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! 


One thought on “Young Girl’s Loose Gown Bodice Construction Part 1

  1. Pingback: Young Girl’s Loose Gown Skirt/Blouse Construction Part 4 (Final) | Niveraswings Costumes

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