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.

Young Girl’s Loose Gown Bodice/Skirt Construction Part 3

Been a long time since I posted progress on this costume but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been making progress.

I’m too lazy to re-write the process I went through so 90% of this is just ripped directly off my Fashion and Textiles document. Please don’t don’t tell me I plagiarized my own work NECA moderators. Thank you 🙂 

After completing the facings on the bodice I was ready to start the huge task embellishing the neckline (First time beading so this was big for me!) The first thing I did was draw up some designs on MS Paint to get an idea of the layout I wanted.
beading 1beading 2beading 3

Out of the three ‘designs’ I liked the last two the best. I wanted to test the designs a little more before sewing anything so I laid both designs in to sculpting clay (so they wouldn’t roll) an then decided on the final design from there.
Beading mock up

My drawings were pretty accurate right? I decided on the first of the two designs because I thought the second one was too bulky looking.
The process of beading the neckline of the bodice took me around 6 hours but it was worth it! To save time the beads were threaded on a continuous thread that was knotted after each line (not cut) and continued to the next. I have no experience beading so this seamed most logical(?) but worked for me! I’m very pleased with it and have had so many complements on the beading.
Beading complete close upBeading Complete

Next I wanted to sew the top layer fabric onto the back piece.I first sewed the top layer fabric onto the back piece with a large gathering stitch using the machine about ¼ of an inch away from the edge. The first time I did this I forgot to check that the fabric was flat against the main layer and found that it was bulky and no tight. Because of this I had to unpick the basting(gathering) stitch and sew sew it on. I used a lot more pins the second time round which kept the fabric tight on the base layer. I think using a small amount of pins the first time round was my problem. I then hand sewed a 4cm wide strip of interfacing to the back piece on the right side (when top layer fabric is facing down). This is where the eyelets will lay on the back piece. I did make sure to check this by referencing the skirt panels as to where the split in the skirt would be. Before sewing the lining on the bodice I will sew a strip of interfacing to it as well.
Once the interfacing was sewn in by hand I began the process of turning the edges over and pinning them in place. Once all of the edges were turned over I sewed the turned over edges down with a basting stitch which didn’t go through the top layer fabric.

Unfortunately the shoulder straps on the bodice would be too thin to put sleeves on them this lead to a discussion with my textiles teacher and we decided that if I made a blouse to be worn underneath the dress out of class would be the best option. (Yay more work)
Around this time full day rehearsals for my school’s production had begin and I was apart of the costume team (didn’t see that one coming did you) and was required at every rehearsal and then every show night so this ate into my time a lot and I fell behind my scheduled a little.
I finished off the arm openings. I made sure that both ends were the same size and altered them accordingly when they didn’t fit. When they were the correct size I pinned the top layer fabric down and whip stitched it into place. I’m really happy with how clean the top layer looks.

I sewed down the top layer fabric on the bodices right side (top fabric facing down) as it didn’t need to have interfacing like the left side. The top layer was sewn down with a tight whip stitch.
Next I cut interfacing to go along the bodice side where the eyelets would lay. The interfacing strip was in two sections as I had already sewn the top portion of the shoulder strap down at that point (after adapting them) so that section was sewn on top and the other longer section was sewn directly onto the base layers with a width of 4cm. The top layer of the fabric was then folded over and sewn down.
Once this was complete I started lining the garment. On my first attempt of this I just started turning over the lining fabric towards the bodice and pinning it in place and continued doing this around a large portion of the garment. Luckily I checked to see how the lining was sitting using this method and found that the lining was not laying tight over the  bodice as was bulky in many places. Because of this I un-pinned the lining and re ironed it to get rid of creases and the started with a new attempt. This time I laid the lining over the bodice and pinned it down to the bodice in crucial places such as the top and bottom of the central bone, below arm openings, on the straps and the bottom corners of the bodice making sure to spread the lining evenly keeping it flat everywhere. I then began turning the edge of the lining under itself hiding the raw edge, I tried my best to make sure there would be at least 1cm of fabric being turned over around the whole garment but this was difficult in some places due to the shape of the bodice. The linings curves had to be clipped in places such as the arm openings and neckline, the central point however did not.

