This one will probably be just as long as its predecessor. But as you can image this is just as big of a beastie if not bigger than the other. But that’s alright. Considering this is Cinderella we are talking about. She is supposed to be the belle of the ball. And rightly so.
As you can tell by now after having finished this piece I needed to hype myself up about this. Not because of how it looks, it’s positively gorgeous so far, but because of the sheer amount of time I have spent on this one costume. Longer than any other gown. I have reached the one-month one-week mark and I have just now finished the petticoats. And I have 20 days to go before con. With two other costumes that need to be made. This is going to be a long month. But the only thing left of this piece is the blog post, which is what I am getting at now.
This one petticoat ate more fabric than I thought possible. I have used roughly 170-ish yards total by the end of this. Hell, the top layer bottom tier had a little over 200 yards of strips in it. Which took me 4 hours, 4 minutes, and 16 seconds to hem. I know. I created a stopwatch of the process. That was just the outer layer bottom hem. I had to go to the store three separate times and to another town the last two because I purchased all the organza available in white, blue, purple, green, and even pink in my local store. It was outrageous. And time consuming. But enough of that, onto what you are actually here about. The process.
The gown started out with the drafting process as always. And if you have seen my Yvaine posts this process will look very similar to the making of that gown. (Yvaine will be the next set of posts, I figured by now that series would be up, but I was delayed in posting due to this ball gown.) I started out with six measuring tapes total. Then attached one at each of the following: center back, side, center front, side front, and two between center back and side. Place them with the 0 at the ground. Just touching the ground. The high number should be at the waist. From here you want to see how far up the petticoat you want the ruffles to start. I went with the third hoop down from the top. With that in mind the ruffle section would have to be 40 inches in length.
For this patterning I grabbed see through plastic. When you purchase whole bolts of fabric at Joanns they give you a large plastic bag for it. At this time and type of process you will need to be able to see through it. Which fabric just does not let you do. Using the bag with the bottom cut off and one side cut open I pinned it to the waist from the top, smoothed out the bottom edge as best as I could, and made markings on each tape at 40. This allows me to connect the lines later on when I am putting the pattern to paper.
This shows the exact same thing. But with an organza remnant instead of the plastic.
Then transfer the markings once you cut out to the pattern paper and mark out seam allowances. Cut this out of the sturdy organza. I don’t know the exact name for it. Bought it at an estate kind of sale. Where all the fabric bolts were 5 dollars apiece. I bought a lot that day. This fabric looks like a cross between organza and chiffon. The look of chiffon, but feel of organza. It came with 22 yards on the bolt. After they were sewn together, one edge was sewn as a French seam, while the other was sewn under. All edges were overlocked, just to stop the edges from fraying.
The following step involves some very easy math. You need to decide on how long you want to make the lower ruffle edge to be. From here just minus that from number you decided on before. My lower edge will be 11 inches, technically twelve inches with a seam allowances. So the middle tier will have to be 29 inches, or 30 inches with seam allowances. I cut out enough to make two layers of this one. The process for this is fairy repetitive. And it does get a little boring. But the outcome is worth it.
You are going to want to put on a good show, preferably a streaming show, one where you don’t have to keep removing the disks and putting new ones in. This is going to be a very long process. And it spanned days.
These are the fabrics I had on hand for this petticoat, not pictured are the extra fabric I have purchased. All of these are organza or various content and they all have more than one piece.
Start with the 29 inch sections, there is no real math to this process, there will be if you hand gather the ruffles. But with the ruffle foot I don’t know how much fabric it will use for each section. So I make sure to cut off what I think will be enough of the organza. Sometimes it isn’t enough and I will need to cut more. Other times it is too much and I end up putting the spare bits in a bag labeled ruffles. These will be used at a later date on this project or another project. We shall see at the end. When each of these are sewn together you are going to want to overlock the edges. Then topstitch the seam down, I use a decorative topstitch because I find them pretty.
