Young Girl’s Loose Gown Bodice Construction Part 1

I started on the bodice for the dress a few weeks ago and have almost finished boning the front but oh my goodness it has been a hassle up until this point.

I sewed the channels which I had drawn across the bodice which took around 3 and a half hours to do.
And I was really happy with the outcome.

I did the same with the back piece using the exact same technique. I also ordered some new boning from Corset Making Supplies  because I wanted more accurate boning and the rather sad Rigband Polyester Boning I bought wasn’t doing it for me anymore. I was really excited when the boning arrived because the next day was an NCEA day and I could spend 3 hours working on it. Unfortunately on the day when I was ready to start the boning I found that my channels were mere millimeters too small. Rather than doing the most logical thing and ripping them all out and starting again I did the next most logical thing and ripped every second channel out, keep in mind I need this dress completed by the 16th of September and time is never on my side!!
ReSewing the chanles

I had to draw up a diagram explaining the process for scholarship so that’s what the above image is. Instead of taking out every second channel next to the central bone I decided I wanted to give it more support. I took out the two closest channels to the central bone which are seen in red and then sewed in a new channel which sits approximately in the middle of the two removed channels which is seen in blue. The black line on the right side of the colored lines represents where I began taking out every second channel which continued for the rest of the bodice.
Yay for MS Paint drawings!

Once I had unpicked and sewed everything and it fit my plan I was ready to start boning! Which I totally winged. Again I referenced Angela’s video tutorial which I’ve linked previously which shows how she bones garments and then I just fumbled my way through it.
mesuring the boning

I marked the top of the bone along the same line as the ‘stopper’ and then marked a line along the bottom edge (where the bones are inserted). I also found it really helpful to draw an arrow pointing to the top of the bodice, this was useful when I sometimes had to take the bone out and cut it down a little because it was longer than the stopper line along the bottom edge. Another thing I did was sand the edges down before inserting them into the bodice, this stopped the bones from catching the light weight cotton fabric and prevented tearing. I used a P60 weight sand paper first which got rid of all of the nasty sharp edge and then buffed that down with a P260 weight sand paper to get rid of any stubborn dust caught fraying the edge. I used a pair of small wire cutters to cut the boning as this was a cleaner cut than scissors and required less sanding.

I stupidly forgot about the half inch inch central bone in the bodice which means I hadn’t ordered any boning for it.. Ideally the bone would be metal but I didn’t want to risk ordering it and have to wait for the long shipping period while I could be continuing with my dress.  So I improvised and taped two of my 1/4 inch bones together and then taped a 1/2 inch Rigband Polyester Boning strip over top of that. To keep everything as flat as possible I made sure to tightly tape down everything, leaving no gaps.
Once my make shift central bone was complete I inserted it and checked to see that none of the bones went over the ‘stopper’ line, filing them down if they were to long. I did this for both the bodice and back piece and then I sewed in the stopper line around the boning, encasing it completely.
Fully boned bodice
I lightened this image so that’s why the colors look a bit bleached but the stitching and drawn lines can be seen better this way.
And then the milestone of boning a garment for the first time was over and I couldn’t be more happy with my effort! 

Then I was ready to start cutting and fitting quilt batting into the bust of the bodice. The quilt batting adds to the silhouette of the bodice making it look more appealing and accentuating the bust.
Surprisingly we had some quilt batting sitting in a trunk at home which meant I didn’t have to go out and buy any. I cut off a large chunk which would be big enough to cut four bust size piece out of it.
I started off by drawing a template with pattern paper over the bodice, I made sure that the template didn’t quite come to the top of the bodice as the bulk of the batting would push upwards anyway.
Quilt batting bust template
I then used the template to cut the batting out using two layers of the same shape and then trimming them down accordingly. Luckily they didn’t need to be trimmed down too much.
Batting bust fitted
Above is the bodice with the quilt batting cut down and inserted in the bust of the bodice (Circled) and one the left is the quilt batting just sitting on top of the bust showing comparisons and such.

I have since pined the top layer of fabric to the boned bodice where they will be sewed together with a large basting stitch. This was today but the bell rung as I was doing this and didn’t get time to take a photo. But I can leave the rest of the bodice construction to another post.

What’s left to do?

