The reason this has a separate blog piece about it is because I wasn’t sure how I was going to make this. I wasn’t sure if it would have a waistband on its own? Hooked to the bodice? Or quite possibly sewn into the bodice at the bottom. So, being unsure, I decided to draft the base of it first. Then I will figure out how to add it later. I may just attach it to the bodice, but there is a flaw in that plan.
If I attach it straight to the bodice, then the corset method is out and I have to have the opening in the front. Which I do not want to have that.
While researching Court dresses from that era I have come to the conclusion that they are indeed laced up the back. And that the train piece is a type of skirt. I couldn’t find out if it is separate from the underskirt or if they are both attached. For the sake of this piece I am treating them as separate. Because the waistband for the other piece is already finished and I would hate to have to unstitch the seams to just add the golden overskirt.
With that notion in mind the hardest part will be determining the method of closure. Whether I go the same route as the underskirt and use buttons or if I chose the easy method of skirt hooks or ties. I am leaning towards the skirt hooks or ties. Lease likely the ties because they will have to be tucked under the bodice and that will add unnecessary bulk under the bodice.
We already have the waistband of two petticoats (and I may add a third to it), the underskirt, and this skirt. Oh, and the bum roll. Can’t forget about the bum roll. Just because the crinoline was too big for this dress didn’t mean I couldn’t add an extra layer of fluff by a mini bum roll. And by mini bum roll I added half the amount of stuffing in that was supposed to go into the bum roll.
Leave all the layers you plan to have underneath your underskirt on the dress form, I will add the petticoat I plan to replace because I have yet to replace the petticoat and I need the added fluff. I pinned some leftover muslin, a large piece of leftover muslin, onto my mannequin at the waist in the back. Since the back has the train I need to save the longest piece for the back. The dresses from that time looked like they had nice box pleats in the back. One on either end. I have not seen paintings or other works from this time to know for sure. And since I liked the look of box pleats and a train I decided to stick with it.
Determine the length of the box pleats you want to have. Drape the fabric on how you want it to look like. This will help determine the outcome of your project. Make sure to take into consideration the length and width of your fabric. Mine is sixty inches wide with a length of about four or 5 yards. So I can have mine as long as four yards. I won’t because that would be a little difficult to maneuver in. I will probably stick with a forty-inch train at the most. I feel like that would be plenty and I would have the leeway to take it in if I wanted. Curve the edge at the bottom. You don’t want it to be boxy unless you are going for that look.
I had all the intentions of making a mockup and testing the fit and all these things to it. But let’s be honest. I ran out of time and decided to not make a mockup. I did buy some satin that I was using for the mockup, but gave up on it and put that into storage.
I grabbed my fabric, put a pin at the center of the fabric and at the center of my dress form, matched pins and placed the fabric there. I marked out my box pleats where I wanted them to be and folded the fabric at that point. I had the giant pleats on the inside, didn’t like that. The pleats facing outward looked better and I placed a mark with an erasable pen.
I rounded out the edge at the bottom on one side. Then I took it off of my mannequin. Folded the piece in half and matched the sides together to cut out the pieces. I placed this piece back on my dress form to double check the fit and placement of the pieces. It looked great. Don’t forget to round out the top edge. If the top edge is straight, then the fabric will ripple at the bum. Unsightly and that’s not how you want it to look. You want it to be sleek with a slight curve at the bottom.
Use the outer piece to get the pattern transferred to the lining piece. If you’re like me and bought a fabric you assumed was sixty-inches and was only 58”, this is the time where you shave off the sides at the bottom. I had to keep cutting as I went to get the correct width of the lining at the bottom. It wasn’t pleasant at all, but I managed to do it. After shaving it down I pinned the fabric right sides together and sewed all the edges shut but a five-inch gap.
Clip the curves and corners to help your fabric lie flat while you sew it. Unfold the fabric and pin the edges to do the top stitching and sealing the edge. Pin this back to your mannequin and take a spare bit of muslin and pattern the front pieces. Make the front pieces longer than the pink under layer.
Cut the fabric from the gold satin. If you want the matte look of this gown, and by matte the gown I made I used the inside because the outside looked ridiculously shiny.
Fold all the edges inward by a quarter inch. And then again inward by a quarter inch. If you are confident not sewing it down, you can just double fold the edge like I did. It is much faster.
Sew the front pieces to the back of the gown, right sides together. All edges are encased and not showing. And less prone to fraying unless you are very heavy on your gowns; like you’re constantly stepping and tugging and you damage them easily. I usually do not.
The only thing that remains is the cut out 2 five inch wide white strips by two yards long, again using the inside of the fabric as your outside. We don’t want this shiny and the gold not. Interface the white fabric because this will be fragile and needs to have the ability to hold all the embroidered and beaded circles.
To sew down the white fabric strip you need to put the right side facing the fabric, two inches from the edge of the fabric. Sew down the edge facing the edge of the fabric. When you fold over this part you will have a two in white strip. Then fold over the other edge encasing the golden fabric between this piece and over the back of the fabric. Sew down.
The white strip of the fabric is finished and you only have to sew down the circles and the cording. I managed to have time to sew the circles down with a straight stitch and a zipper foot. I do have a cording foot I can use to sew on the cord I bought for this project. I will sew the cording on before the next time that I wear this. I think.
I am sorry that there aren’t very many pictures of this piece of the project or the bodice. I got in a bit of a time crunch to get everything finished. I hope I managed to describe this to the best of my abilities. As always, if you have any questions please let me know. Until next time, bye.