Making Hermione’s Yule Ball dress: the skirt

I think in the end I actually struggled more with the fit of the bodice than making the skirt, though the latter looks more intimidating! I spent a lot of time staring at photos of the skirt and I made some detailed plans.

I made a mock up first (I’ve never actually made a mock up of a skirt before, because all my other skirts were pretty straightforwards). I drafted the skirt onto the fabric itself. I made the center front skewed, as there were no side seams to the skirt. The side would be cut on the fold. I had to alter the mock up a couple of times: the first, it was too tight across the hips and the hem was too narrow. Then it had too much bulk on the front seam and it draped weirdly. But thankfully all of these were solved quite easily!

Once I was happy with the overall shape of the skirt, I put it on my dressform and drew on the layers. Then I straightened out the lines, and cut up the sections. I used these to cut the other side. The skirt ended up having 8 layers and two seams, at the centre front and centre back. I also cut a couple of fake flounces just to get an idea of the effect.

The skirt has a base of the blue satin and then the layers of chiffon flounces.

Cutting out the satin bits. The sides are cut on the fold.
The pattern pieces for the satin. I cut two of each, with the side seams on the fold.
The larger layers of the bottom of the skirt.
And cut out.

For the chiffon, it was difficult. I decided to make patterns for all the flounces because I tried drawing on the circles for the mock up flounces and it was ANNOYING AF. So instead, I used a string and a pin as a makeshift giant compass and drew the chiffon flounces patterns. The pattern is basically just a circle skirt. I measured the length of each satin layer, which ended up being the inner radius, and then decided on the length of each flounce. I used one of the online calculators for this, I think it was this one. To cut out the chiffon, I used tissue paper underneath the chiffon, which worked wonders!

The chiffon over the tissue paper. Actually made a pretty lilac.
One of the larger chiffon flounces. I cut it on the fold for practicality.

Once all the pieces were cut, I went ahead and overlocked all of the edges. For all of the layers. Satin AND chiffon.

Some of the overlocked chiffon flounces.

After all the edges were finished, the first step was to see each layer of the satin together at the center back, so that I had eight long strips as each layer of the skirt. Then, I hand basted the chiffon to the corresponding satin layer, then sandwiching it with the next satin layer, and basting again. Then I stitched them together. Then repeat, seven times.

Basting the chiffon to the satin layer.

I was so excited that I pinned it up to dressform just to see how it was going.

And just kept going:

I sewed the skirt in about eight hours on a Sunday. By the time it was finished, it was quite late, so I left the center front seam for the next day. But I wanted to try it on so!

For the center front seam, I aligned the seams as best as I could and basted them together. It took a couple of tries, and I didn’t get every layer perfectly aligned, but it was passable and the satin was starting to get damaged from ripping out the seam! After pressing open all the seams, I went ahead and pulled the lining over the skirt seam, folding the raw edge under. I sewed this down by hand.

 

I inserted an invisible zipper, hemmed the skirt and it was done!

I tried it on that very day. I also got some random phone photos while at MCM London, but I hope to have better photos soon.

Making Hermione’s Yule Ball dress: the bodice

After re-reading Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire earlier this year, the idea of cosplaying Hermione’s Yule Ball dress came to mind. I had always thought it a beautiful dress, but never thought of cosplaying it because I just don’t really enjoy pink that much – and I thought a fully pink dress might be a bit overkill for me. However, upon reading the book, I was reminded that originally she was described as wearing periwinkle blue robes.

PROBLEM SOLVED.

My plans for MCM May had already been decided, but while I was out fabric shopping for those, I always kept an eye out for appropriate fabric. I think I’m just too picky with fabric, I ended up agonising over it for months. I hoarded up different shades and samples. I was conflicted about how dark it should be, did I want it more blue or lilac-y – just overthinking everything basically. I wanted it to come out perfectly.

Some of the fabric samples from my many shopping trips.

After going to the Warner Bros. studios in September (photos here!) I was absolutely decided to make it for MCM October. So here are some photos of the dress that I took while at the Studios:

I knew I would never be able to get it as perfect as this – I’m still fairly new to sewing and this was a very ambitious project. Nevertheless, I was very determined.

My first step was to sketch and plan out the whole dress as best as I could.

My sketch!
My plans! I swear they made sense… at some point.

Then I finally committed and went fabric shopping. I bought this beautiful satin at my local fabric shop. I bought four meters and it was around £8 p/m. I then bought around ten meters of chiffon, in three different shades. I wasn’t sure of how much I needed, but after doing some research online, it seemed that everyone that had made it had used a lot of chiffon, which made sense! My first shade was a light two-tone chiffon, blue and lilac. The second was a stronger blue, and the last a darker two-tone blue and purple.

It’s not quite periwinkle but it’s the closest I could get.
And the chiffons!

