If you follow me on Instagram, you’ve seen some progress photos, as well as the finished photos, of a Sleeping Beauty replica. Last year, I was commissioned to replicate Aurora’s blue gown with some extra details (shown in the sketch below.) Sketch provided by customer.
As usual, I try to capture the progress of every project I make. These photos eventually, and hopefully, end up in a blog post!
I’ve got news! These progress photos have made it to da’ blog! Not only to this post, but I have four (yes, 4!) more posts coming in the next weeks that explore some of the techniques used in the gown.
I’ll be dedicating a tutorial post to each of the following techniques:
- Turning Points With Acute Angles – Neat and Less than Square
- Self-Fabric Lacing – Tutorial: The Easy Way
- The Circle Hem Using a Serger: The Fast Way
- The Scalloped Hem: Step Up Your Hem Game!
Alright, now let’s get to the part of the post that you clicked to view!
Aurora’s Blue Gown – Progress Photos & Description
First thing’s first; I sent the customer a draft which she adjusted to her shape. After that stage was complete, I was able to start the bodice.
On a side note, this gown will be worn with a Victorian Corset, made by yours truly. Someday, I hope to provide ready-to-ship historical corsets. We’ll see when that happens, but it’s on the goal list!
This gown is made of a blue heavy bridal satin and a lighter blue satin with a petticoat of organza and white bridal satin.
To give the bodice more stability, I interlined the bodice with a cotton muslin. Once I got both of these layers cut, I basted the bridal satin pattern piece to the corresponding cotton piece.
After this, I proceeded to pin all the pieces together.
The idea of interlining means to have a “lining” sewn into and with each piece of the bodice to create extra stability and support to the fashion fabric.With this gown, I guesstimated my seam allowances as I cut out the piece. In order for this type of cutting to work, I used my tailors chalk to trace the sewing lines on each piece.
When pinning the pieces together, I matched the chalk line of the various pieces. To achieve this, I stuck a pin into the chalk line and if it came out in the other piece’s chalk line, I’ve successfully lined up the pieces!
After I got the bodice sewn together, I tackled the hip band thing…don’t you like my creative name for that?! 😛
The band is made of a satin with a interlining of cotton muslin and the back of the band has another piece of satin.
I got all those pieces sewn together.
In order to achieve a smooth seam alone this very crooked and pointy edge, there’s a bit of trimming to be done.
First, I trimmed both layer of the satin to just under a 1/4″. I left the muslin with a 1/2″ allowance. This gradient trimming creates a smooth, unnoticeable transition from 6 layers of fabric (the pattern pieces plus seam allowances), to 3 layers (just the pattern pieces).Secondly, I clipped the inverse points. This will allow the seam allowance to spread open when turned to the inside.
Now for the points, I trimmed as much of the seam allowance away as possible. The least amount of fabric in the point will create the smoothest point. On the other hand, too little fabric, and the edge will fray and the seam will come apart.To help the seam turn well, I pressed the seam allowance to the back of the piece. This just gives a nice press to the edge and will help achieve a smoother edge.Turn the piece right side out and the first step is to turn the points….nearly a nightmare… but not when you have this handy technique at your ready, it’s not longer one! Next week’s post will bring a tutorial your waiting mind!To finish up the edges, press the lining edge so that it’s slightly behind the front edge.
A picture to help:That part is finished!I’ve got the bodice sewn and the hip-band-thing is just pinned in place. Before I attach it to the bodice, I decided to attach the sleeves.
The Sleeve Cuffs
Since the style of these sleeve need a tight and smooth fit, I wanted the least amount of fabric and bulk in the cuff. I decided on a turned up cuff and no lining. This decision does result in the raw edges being exposed. But no worries, the finished result is neat and tidy!
For the corners, I used this method of a fold to create a crisp corner:
Now for some hand-stitching! And what better to watch/listen to, than Brendon Burchard! I’ve found his teaching and motivational classes to by highly, well, motivational. 🙂
Check out his Podcasts and Videos if you’re in need of inspiration and motivation, whether it’s for your business or just regular-old-life! But, you won’t think of life as regular, old, or boring once you’ve heard him speak.
(BTW, I’m not associated with his business, I’m just REALLY INSPIRED by his work. By sharing, I hope you might have some of the same motivational outcome that I’ve experienced!)
