This part was complicated. Specifically the bodice. I have never made a bodice that fits closed over a corset before. It was a challenge. But one I managed to complete. I used my body form to drape the muslin on and get the bodice shape I wanted. I should have made the sides a little more rounded out, but I didn’t think to do that. Next time if I have to remake the bodice I will.
A little tangent before we get started. I believe there are two different versions of this gown. I do have pictures from the movie that does support this. The back of the gown has two different closures. Not the method of closure. The back for the final gown in the ending battle has an open back with parts of the corset sticking out at the center top. But when she dances with Captain Shakespeare and Tristan Thorn the back of the bodice is completely closed with no corset peeking out. There are also no gaps between the bodice openings at the back. Not even a gap for lacing. Also the trains appear to be slightly different. Not much but enough. In the concept art for this (I think it was the concept art) shows a longer train that is rounded at the bottom with a ruffle edge coming out between the layers.
The bodice I chose to make is the completely closed version, it is similar to a late Victorian Evening Bodice. The shape of the neckline and the bottom edge are very similar. The sleeves are not so much. At least I haven’t come across that sleeve before. (I am not happy with my sleeves, I patterned and sewed them the day of the con. Big surprise there.) The bodice has three different visible fabrics and a twill for the strength of the fabric. The center front is the same material as the draped skirt. And since I used the liquid woven for that I used it also for the bodice. I don’t know what kind of material that was, the tag says polyester, I believe. It feels like a satin faced chiffon to me, as well as the people who asked to feel it at the con came to the same conclusion. Very lovely and a great depth to the fabric. Depending on the light it looks anywhere between a navy cobalt blue to a black.
The velvet bits are black. I know that isn’t accurate to the character, but I couldn’t find a blue that felt nice against my skin. So I purchased 3 yards of black for this gown. It feels so luxuriously soft, and when you drape it over your shoulders from the cold it feels great. (I went on a walking ghost tour. It was quite fun.)
The sleeves are made out of a mirror organza that I had on hand. It was difficult to work with. Very slippery.
To begin the actual work of the bodice, I forewent the mockup. I had two days to work on this as well as the train, and a necklace. So I made the bodice without a lining. I flatlined the bodice fabric with twill before I sewed any panels together. And when the panels were sewn I didn’t make any boning channels except for the final two back panels. I made the boning channels and hand sewn the eyelets on it. The seamstress in me wanted them sewn, depending on the piece you are making hand sewn is much prettier than metal ones. As well as more historically accurate. Considering I haven’t sewn many eyelets before this, my 1750’s stays are hammered eyelets.
When I had this all ready to go I put on the entire gown starting with the undergarments. And then the bodice. It was too big in areas other than the bust. So I had to take in the front at the waist and the sides as well as the stomach area. But other than that the fit was great. I took it off and took in the waist. Sewed the seams down and I added boning channels to the front. The only panels that are boned with any kind of boning are the center front seams and the back panels. Since the corset it completely boned I wanted this one semi boned. I also ran out of boning. And I need to order more. With all that done I sewed on bias binding made from the liquid woven. I would have liked to hem the edges inward instead but I am afraid I didn’t make my seams wide enough for that. The final thing to do on this was the sleeves. So I put it away for later and got to work on the train. Which in all honesty was the easiest thing of all.
For the train I used the black velvet, a blue stardust swirly galaxy kind of print in cotton, and the ruffle edge I used the satin faced chiffon as before. This was easy to pattern. But due to the width of my velvet I couldn’t have it as wide as I wanted it to be. I draped the fabric on my mannequin with all the layers that would be underneath the gown. I pleated the fabric at the same intervals as both sides to keep them even. When this was completely finished, I rounded the bottom edge of the fabric.
I set the pattern aside and got to work on the pleated ruffle edge that sticks out at the bottom. I sewed the fabric down the middle to keep everything in place. Ironed the long strip of fabric to get the edge sharp and crisp. Now set this piece aside and get back to work on the fabric.
My lining stardust fabric was not wide enough. To compensate for this I cut the fabric in half and sewed the lengthwise together at the sides. This made the fabric wide and long. Cut the velvet piece with the muslin pattern we made. Then use the velvet to get the pattern out of the cotton. Put the fabric right sides together before you add the strip to it. Pleat the strip of fabric to the inside just dividing everything to be neat. When you have everything pleated you can pin it all together and sew all the edges minus the top edge that you need to use to fold the fabric inside out.
The opening edge should be at the top for the waistband. To make the waistband I followed a similar method as my bustle pad. I flat lined the velvet with the cotton for strength. I normally would use twill in this case, but the velvet is thick enough without it. Sew the waist ties to the inside of the waistband before you attach the skirt to it. Decorative top stitch all the layers together. The decorative stitching is amazing and looks pretty. It isn’t historically accurate, but I love adding this stitch to my costumes. At this point you are completely finished.
I cobbled a few pieces together to recreate a similar piece. Mine doesn’t have the animals, just angel like wings on each side. And the gemstone I used in the center is a tear drop and not oval shaped like the actual necklace. I also added a painted edge to the gemstone on the outside. I mixed silver and gold to get the correct shade to the metal used. That looks like this:
There you have it. A mostly complete Stardust costume minus the wig. And for those of you that follow me on Instagram I did complete the blue bustle gown in six days. Not the underpinnings. But the pleated skirt, draped skirt, train, bodice, and necklace. If you have any questions let me know. If you have any suggestions of future characters or historical pieces let me know in the comments below.