Once the lining was pinned in place I turned it over so the front was facing me so that I could check that no lining was showing through on the front. In the places that it was I simply re pinned the lining a little deeper into the bodice. When I was happy that no lining would show through from the front I began the process of sewing it in place. I did this with a tight whip stitch around the edge of the lining, the stitch only when through the lining layer and the top fabric layer that had been turned over. This process was a lot more time consuming than I first thought but taking the bodice home and working on it in study periods over the week really helped keep me on track.

The main bodice piece was very time consuming to sew but I’m so pleased with the outcome. The lining is taut across the base layer with no puckering and lays flat. I’m just as pleased with the back piece.

(Close up of the whip stitching, image brightened)
Next I whipstitch the arm straps down to the bodice which created the armhole. This was a simple process and I found the easiest way of completing this was to pin the the straps to the back portion of the bodice and then hand sew a line of whipstitching and then go back over that again with another line of whip stitches. This strengthened the bond between the two materials and made sure there would be no gaps or any chance of the stitching coming undone.

I started by pinning the back piece to the bodice, right sides together with the pins horizontal on the ‘seam’. I bound the two fabrics together with a whip stitch going down the seam once to tack them together and going back up the seam again to fill in any gaps.
Back bodice finished

I love when my satin goes blood orange in some light.
Next I sewed the flannel strip layer onto the top of the skirt. This strip is 5cm wide and is the same length as the top of the skirt. The strip was sewn on with a straight stitch 0.5 cm away from the raw edge. I decided to finish the edge off and to prevent fraying by sewing a zigzag stitch along the raw edge.

After the flannel strip was sewn on I marked every half inch interval on the top of the flannel side with a fabric pen. (These marks can be seen in the second picture) This was because my cartridge pleats were to be sewn in this measurement.
The it was time to cartridge pleat the skirt down to size. I used a thicker thread for this (top stitching thread) as normal thread snapped during this process on my mock up. I also made sure to use a vibrant contrasting colour (yellow) so that I would be able to see the thread and make it a lot easier when I had to remove the thread. I used a running stitch to gather the fabric down about 1cm below the raw edge. After gathering the pleats down I measured the thread it was gathered on to just over 1m and then tied it off.

After this I had a conversation with my teacher about the skirt and how I planned on attaching it.
My original plan was to pleat it down to size and then attach it to a waistband which would be sewn into the bodice without breaking through the top layer. This would keep the dress as one piece. My teacher suggested that I keep the dress and bodice as two pieces that way the skirt would be more fitted to me and have a better silhouette. I liked this idea as most Elizabethan costume was separated into different layers which were put on in order to create the full ensemble. The only thing I would have to be mindful of is keeping the skirt panels even before sewing the waistband on. I will go with this option as it is historically accurate and won’t require me stitching the skirt into the bodice saving some time.

Next my focus was to work out what eyelets I would use for my dress. I tested this by punching holes in paper so I could get a better idea of sizes.
eyelets sizes

I decided that the better option would be the 4.5mm size as it would be easier to lace up the bodice. The other sizes would have been far too small making this difficult.
Next I got out a swatch of all of the layers that would be in the bodice that were sewn together and punched holes in that so I would be able to test eyelet procedures. I punched 5 holes in total, the first was just to show the original size of the punched hole vs. what it would look like when it was finished with the thread. Ignore pen marks and follow yellow font.

1. Is the first hole punched so that I could make a comparison to see if the hole got larger/smaller based on thread.
2. This eyelit was sewn using normal cotton thread (the same I’ve been using to sew the rest of the garment)
3. This eyelit was sewn with top stitching thread (same used for the cartridge pleats)
4. This eyelet was sewn using the machine, I sewed over the same area twice to increase the eyelet thickness.
5. This eyelet was sewn using the sewing machine, only once.
From these tests I decided that using the top stitching thread would have the better result and is more historically accurate. The normal thread cuts into the fabric causing the hole to become warped and uneven. The machine sewn eyelets are far too fragile and I do not trust them to withstand being laces up. Because of this I found the top stitching thread to be best. I will need to practice them some more before I sew the real ones on the bodice. 

