to get the main bulk of the furbelows onto the skirt…
Making some pleats…
I felt like I was furbelowing for days. That was a lot of work! Getting it even and balanced and pleasing to the eye was no small feat!
Checking the scale…
Thankfully I did not run out of beaded trim! I think I made it out with about 8 inches to spare. After using nearly 50 yards of this stuff willy-nilly, having only 8 inches left is a miracle!
I had to pre-puff the skirt puffs, I just couldn’t draw a wiggly line on the gown and then tack them on like I did for the underskirt… I had to see it and space it with my eyes, I wasted too much time trying to get it mathmatically right. I have a pretty good eye, I think it worked out for the best!
There, all the front furbelows on… pretty!
Sewing the front to the back at the sides…
Pinning and sewing together the pannier humps…
Cutting the discreet hidden pocket slit, have to reach into those pannier pockets somehow!
Handsewing on the pearls to each pinch pleat…
I still wasn’t totally happy– the original gown I’m “inspired by” had these beautiful chenille-looking tassels– and, well, there was no way I was going to find or make those. I thought about making tassels from thread, then from beads, then from fabric edged with beads, and all sorts of cockamamie ideas that sucked. Finally I started digging around in my room and the pearls were staring me in the face. AHA! PEARLS! So, I made pearl tassels.
I just love the way they turned out! They swing and dangle nicely, too.
For the stomacher I had two strong ideas, but wasn’t sure which to make. I printed some museum extant stomacher photos and pinned them to the dress to get a faint idea as to what would look good– recognize them? LOL!
I liked the jewelry/pearl idea. *cough*pearl whore*cough*
But, I also loved the silver embroidery idea. So, I cobbled together a stomacher embroidery design using commercial components. I arranged them to suit the stomacher shape and voila! (We just won’t be talking about how long that actually took me, how many samples I had to stitch out at four hours each, how much thread and stabilizer I wasted, how many needles I blew through, how much fussing I did– not to mention the scary-ass fact that I only had enough fabric left for ONE real stitch out. If I screwed it up it was game over and I’d have to do something else without embroidery… and I really really REALLY wanted the embroidery.)
There it goes, my one and only shot at doing this right! I was nervous the whole time it was stitching out. What if it buckles? What if the thread snarls up? What if it fucks up so much I just can’t save it? AAAAIIIIIIII!!!
It actually turned out fairly well! (cue Jaws theme music here)
Shit! It puckered. I don’t know why, clearly my skills need improving. Maybe I had it too tight in the hoop and after it relaxed it wanted to be in its original form, and puckered. It was a big ol’ Puck You! to me. Gah! But, I had come too far to give up. So, you wanna know how I saved it?
I blinged the shit out of that motherfucker. I glued pearls and Swarovski flat backs all over the damn place. Pucker? BLING! Snag? BLING! Empty spot? BLING! BLING! BLING!
The other stomacher I just made some bows, and added some rhinestone buttons and pearl dangles. I think it gives her a very different look for the same dress! I really had to make those bows out of garbage scraps– I really wanted to make the second stomacher, but I had practically nothing left! Just scraps! But, I managed somehow to make it work. Tim Gunn would be so proud of me.
Those buttons always make me laugh– I’ve had them for about 15 years, and I thought they were old vintage lovelies, and were a one of a kind set. Ha! Walking through Fabric Depot there was a whole rack of them. Well, at least I know where to find replacements if one falls off!
The sleeves have a little crystal and pearl thing going on, too. Those were actually a pair of my old Trifari earrings, I haven’t worn then in over twenty years (shit, has it really been that long? I’m so old!) and I thought they would be perfect right there– and they are! They are probably pretty happy to be foxxing about again.
Whoa those big black snaps are hideous! Thankfully no one sees them when they are all snugged together. They sure do a great job, though!
I had to hand sew those suckers on. You know how I adore handsewing. I wanted to use the machine to tack them on like I did on the gown, but these were domed and had the inverted knobby thingamajig and just wouldn’t do it. Hand sewing! 20 snaps! 6 holes each! Bah! I ran though about 47 Alias episodes on Netfix getting them done. Of course black thread would have been better. I made a bad choice… but I’m NOT doing it over!
So, there we go. All done. It isn’t hemmed, Lucia will need to have that done once it reaches her– hemming is always better in person! I wish I could deliver it to her in person, but, well, Italy is rather out of reach at the moment. *drifts off dreaming of Italy…*
A very belated comment – this is absolutely lovely! I do have a question for you – I’m staring at the small puff trim, and can’t for the life of me figure out how you made it. I think it is sewn horizontally and lightly gathered to make the puffs, but how is it attached to the dress? Did you sew along the gathers again, or along the sides?
Hi Molly! Thank you so much! I took a few pics of how I made the trim in this post:
Hopefully that explains it alright! They are only tacked at the one point from the underside, there wasn’t any need to sew them down anywhere else, they stayed in shape! It is such an easy way to make lots and lots of puffs!
Oh fantastic, that explains it perfectly. Thanks!
I just wanted to say that your dress is MAGNIFICENT!!!!!! I’ve been doing a lot of searching on the internet (I’m a photographer, cobbling together something that “looks” like this for a new series), and of all the home-made dresses I’ve seen, this is by FAR the most elegantly constructed, detailed, “authentic” version I’ve seen. Congrats on all your hard work.
Thank you so much, Johanna! You made my day!
Hi this is exactly what I’m looking for!! It’s simply gorgeous. Are you taking any custom orders at this? *all ten fingers crossed* lol
Hello! Thank you for contacting me. Unfortunately, I am not taking any custom orders at this time. I am so sorry!