Oh, here’s the stitch I used for the cuff!
Sleeves need a lot of pinning to keep them in smoothly in place!
The White Collar
To achieve a crisp sturdy collar, I used a layer of cotton muslin and fusible interfacing beneath the layer of white bridal satin.
Since both sides of the collar would be visible, both of the pieces had the same treatment.Gradient trimming the seam allowances.Since the collar has a slight curve to it, I also pinked the wider seam allowances.After turning it right side out and pressing the edge, the collar is ready to be attached to the bodice.
One side of the collar is sewn to the bodice.The seam allowance of the bodice and collar will be in the collar. The second piece of the collar (the back piece of fabric) will lie flat. I’ve tacked down this edge and this will give the lining a nice place to attach. If you’re not quite following, here’s a (hopefully) better explanation.
The outer piece of the collar has a lower seam allowance that is tucked up inside the collar (along with the top edge of the bodice). The inner piece of the collar (which lays against the body) has it’s lower seam allowance laying flat and is basically “inside” the bodice and the lining.
The bodice, with the hip-band-thing and the collar attached.
The Flowing Skirts
As with the majority of the gowns I make, there’s always a petticoat with plenty of layers!
This petticoat is made of 25 yards of organza with plenty of circle skirts!The outer layer of the petticoat is white bridal statin with a scalloped hem. This was my first scalloped hem, ever! It was a fun challenge and actually took a lot less time than I imagined.
In two weeks, you’ll get a post with an in-depth tutorial of my process! The outer layer of the petticoat, as well as the skirt of the gown, is a 3/4 of a circle. The waist features 4 reversed darts (as I like to call them!) Regardless of what I call them, I believe the actual name is a Dart Tuck. I first used this type of dart in my replica of Clara’s Toy Solider Outfit from “The Nutcracker and the Four Realms”.
For the seams in the skirt, I used the serger along the seam allowances, sewed the pieces together, then pressed the seams open.
*Tip* When a skirt has a seam that’s cut on a bias (even a slight bias), the edge has that characteristic stretch. When you sew the skirt pieces together with a regular straight stitch, the stitches inhibit the stretch of the fabric. This sometimes creates a slight pucker to the seam. To solve this problem, I’ve learned a fairly simple fix.
Use a very small zig-zag stitch….what?!? Yup, just add a slight zig-zag to your stitch. This makes the stitches to have a slight give, allowing the entire seam to keep that stretch!
Here’s that reverse dart…or dart tuck.
With the skirt made, the bodice is attached to the skirt!The inside of the dress, once the skirt was attached.This was the hard part…making holes in a perfectly good bodice…To tie it all together, I wanted matching lacing for the laced-up back (pun intended).
Coming at you in three weeks; an easy tutorial on making lacing.Before I seal the inside up with the lining, capturing a few pics of the neat seams is always appropriate!The herringbone stitch is a fundamental stitch in my studio.
For the collar, I attached 3 hooks and eyes. After sewing the 3 hooks on, I pinned the closure together.Since the closure is secure, I can place the eyes exactly where they need to be to keep the opening tight and closed.Take the pins out and you have a tight, non-gaping closure.Now that the majority of the tasks are done, the hem can be tackled. Since the hem is a circle, you know the issue that always comes up; the circumference issue!
I recently released a blog post on circle hems and the process I sometimes use. With this particular fabric, I didn’t feel like that technique would work. So I used a different one. One which is way fast, and just as good…coming at you in four weeks!
(Plus, I’ll be releasing a $5 ebook that contains 5 ways to hem a circle skirt. I hope to release it in April…so stay tuned.)Adding the Sparkly Twist
Using a mixture of crystal gems in 3 different sizes, I created a gradient pattern along the hem and sleeve cuffs. To spruce is up a bit, there’s also sprinkling of topaz gems among the pattern.
I use the Gem-Tack glue for the gems.
In order to easily apply the gems to the glue, I use a wax tip gem picker. I originally purchased a different style of wax tip, but after seeing these online, they seem to make the most sense. Mainly, they’re sharpen-able! My original tip is not sharpen-able so eventually the tip became un-sticky and fat.
The Finished Gown
My sister was able to quickly try on the gown, but since she’s not the same size as the customer, the fit isn’t quite right…but enjoy the photos!