Next I started on the skirt again, I made up the waist band which was 84cm x 5 inches. I made sure that the waist band was a little larger than my waist just in case I had any measurements wrong. This was cut from the satin and then a strip of interfacing was irond onto the back.
WaistbandWaistband interfacing
Next I made up some bias tap from the satin and added 9 inches of it to each side where the skirt opening would lay.
bias tape made and sewn on
Ooh doesn’t that look pretty. Not my best top stitching but nobody will see!
And finally I started cartridge pleating the skirt down to size.
Cartridge pleats
But this was all in vain as the lesson ended before I could pin the waistband onto it. And that brings us to where I am now with the costume log updated!

I’m very please with the progress I’m making and the huge amount of skills I have learnt during the making process. The dress will be made in time which makes me very happy and I’m looking to have it photographed in the third week of this month.

More updates on other costumes coming soon.
Thank you for reading


Young Girl’s Loose Gown Bodice Construction Part 2

Finally some top layer fabric action!!

After inserting the quilt batting into the bust of the bodice I placed the top layer fabric out (Top facing down) and then placed the base bodice over that with the denim layer touching the wrong side of the top fabric. I then sewed a basting stitch 1/4 of and inch away from the raw edge of the base layer. This stitch attaches the base layer to the top layer and makes the next steps much easier. I don’t have photos of this step but it explains itself in the next photos.

Next I turned the bottom edge up by about half and inch and clipped the curves where necessary.
Basting bottom edge 1I then ran a whip stitch along the bottom edge securing the fabric in place. These stitches are to secure the fabrics together but the stitch should not poke through to the top layer. This took me a while to master and I had to check every stitch I made to make sure it didn’t poke through the top layer. I pretty good at it now!
I’d also like to mention that I later whip stitched the clipped edges down too as I missed them when I initially whip stitched the bottom edge into place. Yes, they would have been covered with lining later but they were annoying me and I had time to spare!

Next I sewed the neck and arm facings onto the bodice with a straight stitch on the sewing machine about 1/4 of an inch from the edge.
facing sew on
Okay I can’t remember what this technique is called so I’ll just describe it for now and hopefully I remember it layer! Basically the facing is flexed back into the position the neck facing is in seen above and then pined into place like so. Then a line of stitching is sewn just off the seam that was sewn attaching the facing and the bodice. This line of stitching is suppose to sew over the clipped curves which makes turning over the facing that little bit easier. Because my clipped curves on my bodice were half a centimeter wide as best in places I sewed this line about 3mm off the seam. Confused ?  Me too, but it worked! So lets move along…
basting stitch insideI then sewed down the facing with a basting stitch, this process is repeated with the arm opening facings as well.
I also did a mock fit test of the bodice and I really like the shape and the silhouette it makes. Have I mentions how proud of myself I am with this project for a first time complex historical costume!
Mock fit test

Fast forward to today. Its currently school holidays and my textiles teacher was having an open class day where her year 12 students could come in and work on their (now overdue) projects. I decided to come in too so that I could cut out my skirt panels and sew them together if I had time. Luckily I had a lot of time and got both of those things done.
Once my skirt patterns were cut out I sewed them together with french seams. This was my first time sewing french seams and a few times I found myself puzzled having to sew the fabric together with the wrong sides together.But it all worked out really well and I had now issues what so ever! I also made the decision that I will sew a waist band onto the skirt which will be whip stitched onto the bodice, I’ll go into more detail with this in the next post.
After today I am feeling so much more confident with this project, I am certain that I will have this finished by the 16th of September along with the french hood and gown.