  • Sew the top layer on
  • Sew in the neckline and arm opening facings
  • Sew the lining
  • Whipstich the bodice to the back piece, this will create arm openings in the process
  • Make and sew the sleeves in
  • Sew skirt panels together
  • Cartridge pleat the skirt down to size
  • Sew skirt to bodice (I’m currently indecisive on how to do this at the moment. I don’t know if it would be easier to add a waist band to the skirt and then sew it on or just sew it directly in like I did with my mock up) If you have suggestions please comment!
  • Use the sewing machine to put eyelets in down the bodice and five inches into the skirt.
  • Hem the skirt
  • Make the French Hood

I’m confident that if I continue to put in the lunchtime hours making the costume I will have it complete by my set date. I am very happy with my work even though it has run as perfectly as I would like it at times however I have exceeded my expectations and certainly have improved on my sewing skills and drape drafting skills in the meantime. So far I have managed to fix mistakes and improvise when things go wrong with little help from my textiles teacher which has given me a great confidence boost though as times I’ll admit it feels like I’m just bull*****ing my way through the project because I haven’t attempted something this complex before.

I will begin a mock up for the gown late this month and scale up the french hood patterns, possibly make a mock up. However, if the patterns seam simple enough I might just attempt it without making one.

More of that in my next post on this costume. I’ll be doing a lot of work on my Demongaze armour this weekend so that may be my next post.

Thank you for reading and for the comments on my previous posts I appreciate it all so much.

On a small side note my submission for the conceptual design standard in my Textiles class came back as an Excellence (highest possible grade) which I am extremely pleased about!! I do feel a little bad for my teacher who had to read through 40+ pages but the comments on the paper were really great so reading it couldn’t have been that bad! 


Costume Schedule Update June 2016

Short update today!
A few things have changed in my costume ‘To Make’ list for the year. Larger projects have been replaced/postponed  with smaller ones. So what’s now happening and what has changed?

The updated list 

Demongaze (WOW Deathknight) 
Both the front and back
Still happening and is still a work in progress. This will be my Armageddon Auckland 2016 Cosplay Cup entry so I want to get it perfect for the event.

Ophelia (Dress based off the painting by the same name by Georges-Jules-Victor Clairin)
Again still a work in progress, this was the project that would have work put into it and then put away because something more important came up. I actually worked on this all weekend and made some great progress on it and should have a complete mock up soon. There isn’t a due date for this but the sooner the better or other project will take over.

Young Girl’s Loose Gown (Patterns Of Fashion Book 3) 
Clear picture
And now for the projects I haven’t started yet! This gown is needed for completion of my full Elizabethan costume. Ideally this needs to be finished by the 16th of September which is two weeks before the Toi Whakaari Costume course submissions close.
I am also making the dress worn underneath the gown seen in the picture at school as apart of my scholarship submission.

Sylvanas Windrunner (WOW)

This lovely lady got onto my list a few moths ago when I fell in love with her character. I think I’ll wear her for one day at Auckland Armageddon 2016 in October IF I have time to make her. But damn I need to work out if I want to strut about with confidence wearing this cosplay!

Sailor Pluto

So recently I’ve been binge watching Sailor Moon/Crystal(Until my internet crappd out and I can no longer stream videos, RIP Game Of Thrones and all the anime I used to watch). Annnnd Sailor Pluto stole my heart and I would love to cosplay her! I would love to wear this to Armageddon Auckland but I might not be able to as all of my cosplay days are taken should everything else come along on time! However, one of my lovely Twitter friends and I are planing a meet up when I move to England next year and she wants to make a Sailor Mars cosplay so we may end up meeting as Sailor Scouts which would be awesome!

What’s no longer happening

Sansa Stark
option 2

Honestly I’ve lost motivation to make her beautiful garden dress from season 3. And because the fabric is so lovely I don’t want to attempt it when I’m not motivated to make it in case I ruin it. So for now I’m going to keep the fabric and possibly make her later or make something entirely different from the fabric, who knows!

Trash For Fashion Show
This was just a project I considered doing if I had time and I certainly do not have the time for it any more. So it’s no longer happening. Not that I made any major progress anyway.

I hope this clears up what’s happening from now on and what to expect in the coming year. I am really looking forward to completing costumes in the next few months. That is if my mother doesn’t kill me for buying more fabric for more costumes when there are incomplete ones laying about…

And that’s it for this post, thank your for reading and I’ll have a new costume progress update next weekend.

