The Holiday Dress

Filed fabrics – with bonus cat! (Actually, I am given to understand cardboard boxes are not great for fabric – something about the glue, etc., etc. Plastic is better. However, I am hopeful that this new knowledge [and this blog] will incentivize me to zoom through lots of projects quickly, making its storage longevity moot.)
I actually “filed” all of my fabric when I re-organized the basement last month. Turned each banker’s box on its side, re-folded and placed each piece of fabric so that when it was full I’d be able to see a bit of each so that I could plan new projects faster and more neatly. Well, a new project wormed its way into my brain. As I teased in my last post, there’s a gauzy green that really wanted to become a foofy holiday dress!

So last week, I pulled Cersei off the dress form, got out the fabric, and … worried. There wasn’t much. A big chunk that might just provide the skirt front and back. Two more chunks for skirt side panels – this thing wants to be foofy, remember – and one more chunk for the bodice. I folded over the top of the bodice piece and pinned it to the front of the dress form, then wrapped it around to see if it would meet in the back. It did, barely.

I figured from there I was safe to cut out the skirt.  I got out my yellow polka dot dress (the actual dress, not the pattern!) to roughly copy the front panel, and did indeed manage to get the back panels from what was left of that chunk. In retrospect, I should have made the waist measurements on all three a bit smaller, since I followed that up by trimming the other two strips of fabric for the side panels.

I realized I was going to need a liner and something to help add poof, so I grabbed a bunch of black fabric and some black floral lace and took everything upstairs to where my sewing machine – and electricity! – were waiting. I cut parallel panels for the skirt liner, stacked skirt and liner in two piles, and put each one together. Since I wasn’t too concerned about the exact final length, I then hemmed each one.

Then I started ruffling the lace. Using the longest stitch possible, I put two  parallel seams in the top of the lace as close together as possible. I gathered the seams tightly on the first one, and compared my results with the circumference of the skirt. The three pieces I had were not going to cover the entire hem. Luckily, this was a lace-y fabric, not something with a defined edge, so I cut each of the pieces in half horizontally and gathered them all. I decided I wanted the lace to hang about an inch below the hem, placed it appropriately, and sewed it on. (I should note that I decided the “right” side of the liner would be oriented towards the wearer, so the lace covered the rough edge of the hem on the side that would ultimately be facing the skirt.)

I tried both layers on, and discovered that 1) there was way too much waist, and 2) there was nowhere near enough “foof”. So I went back down to the basement, grabbed the light blue version of the floral lace, and started cutting it into strips. I ended up sewing two more layers of ruffle to the entire circumference of the liner, with each layer sewn high enough above the previous one to (mostly?) prevent overlap. That left an extra several inches bare on top, so I rolled the waistline over several times andbasted it in place. I wasn’t quite sure how I felt about the blue

The funny thing is, I swear I had a progress shot on the dress form…but since it’s been lost to the ether, you’ll have to settle for it being laid on the ground! Hem’s on the left, obviously.

lightening the color of the top of the skirt. I thought for a moment that I could simply reverse the liner and put the ruffles facing the wearer, but that would crush them and the expected foofiness. I figured I’d better wait until the bodice was ready to see if I liked the contrast before deciding to add a second liner on top. And so will you!