In other news I have ordered some buttons to embellish the neckline of the bodice. I wanted to replicate the embellishment design seen on Queen Jane Seymour’s neckline in the well-known portrait by Hans Hoblein.
The simple design looked easy enough to replicate but I wanted a little more added to the design. Luckily I found the most amazing woman (who I unfortunately can’t source as all the images I have found of her are re-post images) who made a recreation of the dress seen in the painting and she took some artistic liberty with the design and added some square pendants into the embellish mix which I think is a great look.
QJS recreation
So I hopped online to Etsy and found these Square Rose gold+Blue/White/Black Rhinestones which obviously aren’t 100% historically accurate but they look the part!
Button comparrison
They look pretty similar right! I opted for the black version and bought 24 of them in total. I estimated I would need 18 but decided over buying was better than under buying. I only just hope that is enough!
Including shipping the whole package cost me just over $30 NZD.


And that’s all for this post! I’ll make a start on the gown mock up these holidays as well as drawing up the patterns for the french hood. I have so many projects going at the moment that I can’t really say what my next post will be about, hopefully it will be a little more lengthy than this one!

Thank you for reading

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! 

Young Girl’s Loose Gown, Mock Up Complete

Last week I finished the mock up for this costume. I attempted cartridge pleats to the best of my ability and I think it went okay..

Ignore the awful photos. I didn’t make the pleats as even as they should have been but honestly I was tired (10:30pm on a school night) and honestly over this project. The main thing is that it shows what I’m out to achieve with my actual garment.
The next day I took it to school where my textile teacher gave me the thumbs up and the heartbreaking process of unpicking the whole thing began. I think it took me two hours tops with vicious swipes from the quick un-pick which lead to me tearing the oh so cheap top pop poplin fabric on multiple occasions.
Once all the pieces were separated I ironed them. Now this was a mistake that I didn’t realize until today.. I used a fabric pen that’s ink disappears when exposed to high temperatures eg. an iron, see where this is going? All of my notch marks had ALMOST disappeared, luckily there were some vague lines left and I was able to re draw them but I have made a note to not make that mistake again!

I’ve also drawn up a boning guide for the bodice, closely following Angela Clayton’s kirtle tutorial.
Boning guide 1
I haven’t made a boning guide for the back piece yet, I will make that this weekend as I doubt I will be ready to start it until then (after finishing the bodice).

This week I started the bodice and I don’t have a lot to show for it but I’m just so happy to be starting it!
I started with a light/medium cotton layer of fabric which I drew my boning guide onto as well as the 1/4 inch seam allowance around the outside which can just be made out in the first image. This allowance it later trimmed
Lightmedium cotton layer
I then drew in the boning channels which are 1/4 inch wide with the exception of the center bone being 1 inch wide.
Boning chanels drawn
At this point I hadn’t trimmed the 1/4 inch seam allowance. Once that allowance is trimmed another allowance is put in along the bottom of the boning which again is 1/4 of an inch. This is to stop the boning so it will end there and not the very edge of the fabric. This is seen in the next full bodice photo (Pink line). At this point my Textiles teacher came over to me, commenting on how small my boning channels were. I told her they were 1/4 inch and I was told to do a test to see if the bones would lay properlu in the channels.
Testing the boning
A close up of the boning and you can see the boning is surrounded by ‘tabs’ on either side. Which I assumed would curl inwards when inserted. Mistake? Yes. Its not a big deal however it does sit reasonably flat and it will be topped with the denim so any uneven sections will be disguised. I may even take the time to just trim the unnecessary ‘tabs’ off the boning to take away from the bulk.
I’d also just like to mention that the boning I’m using is in no way what I would have liked to be working with but honestly it’s so hard to source quality sewing supplies in NZ and I do not have the time to be ordering online now to change that so fingers crossed this all goes well!
Next I laid the cotton bodice over my heavy denim layer to it matched the same size of the cotton layer and then cut it out.
Heavy Denim layer
Just pined in this picture but you get the idea. After cutting this out I laid it over pattern paper and drew around it and added 1/4 of an inch to the outside edges. This was in preparation of me cutting out my satin fabric, I had forgotten to make a paper pattern at this point and had used my mock up bodice for the pattern so far!

