Young Girl’s Loose Gown Skirt/Blouse Construction Part 4 (Final)

This is the final blog post for this costume. Below are links in order to the other posts in this work log.

Post 1. The Planning
Post 2. Costume Break Down
Post 3. Dress Mock up
Post 4. Mock up complete / Beginning Of Bodice Construction
Post 5. Bodice Construction
Post 6. Bodice Construction
Post 7. Bodice Construction / Skirt Construction
Post 8. Skirt / Blouse Construction
Post 9. French Hood Construction
Post 10. Photo Shoot Teaser Photos
Post 11. Photo shoot Official Photos


The first thing I did was even out the cartridge pleats and then and then begin the slow process of pinning the waistband onto it. I found the easiest way of doing this and kept the pleats from collapsing was to pinch the pleats into pairs and then pin every second pleat where it dipped down and connected with the waistband. Some areas of the skirt required more pins, meaning I pinned every pleat. This method worked perfectly and kept the pleats secure and in a correct formation.

Once the waistband was pinned on and I was happy with the pleats I began the process of sewing it together. When sewing I pushed the pleats toward the foot so it would run over them flat. This was a lengthy process but I decided it was best to go slow and get it right the first time. Now that I think about it, it would have been easier to push the pleats toward me away from the presser foot. This would have run more smoothly however I’m still very pleased with the end result.

I am so pleased with how the cartridge pleats look from the top fabric side. They are all even and give off a beautiful colour when draped.
I decided not to cut the yellow top stitching thread which I used to pleat down the skirt instead I let it there as it would be unnoticeable and it would be more of a hassle trying to cut and remove it than leaving it in.
My first attempt at sew the waistband down failed. With the whole waistband puckering and needed to be unpicked.
I started on the waistband again this time ironing it out. I found some scrap heavy cotton fabric laying around in the classroom so I put this over top of my fabric and turned the temperature up to prevent it from burning my satin. I ironed the waistband out flat and then folded it in half and ironed it down again.
I then pinned it in place and sewed a basting stitched along the bottom of the fold holding it in place.
Next I sewed the waistband down and this went perfectly! There is now puckering and it all lays flat.

I talked to my drama teacher and asked her if she had a number for someone who works in wardrobe at Blenheim Musical Theatre, I was given a number for Viv Patchett who said she’d look for a hoop skirt and petticoat for me. I picked up these item from her on Saturday and then brought them to school the following Monday.
After a discussion with my textiles teacher we agreed that the best finishing hem for my skirt would be a blind hem. Before I started on the hem I worked out how much the skirt needed to be taken up. I tried the skirt on with the hoop skirt underneath and with the help of my textiles teacher who pinned the skirt up at the front we found that it needed to be taken up by 5cm. At this point my textiles teacher informed me that hems shouldn’t exceed 4cm. Because of this I decided to finished the edge of the skirt with the overlocker, removing 1cm off the skirt as I went.
Next I needed to iron over the 4cm hem of the skirt. I used the same method previously when ironing with the setting on cotton and using a folded piece of heavy cotton over top of my fabric when ironing to prevent burning. I used a measuring tape to ensure I was getting the correct measurement.

This was simple going around the sides seams and front but the back of the skirt proved difficult. I first tried erasing the hem around but this was very difficult and ask my teacher what other methods I could used she suggested using two lines of gathering and then gathering the skirt down a little helping with the easing process. This was a lot easier and keeping the hem 4cm wide was manageable.
Next I pinned the hem into the blind hem position and started on some sample to make sure the stitch length would be correct and also to give me some practices sewing the hem itself. I cut the sample fabric from my satin to ensure the settings on the machine would be right for my fabric. It took me quite a few times for me to get it right. After I was happy with my test I sewed the hem down. And it worked perfectly! With the hem sewn down all of my in class sewing was complete and I was able to take the dress home on Friday.
Over that weekend I sewd in hook and eye sets onto the opening of the skirt. I measured the intervals out so that for every 3cm there would be an eye/hook sewn in. These came together and created a closing for the skirt.

With that the skirt was finished! 


For the blouse I used a light weight lining taffeta material in a soft white colour. I decided that this colour and the deep red satin I was using for the majority of the garment would coordinate well together. I initially had the idea of making a blouse with a high neck that I would pattern myself but after seeing the blouse pattern on Simplicity pattern 5582 I decided it was the better choice and had a much nicer style to it as well as being more accurate to the time period.
I used view B of the blouse patterns. This view had the low neckline alike the rest of the blouses but the sleeve finished just before the wrist where it was gathered. I liked this view a lot more than the rest because it was much more historically accurate. I followed the pattern all the way though up until it came to inserting the elastic into the neckline. I decided I wanted the blouse neckline to be much more fitted than the ‘off the shoulder’ look shown on the pattern cover. Because of this I shorted the elastic by 3 inches. And then continued with the rest of the pattern instructions. Doing this kept the neckline on the shoulders meaning the shoulder straps on the bodice would naturally lay over the neckline for the percent finish I wanted! I kept the length on the blouse rather that hemming it to a shorter size. This was because I wanted to tuck the blouse into the skirt/hoop skirt I would wear with it. This would make for less bulk and keep everything very flat which was much more comfortable to wear.

And that was the blouse finished !!!