Dark Brotherhood Armour Progress: Part 4 / Completed Costume

Costume Status: COMPLETE
Below are links to each individual post in order.
Part 1Part 2Part 3

The long awaited final post of this progress log.

In my last post which was way back in September of 2015 I was yet to make the hood, mask, boot covers, gauntlets and possibly a weapon.

Boot Covers
These were relatively easy to make, simple craft foam covered in fabric which was hot glued into place on the other side.

I started off by making the pattern which I made by wrapping my boots in plastic wrap and painters tape and then drawing on the shape of the cover which looked sort of like an upside down bottle.

I left about half an inch of allowance on the fabric so I would have enough room to turn it over where it was glued down with hot glue. The base is black craft foam. I’m still surprised at how clean they look with little to no puckering or creases.

I also decided I wanted the foot covers as well so I patterned them in the same way that I made the top half of the covers wrapping plastic wrap an painters tape yet again.
And they looked good.. in the patterning stage.

I thought everything was going so well, they fitted so nicely and looked perfect. I think my mistake here was using the craft foam as a base, if I had used just the fabric I think they would have sat so much nicer.

I would have liked to have an O ring between the two covered joining them like the in game model but it was just to difficult with very little time.Both the top and bottom covers were attached with elastic. Unfortunately the foot covers didn’t make it to the convention as they slipped all over the place and I was scared of loosing them in the halls.

Hood and mask
For the hood I think I traced the hood off my dressing gown which was semi close fitting or I used the hood pattern from Simplicity 1771. I can’t remember! Either way I hemmed all the raw edges and sewed small black domes in five places along the bottom edge of the hood. Two at the very front, two in the middle and then one at the back. I then sewed opposite domes onto the body suit to correspondent with the ones on the hood creating a detachable hood. I would also like to mention that I had to use some left over black medium weight cotton for the hood as I didn’t have enough black spandex left over. This annoyed me as my black fabrics didn’t match!
The mask was made in the exact same way as the one for my Nightingale cosplay. I literally traced that pattern onto my red cotton, hemmed it and sewed the elastic and hook and eye set on and it was finished. Again this was a dumb move as the cotton didn’t stretch and it hurt to wear as it pressed on my nose after a short amount of time.

I didn’t make these in the end as I ran out of time (night before con crunch). I was going to wrap craft foam with my red fabric again but wasn’t sure how it would close so I gave up…

I did make the Blade of Woe, I even stated up until 12 the night before the con completing it. However, it got crushed in my luggage on the way to Auckland. Here’s a progress pic!
Blade of woe
This has to be the worst Pepakura file I have had to use. The there were numbers to match on the file and it was literally a guessing game using the red line system on the program. I don’t know where the blade ended up after the convention hopefully somewhere never to be seen again.

November 2015 Photo Shoot
I forgot the belts when we did the shoot but oh well, maybe I’ll re make this cosplay next year.

Notes and things I would change if I made it again

  • Top sewing a non stretch fabric (cotton) over a stretch fabric (spandex) prevents the stretch fabric from doing its thing and stretching, restricting movement.
    I should have foreseen this but unfortunately didn’t but hey I’m learning from mistakes!
  • Pepakura is a really slow process when it comes to making weapons and armour. However, it is very accurate if you get your files from reputable designers. I do want to challenge myself more and am trying more EVA foam based weapons.
  • Find a new way of making face masks/make them more comfortable to wear. I’m getting very tired of wearing my mask for half an hour, taking it off and being left with a red face because it was so tight.
  • I really should have done something more with my hair in the photos even if it was something simple like a braid.
  • Heavy interfacing instead of craft foam would have made a better base as there would be more flexibility.
  • I would have liked to put more detail into the bodysuit. There are a lot more seams in the body suit which really add to the style and overall look.
  • Another thing I would have liked to have added is the use of faux leather. More so in the strapping belt system.
  • Overall I think more detail would be a lot better on the costume.


And that is my Dark Brotherhood Armour Cosplay!
If anyone has any questions about any parts of this cosplay then ask away! I have no doubt forgotten to write about some things!

Thank you for reading and there will be more posts in the week