And that’s all I have to update with today.
So I didn’t make my ‘Will post each week’ goal this time but I’m getting there. Lots of things are happening in the next few weeks, I have a convention in two weeks and will have a costume lineup posted this weekend for that. I’m also planing to do a review on a website I bought off recently which will start two new categories on my blog.

Lots of things are happening so there will be more frequent updates I promise!

Thank you for reading

Young Girl’s Loose Gown, Mock Up

I started the mock up for this project about half way through last school term.

I wanted to make a bodice similar to Angela Clayton’s 16th Century Kirtle which she has also made a  Video Tutorial for. Because I had limited time to make this I decided it would be easier for me to adapt a pattern rather than me drape drafting one. The bodice pattern is an adaptation of  Simplicity 5582, which is a renaissance pattern pack.
pattern sim
I used the main ‘vest’ pattern which is worn in the bigger of the three pictures. Adapting it was simple enough. I took the opening at the front out replacing it with a full front pattern and moved the opening to the center back. I later realized that it would be easier for me to have the opening on a slant to the side of the center back as it would make skirt patterning that little easier (In my opinion!). That and Angela’s bodice back piece was of similar shape.
4th mock up pattern with construction notes
Hopefully the above bodice clears my awful explanation up! Draw by yours truly on Paint. The red represents where I will whip stitch the bodice seams together and the blue is to indicate the eyelet placements.
My first attempts at sleeve making failed, I tried using a sleeve from Butterick 4377 (The dress pattern I’m using for Ophelia later this year). The pattern fit into the arm hole perfectly but once I tried it on there were a few issues.
Bodice with sleeve
1. The sleeve was too tight 2. Because the sleeve was so tight it created this really neat look where my (amazingly muscly) shoulder actually stops the sleeve from coming up my arm any further 3. Adding on from 1&2 the bodice is pulled over and just looks terrible My mother had to pull this off me.
The following day I took the bodice to school and explained my predicament to my Textile teacher. She suggested finding another sleeve pattern that was meant for ease stitching into place. I found Vogue 1264 Basic Design and used a sleeve pattern from pattern E (Brown tunic)
So I ease stitched the pattern into place and it worked perfectly!
Correct sleeve
Ignore my awful pose! The sleeve needed to be shortened but aside from that I think it works perfectly!
After this was completed the bodice was finished.

The skirt was reasonably easy to pattern, I used a drape drafting method and worked out my gathering as I went. I marked every 1cm along the top of my mock up fabric and then began pinning it along the panel section I wanted on the bodice. I would pin the first mark fold the second so that the mark was the top of the gatherings fold and pined the next mark down and continued so fourth. Confused?
The blue line is the bodice edge. Black curves the gathering in the mock up material. And the red dots represent each marked cm. I have never drafted gathering before so this was the first solution that came to my mind which estimated the gathering needed without having to waste material.  It was time consuming but over all the whole process was only 6 hours which isn’t too bad if you ask me! I do want the dress to be really gathered, I think it will look fantastic with the bumroll and petticoat under it.
I used this method for all of the four panels of the skirt. I drew up a basic design of this, again in paint as it was needed for my school assessment.
Dress pannels marked
Blue, Front panel. Green, Side Left panel. Pink, Back panel. Yellow, side right panel. This image also shows where the eyelets will lay down the back of the bodice and about 5 inches into the skirt.
The final skirt mock up looked like this,

The back panel has about 4cm extra on it as I’ll trim it down once I’ve hemed it. The back view was taken on my dress form with a makeshift bumroll (two singlets rolled together) which is why it sits ‘correctly’. The front image was taken on the school dress form without a bumroll. Regardless I’m super happy with the dress at this point!

I was a little worried last Thursday and had to lay the skirt out (It was all pined together at this point)  and measure it to make sure I would have enough fabric to make it!
The skirt when laid out flat measures roughly 375cm which gives me plenty of space for the bodice,sleeves and french hood. Famous last words..

In class now I’m sewing the skirt together, prepared for some extreme gathering. Once the skirt is sewn on I should be finished! Then I can start the real dress.
I will likely start patterning the gown part of this project once I have finished my current projects at home (Demongaze and Ophelia) this should give me time to make the gown in time to be paired with the dress.