Thank you all for following me with this costume. It was a lot of fun to make and I have learnt so so much from it! I won’t be making any more costumes this year but will be blogging on occasion over the next few months.
Thanks for reading,



Elizabethan Dress Complete

I had originally planed to have this shoot during the first week of the holidays but unfortunately due to weather and the photographer having family plans it had to be rescheduled to today!
I will make a full post containing the finishing of the skirt and bodice as well as a post containing the official photos from the shoot when I get them from the photographer within the week.

But now here are a few behind the scene photos taken by my friend Ashara and my mother!

The gown wasn’t complete in time for this shoot (packing and school activities had to take priority) but I’m keeping my fingers crossed that I may be able to get it finished before the end of the month for another shoot. But I am so so pleased with this costume!! For a first try in making something this complex I am just so pleased with myself.
I love this photo of Tracy the photographer and I! She was very supportive through the shoot and it was so nice to get to do another shoot for me!

The location for the shoot is the remains of the Lansdowne Mansion/Homestead after it burnt down in the 1930’s. Its now overgrown and created a perfect setting for the shoot. There a some beautiful trees blossoming within the remains and we just couldn’t help getting some shots all over the location.

Speaking of the end of the month, I got a interview with Toi Whakaari New Zealand’s top drama school!! Its in three weeks time and I am super excited for it! I’m currently making an A3 size portfolio to take with me to display my work. This will contain A4 size images of completed costumes, fabric samples and a description of the costume. I found that my original A4 portfolio was too small however A3 size would be much bigger and a lot more manageable.

That’s it for today’s post, tomorrow I’m heading to Wellington for the World Of Wearable Arts show which I’m sure will be a lot of fun. Its my second time attending the event but I’m just as excited as I was for the first time.
Thank you for reading, I can’t wait to share the final photos from this shoot with you all.

Making A French Hood

This week I made a French Hood. This was a completely hand sewn project and I learnt a lot!

First patterned out the hood by trying to scale up the pattern from ‘The Tudor Tailor’. This failed miserably and nothing was the right shape/size and I needed to start over. The second time I tried was far more successful. I referenced Angela Clayton’s French Hood Blog and drew these patterns directly onto my mannequin head that was covered in plastic wrap and painters tape.

What a drew was refined down to the correct shapes. In the second and third picture you can see the top part of the hood (I’m going to call it the brim) layered on top of the bottom part of the hood (I’m going to call it the cap).
Now because female mannequin heads are unrealistically small these patterns needed to be lengthened. I did this by finding the center point on both patterns and added 5cm to this space. For the cap part of the hood I also added 3cm onto the edge where it wraps around the back of the head.

Above you can see more clearly where the patterns were added to. These patterns were then cut out of paper.
Because I was unable to get buckram to transfer the patterns onto I used the next best thing which was two layers of heavy weight interfacing.
Once the patterns were cut from the interfacing wire was needed to help shape them. This wire was whip stitch around the edges. I used a whip stitch for this. I don’t know what type of wire I used, I st(b)o(rrowed)le it from the school costume room but it works great and I had no issues with it.

This procedure was used on both the cap and brim.
Once the wired was sewn on they looked like this. They actually maintained their shape really well and I probably didn’t need to pin it to the mannequin head.

Next was the fun task of of sewing on the velvet to the cap and the satin to the brim. To sew these on I used a backwards stitch that didn’t go through the top layer and only through the interfacing. Similar to how I sewed the lining onto my bodice.

After this I whip stitched the back of the cap together. I used a lot of thread doing this to ensure it wouldn’t tear.
Next was embellishment time! I worked out the pattern I wanted and did a test run of this before sewing it on. I then put pins into the satin to mark out where each set of beads would go. Yellow pins marked where the glass pearl surrounded by tiny seed beads would lay and the multicolored pins (other than yellow) marked the three glass pearl formation.

My beading skill have defiantly improved since I did the bodice neckline. After this is was time to embellish the front of the cap which sits in front of the brim. I decided to keep this much more simple. I also did a fit test!! And learnt that for a french hood to be comfortable hair needs to be braided higher on the head so it sits in the hallow of the hood.
My modeling career will take off from here I’m sure.
The Veil was next to make. This was also made from velvet. I drafted this by hand and actually got it right first time which I was very surprised about. I then transferred this pattern onto paper and my lovely can Sox helped in with this.

This was then cut from velvet with ambitious help from my cat again. I swear hes attracted to velvet. Every time I got it out he would attempt to roll on it. I had to use a lint roller on the hood after it was complete because of him.
I don’t have pictures of that step but after the bottom edge was hemmed it was whip stitched into place. Next I put some pretty lace that looks pretty accurate onto the bottom of the cap.
Like most things this was sewn on with a backwards stitch that didn’t go through any layers it wasn’t supposed to.
Once this lace was sewn on the hood was complete!!

I am so so pleased with this project!! It’s gone so well and all of this is very new to me and I’m very excited by how much skill I have gained in this small project let alone the full ensemble. Due to weather issues the shoot had to be put off last week but will happen this week. I only have the blouse to finish and eyelets to sew for everything to be finished. I do want to make the gown and will try power though that tomorrow after those two things.

If anyone is interested in the patterns I made I can scan them with measurements and upload them to this blog post so let me know. I’m also participating in Inktober this year. I’m on track at the moment and my goal is to upload ‘A Week Of Ink’ weekly showing my creations over a week rather than making daily posts. So that will appear next Saturday!
This will be categorized in both ‘Young girl’s loose gown’ and ‘Tutorials’ as it could be used as a tutorial due to how photo heavy it is.

If you have any questions or critiques please comment! I can take it.
As usual Thank you for reading.