So it was on to pattern drafting. I actually had draped an original pattern and done a couple of mock-ups way back in February when I’d first thought about this project. It was really hard to come back to a pattern that I hadn’t touched for so long. The fit of this dress is super fiddly and so hard to achieve that I think I ended up making about six mock-ups before I called it a day with the pattern.

The bodice consists of a main triangle in the breast cup, and then two triangle-shaped layers over top. These seams were very tricky, but at least the amount of mock-ups helped me become comfortable with the construction of the bodice!

On the left is the first mock-up I made after picking up the pattern again. The right side is after some alterations and made of a more similar fabric to the satin I would be using.

Some mock-up progress!
The final mock-up! Each fitting only needed small alterations, like taking or adding a quarter inch here or there, and the changes were more noticeable on me than on my dressform.

Once I was somewhat satisfied (I will never be satisfied), I went ahead and cut out the pattern pieces from the lining and the outer fabric. I started my assembling my lining, as more of a… seventh practice run.

So the bodice consists of a main triangle, then followed by two… weird triangle strips over it. The top two layers united at the centre front. The layer immediately over the triangle unites with the main front bodice. Both of the top strips extend to meet the back panel at the side seams. The main bodice has a soft point both at the top and bottom at the centre front.

At this point, I sort of messed up the seam allowances which messed with the fitting of the lower cup in the main triangle. I noticed that the hard triangular seams were easier to sew with a small seam allowance, so I only added 1/4”, but for the main bodice pieces I added 1/2”. This resulted in some bagginess immediately beneath the cups, so that the bodice doesn’t hug the bodice like the original A lot of piecing together and ironing later, I had a semi-decent bodice!

Assembling the outer fabric. Some tips: small seam allowances, basting before sewing and snipping the seam allowances.

The inside seams of the bodice!

Then I pinned the lining around the neckline to the outer fabric, right sides together. I sewed and ironed that seam. Then I ironed the lining inwards, and tried out a technique called ‘sewing to the under’ (highly recommended by Hoppin Bobbin). This would help keep the lining in place.

Lining and outer fabric pinned together!

I basted the top half of the bodice together and then sewed it down.

I waited until the skirt was attached to add the zipper to the back and finish the lining, so instead let’s talk about sleeves!

The straps are just long strips of the satin fabric, rolled over twice and sewed down into straps.

The strips were cut on the bias.

Then I cut two circular flounces for the sleeves. I cut the circle open and trimmed off a bit from the front sections so that it would flow longer into the back. I overlocked all the edges. Then I sewed them to the straps by hand.

The lining was only finished after attaching the skirt so I’ll talk more about it on the next post!

Sneak peek of more chiffon flounces:

 

Making Angelica Schuyler’s dress: the sleeves and skirt

This is the last post about making Angelica Schuyler’s dress! The costume is now completed and I’ve ran into some hurdles. I think it all traces back to my initial issue, which I complained about in my first post. My fabric choice was terrible. Originally I wanted taffeta which I think would’ve solved my problems, but pressed for time and a decision, I hastily settled on some super cheap satin. The quality of this fabric is just non-existent. It crinkles, pulls and does not lie flat, even though I interfaced it and interlined it, it’s worn over a corset and is double boned at every seam – and it still misbehaves! I’m at the end of my wits and thinking of not wearing it to MCM London.

In the end, the sleeves and the skirt actually went really well, so that is why I’m still bothering writing this up. Hopefully someone will learn from my mistakes!


For the sleeves, I dug out my basic straight sleeve block and ‘Creating Historical Clothes’ by Elizabeth Friendship. I think I picked the late basic fitted 18th century sleeve and modified my pattern accordingly. I cut this out of the satin fabric and the lining fabric.

I decided I wasn’t going to add a cuff, so I finished the cuff edge by sewing the satin to the lining fabric, right sides together.

Then I ironed the seam open, flipped the sides so it was wrong side to wrong side, and ironed it in place.

This created a really nice, neat edge.

Then I basted the two layers together on all sides and marked and sewed the elbow dart.

Once that was done, I sewed up the side seam.

I decided to do a flat felled seam, so it covered the raw edge.

The sleeve cap has three small pleats so it fits nicely. I figured these out (quite randomly) and basted them down. Then I pinned the sleeve into the armhole and sewed it down.

This is the first time I sewed sleeve in by machine, but I wanted it to be super durable.

These raw seams were then covered when I sewed in the bodice lining. The last thing to add were some little chiffon flouffs like on the neckline. I made two rectangles, which I folded in half, basted and gathered.

Then I pinned them into the cuff and handsewed them down.

For the skirt, it was just a big big rectangle. I marked the center front and left a ten inch gap. Then I did three deep pleats at the side and smaller pleats at the back. I knew the original dress had big pleats at the side, but I’d never seen the back. Usually 18th century dresses have more volume at the back, so I made sure to make more pleats there.

The pleats were marked and basted down, then sewed in place by machine.