Dress and fabrics
Unfortunately when I opened the satin out a few days ago I found it got some stains on it from when it was with my luggage coming back from England. A bottle of makeup remover leaked in my back and must have gotten to the fabric. I took it to the dry cleaners on Wednesday and they said it would likely come out which made me happy but I still spent a good five minutes telling them how delicate the fabric was. I’m picking it up this Tuesday and will cost the grand total of $30 which my mother and I are splitting between us. So lets hope all goes well with that!

Next post will be either a tutorial or and update on Demongaze but hey last time I tried scheduling posts I disappeared for almost two months.

Thank you for reading

Young Girl’s Loose Gown, Breakdown

I can finally announce that I will be making this costume in my fashion and textiles class this year as apart of my full year project.
This costume will also be my garment I will use as apart of my scholarship entry. I am determined to top the fashion and textiles within my school this year and getting a scholarship would be fantastic too. Top scholar for Technology is also up for grabs and award that is given to the top students within the subject over the whole country. This would be an amazing award to receive and would help me significantly when applying for courses and school in London.

What am I making

In class I am going to be making a (simple) Elizabethan dress that will be paired with a French Hood. Both will later be paired with a loose gown which I will be making outside of school.
The dress and gown as pictured in Janet Arnold’s ‘Patterns of Fashion Book 3’
Clear picture
The dress can only be seen from the front view. The dress has long sleeves and those can be seen through the arm hole of the gown worn over top of it. The dress does have a seam down the center of the bodice though at this point I’m unsure if I want to keep this or just make the bodice in one piece (Which I think will be easier for my skill level). At this point I want the dress to have eyelets down the back of the bodice and into the skirt which will lace up to create an opening and closure. I don’t like the look of historical ‘replicas’ that have invisible zippers running down the back. They almost always pucker and just don’t do the dresses historical justice. Because of this I will hand sew the eyelets myself. I also want to include a bum roll to give the dress that nice added lift, I will also be borrowing a long petticoat from the costume room at school because I really doubt I will have time to make one! The dress will include some basic beading around the neckline and possibly the sleeve cuffs too. And lace! The dress will have a trim of lace around the neckline and sleeve cuffs seen in the picture. I wanted to get something similar to the pointed lace design seen in the picture and had been eyeing up a roll in my bosses work room for a while and today plucked up the courage to ask if I could have a meter. She gave me the whole roll!

Its cotton lace and in a roll that large and such a good condition is very rare, I couldn’t be happier being its new owner! I’m still unsure if I want to keep it this colour or possibly dye it black.. Opinions in the comments please!  I will do tests I promise and not bulk dye!
The Italian duchess satin is lighter than the brocade for the gown but the pair match together well.

The gown is gorgeous and I love it so much! The gown has long hanging sleeves which are topped with winged shoulders. Most for the edges and seams are covered with a trim or bias tape. The pattern is still confusing me to be completely honest. Before I start my mock up I will take it into mt textiles teacher to see if she make any sense of it. What confuses me is there is a secondary pattern that goes on the back to create the wing but I have no idea where the seams fit because they aren’t there in the reference image. The wings just merge into the back panels perfectly and I can’t see how with the patterns and instructions!
The brocade for the gown is a darker red than the dress satin, the pattern is a very dark red creating a really nice contrast between the three different colours.

Have I mentioned that I love this brocade. I really look forward to seeing this costume all put together but don’t expect that until October!

The French Hood will be made of the same materials as the dress and gown from scraps ect. I will be following a mix of online tutorials and the book ‘The Tudor Tailor’s tutorial. I’m heading to Christchurch in a fortnight where I will pick up the necessary materials for the hood there as well as thread and some more pins because I have bent/blunt so many while making Demongaze my current armour project.
I’m aiming for something similar to A Damsel in This Dress ‘s French hood tutorial.Headdress 5
Their tutorial goes into so much detail and has already helped me understand the basic construction of a French Hood.  And they have such a wonderful blog so if you haven’t checked them out already you should do so now! I’ve been reading their blog for a few months now without realizing I hadn’t followed them! No wonder they didn’t appear in my reader! I’m an idiot!