After they are stitched together overlock around all the edges. This will help stop the fraying. And when it frays it is a pain. This will save you in the long run but is a very time consuming process. Then you will need to pull out the ruffle foot. It should go by fairly quickly. But if your machine is anything like mine the center point of the needle is not in the center. Thus if the needle is on the thin side like you should be using for organza the needles will have a tendency to break. I went through a lot of needles to figure out the best way to do this. The best way being is a thicker needle. The thicker needle won’t shatter when it hits the metal. Also you need to make sure that the metal slide pulls back fast enough so the needle doesn’t get hung up on it. That will also break the needles. When this happens you just need to make a couple minor adjustments or you need to oil your foot. I do both. Don’t oil too much, if you do you need to wipe off some of the oil.
After the ruffles are finished for the tier, pin them to the elliptical tier that will be on the waistband. This was when I realized that I had enough ruffles at this width to make this layer two separate layers that attach to this top tier. And that became the new plan.
The next step is to cut out the lower tier at 12 inches in width. Follow the same method as before. And this will be pinned to the middle tier that was attached.
The second layer is the exact same as the previous layer. And it attaches the same way. Not much to say about this. Hem these layers before you attach the top one. I hemmed both layers with a narrow hem foot and fishing line.
The final layer for this petticoat will need a new top tier this one shorter than the others. This tier will create the butt fluff that we need for the elliptical gown. I want the layers to be 51 inches total. That means with the front being 49 inches, the front will need to be cut off short. This will be explained later on. Besides that top portion that we pattern out for this layer there will be three bottom tiers. The long one that goes from the waist to the knee. The one that goes from the knee to low calf. With the final one being low calf to ground.
The total inches are 51 from the top tier, tier two is 25 inches, tier three is 15 inches, tier four is 11 inches. The steps follow the exact same as before. Just keep overlocking the edges after you sew them together. Then use the ruffle foot, you can change the stitch length to lengthen the ruffles or condense the ruffles. My bottom tier on the top layer ended up being roughly 200 yards. And that was awful to hem. This layer also weighs the most.
I cut out the top tier first. Completely sewed that layer together with overlocking all the edges. And after that you can get started on the other layers. First with the middle. Cut out the 25 inch tier overlocking all layers. Sew them together if you need to. Mine was just long enough to make it all the way around the layer without having to buy more fabric. The other layers are a different story. I used the ruffle foot and then proceeded to ruffle the whole layer. This portion will have to be pinned all the way up and over the waistband. To get the front not to drag the ground with the difference of the layers. When you cut out the excess there will be a half moon shape that gets cut off. That is normal. Place the petticoat back onto the dress form while you work on the other bits. And then it was sewn to the top tier. As well as top stitched down once the edges were all laying down correctly. I did have to unpick bits here and there. But it still worked out.
The third tier will be 15 inches in width. This one is considerably longer than the previous. Also made with multiple colors. After ruffling this layer, it was then added to the previous layer. Sewn up. But not completely, as I ran out of organza and had to go back to the store. Once I purchased more I then followed the same steps. With enough sewn together I attached it the other section where I left off and continued to sew this down. Then this was overlocked to clean up the edge and topstitched to the previous tier.
The bottom layer, the one that is 11 inches which I cut out to 12 inches, is just about 200 if not more yards long. This layer I ran out of fabric for twice. Because you don’t expect the yardage to be taken up that quickly. I used the same steps as before but because of the fabric dwindling I just kept having to add more and more fabric to the bottom section. The hemming was done with an overlocker, and then redone with the narrow hem foot and my regular machine. I also used fishing line, this one not wrapped up and boiled like the previous sections. I just used the spool it came on and left that on the ground as it slowly was used up. I still have about 30 yards left on that one, but it will be saved for a later date. With this completed the final thing is the waistband. Which I repeated the exact same waistband as the previous post.
Ta da! Mega fluffiness. The weight is a little tugging with the other layers, but that shouldn’t be too much of an issue.
Especially that there are only two layers left, the underskirt and the overskirt. Those shouldn’t be too heavy. At least I hope not. I love this piece so much I wouldn’t want to cut it up to make it lighter.
If you have any questions don’t be afraid to ask. And sorry for the lengthy post.