Added Oct 23, 2011
This costume was really fun to make. The fabrics just spoke to me.
I used McCall’s 4109 to make the bodice, and I made minor fit changes. It was actually an underwear pattern to begin with, weirdly enough. I took a part of the design from the skirt fabric and did a facing on the front panel of the bodice, interlining it with red-orange silk. I hand embroidered and beaded around the design as well. I backed the pieces of the top with heavy canvas before I lined it with broadcloth. I made the piping that I stitched in to the waist and sleeve seams. I also set 18 silver grommets in to the back opening and laced it up with black double-sided velvet ribbon/cord. I made a red silk underpanel for the lacing, to keep it looking clean and smooth.
For the bodice sleeves I used McCall’s 4696, View D and shortened them. They just happened to fit in to the armhole of the top perfectly, and they allowed for good movement. I found the jacquard velvet for the sleeves in the clearance section at Joann Fabrics, and I realized it went well with the silk I had already bought for the skirt. I had a lot of trouble with the material, however, because it was very stretchy… which I had not noticed before. I ended up drastically altering the design of the sleeves from what I originally planned to make up for the stretchiness. I had to baste the velvet to broadcloth before sewing, to keep it stable.
For the skirt, I used Butterick 4827, View B. The only alterations I made to the pattern were to shorten the front hemline a couple of inches, and to add the split in the front and the red silk underskirt panel. The most difficult part was figuring out how to cut the fabric to best match up the jacquard-patterned silk on the princess seams. I think it turned out pretty well, even though I had to cut a few pieces twice. I also put in my first invisible zipper in the back. Yay!
I drafted the pattern for the underdress myself, which is a big deal for me considering it was the first thing I’d ever fully draped for myself. The sleeves close at the wrist with a red shell button and a black & white chevron print soutache-braid loop. I lightly gathered the neckline with a running stitch of red embroidery thread. I ended up dyeing the cotton for the underdress twice, because the first dye bath left it looking too watermelon-pink. Result: me sitting on my rain-drenched terrace at 11pm at night, stirring fabric in a plastic bucket. Haha!
I also drafted the pattern for the arm bands/cuffs. I made rounded-diamond shaped facings and backed them with dark red silk. I lined the cuffs with black broadcloth. They tie closed at the edges with double-sided black velvet ribbon.
I love the way it turned out: despite the days of hardly sleeping or eating to get it done in time. I worked on it for 17 hours straight one day this week! I also put a hot iron down on top of my finger, and pulled muscles in my back by hunching over the pattern while I cut it out on the floor. However, it was worth it! =D
1 yd dark grey linen, 1 3/4 yds light red silk, 1/2 yd dark red silk, 1 yd black & silver stretch velvet, 5 yards black & silver jacquard silk, 2 yards black broadcloth, 3 yds muslin, 1 yard heavy canvas, 1/4 yd medium interfacing, 1/8 yd light interfacing.
2 1/4 yds cotton cording, 2 yards black 1/8" velvet ribbon/cord, 2 1/2 yards black 5/8" double-sided velvet ribbon, 4 yards black double-fold bias tape (folded out for skirt hem), 1 yd red single-fold bias tape.
Red seed-beads, black shimmery seed-beads, red embroidery floss, rust embroidery floss, 2 hook & eyes, red 7" invisible zipper, two 1/2" red shell shank buttons, 1/8 yd black & white chevron 1/8" soutache braid, 18 silver grommets, red thread, black thread, 1 bottle Scarlet RIT dye, 1 box Scarlet RIT dye.
Make something special and practical for your friends and family this holiday season!
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