The plan so far
I still have a lot of book work to be done in class before I can begin my dress such as finish my ridiculously detailed research (I’m at 29 pages as of today this does include other book work), draw the designs myself which I’m not too happy about its been at least a year since I have drawn figures and of course make a mock up.

The dress will be lined in a similar colour. It will have an inbuilt corset (I’m going to follow Angela Clayton’s tutorial on this). I am still debating if I want cartridge pleats or not, they are historically accurate which is making me lean towards them more than normal gathering/pleats. It will have embellishments such as beading trims and lace. The back will be laced up with hand sewn eyelets.
The dress will be made in class first because its the bigger of the two projects, the French hood will be left until after that is complete.
The gown will be made out of class though I will likely consult my textiles teacher as I go. The gown will also be lined in a similar colour. It will also have a trim of some sort going around the edges, I’ll likely buy this online as I will have more option compared to NZ’s limited range of all things sewing.

And that sums everything up I think
My next update for this costume will be once I have started the mock up and venture into the world of boning and drafting (far more) complex patterns than I have before!

I was going to update this blog with all of my book work from my textiles class but then suddenly thought, What if I get done for plagiarism from my own blog…?
So I will bulk post everything once I have got all of my results for the year. To be on the safe side.
My next post will either be on Demongaze or Ophelia.

Thank you for reading

Young Girl’s Loose Gown 1610-20

Please ignore any posts previous to this one where I refer to this gown as being from the Elizabethan era. My maths was wrong and I’m just 7 years short of that deadline with this gowns date. However that’s not to say gowns of this style weren’t worn say, 10 years earlier to squeeze them into that time from which no doubt they were worn. If someone could link me an accurate timeline of costume history that goes through the eras names that would be wonderful! I can’t find a full list anywhere.
Wikipedia has failed me.

Remember my trip to the Victoria and Albert Museum? Where I desperately looked for the gown I’m looking to replicate from Janet Arnold’s ‘Patterns of Fashion Book 3’? THE BOOK THAT DIDN’T SPECIFY THAT THE GOWN WAS NOW IN STORAGE
Yeah that one.
As of three days ago I only had the replicated image of the gown from the book to go off as I couldn’t find any sources with photos of the original dress. But I found a website that documents all of the V&A’s costumes,objects and all manner or fancy old things they horde there. And would you guess what I found!? You guessed it! The gown, in storage…
The link to the gowns specific page is here which links onto another page which has photos of it Yay Photos!. Can’t be bothered opening a link?
The photos are below.

This gown is at least 405 years old so be kind, she’s precious.
I’m really pleased I found these photos as its given me a much better idea of what the gown will look like put together.
In the era the gown is from as soon as a child could walk/hold their own weight they were given ‘proper clothes’ which were miniaturized versions of what adults would have been wearing at the time. So In reality this gown would have been worn by a young girl. But the same style would have also been worn by adults which still makes it an appropriate costume for me to make and wear myself.

So in review,

I am going to be making a ‘replica’ of this gown. Replica with the addition of me using dark reds instead of olive green. (I am a very pale person, olive is not a good color for me I’m afraid). I’m not using the same materials unless we’re counting the dress worn under the gown in that case I would be.
The fabrics being used are red silk and a dark burnt red brocade.
fabrics and dress
The silk (I think?) being used for the dress worn under the gown. And the brocade being used for the gown itself. The shoulder wings and the hanging sleeves are both attached to the gown and will be made from the same brocade fabric. I will be getting trims for this dress when I get home either at Spotlight or I will order some online.
The pattern for the gown is in the book ‘Patterns of Fashion 3’ and can be seen below along with the blurb for the gown.
I have decided that I could possibly make the gown part of this costume in my Fashion and Textiles class at school, that way I can get credits for it! I’ll need to talk to my teacher to make sure it meets the standards requirements but it should work for it.

And that’s it for this update, I will be starting these costumes when I return to NZ in two weeks time.
Thank you for reading