Then I sewed up the back seam with a french seam, leaving a 7” gap at the top. I turned these edges inwards twice and sewed them down.

At this point, I tried it on over the bum pad. It looked okay!

The next step was to cut out the waistband. It’s just a large rectangle, the waist measurement by the doubled desired height of the waistband (it’s then ironed in half).

I pinned the waistband in place and sewed it down. Then I flipped over to the wrong side and handsewed that down.

I added a hook and bar to the top to close the waistband.

Then it was time for hemming! I cut off the excess (which was like 14” in the end). Then I sewed on horsehair tape to the right side of the hem, then flipped it over to the wrong side and sewed it down by hand with a herringbone stitch.

And it was done! The skirt actually turned out fine. I hope I can somehow fix the bodice, maybe by adding more boning or something. I’m going to try! I’d really like to wear this in the end.

UPDATE: I’m posting this so long after writing it but! I added extra boning channels at the front of the bodice and it helped with some of the wrinkles. I was happy enough to wear it to Comic Con. I didn’t get any proper photos of it, but I did get one or two phone snapshots so here is one!

Making Angelica Schuyler’s dress: the bodice

As soon as London MCM April was over, I started looking towards October. Unfortunately I postponed making decisions for a while and wasted a lot of time fabric browsing and shopping. However, after listening to the Hamilton musical so often, I decided I wanted to make a dress from the show. Not only do I love the musical, the songs and the characters, but the 18th century inspired costumes also made me really excited.

I ran into some problems pretty quickly. I have never actually seen the show (though it’s set to open in London in November and I’ve got tickets for next year YEEEES), and I could only find two HQ photos of Angelica’s costume to go off of.

Both found in this wonderful blog post!

This was a struggle. First with fabric picking. I read somewhere that silk taffeta was used for their costumes, so that helped with fabric choice, but from these two photos, I wasn’t sure about the colour to pick as I think the stage lights have quite the influence on the colour in these photos.

I was a bit averse to pink, so I wanted to keep it closer to a peach/coral tone. However, I could find no nice taffetas in these colours. I ranted a bit about fabric shopping in my fabric haul. Essential I checked every shop that I could and online too.

Eventually I settled for a cheap satin I found in one of the shops at Walthamstow Market. I regret this fabric decision. Though the colour is nice (though much brighter out of the dark shop), the satin is of very poor quality and anything snags it and it kept rumpling and not ironing properly. But oh well! It was £2 p/m, what did I expect.

So here are the fabrics that I am using for this project: 5 meters of coral/peach satin that was £2 p/m, a meter of textured cream chiffon was that £4 p/m and one meter of matching lining that was £3 p/m.

Once that was settled, I started thinking about silhouette. From the photos that I research, I could see that there was still a distinct 18th century silhouette in her costume. I knew what this meant! I’d been meaning to make new late 18th century stays for a while, so this was the perfect opportunity. I have a blog post about them here.

I also picked up the bum pad I had already made from the American Duchess Simplicity pattern. I had made this just because, way back, and though I think it’s meant to be earlier 18th century, I really liked how it matched Angelica’s silhouette in the musical.

I decided to only go for one petticoat for comfort and picked up a simple rectangle one I already had.

Now onto the bodice! I decided to use the block I had made for the stays. I drew the outline of the stays on the block and then changed some of the lines to what would hopefully match Angelica’s design lines. I thought this would be easier than draping and would ensure I kept the conical-like shape and that it would fit nicely over the stays.

Once the pattern was done, I made my first mock up. It needed some adjustments around the armhole and the back taken in, but thankfully there wasn’t too much to change.

So I moved on to cutting the pattern pieces out of cotton drill (for interlining), the lining fabric and the outer fabric. I added a half an inch seam allowance to all pattern pieces, and then trimmed back the cotton drill seam allowance to a quarter inch, to try and keep the seams and edges less bulky.

Cutting out the interlining out of cotton drill.
And the lining.
Trimming the seam allowance on the interlining layer.

Since the satin is so cheap and flimsy, I decided to interface the satin in an attempt to make it stiffer.

I cut out the interfacing using the trimmed interlining layer (so that the interfacing wouldn’t bulk up seams either).

This went pretty bad the first time. I struggled to get the right temperature on my iron and I was rushing through it, so the stain wrinkled in some places.

Pre-wrinkling.

I took a deep breathe and carefully tore the interfacing away. The satin was okay except for some drops of glue that remained attached to the wrong side of the satin. But since I was going to try to interface it again, it didn’t matter to me.

So I tried a second time, kept my patience, and it worked out nicely. (One day I will actually find affordable woven fusible interfacing instead of the crappy paper-like one I have).

I flatlined the cotton drill to the outer fabric by basting with large machine stitches around all the edges.

Then I assemble the bodice by sewing up the side seams, front seam and shoulder seam.

I ironed all the seams flat, and basted them down to create boning chanels.

The boning is only meant to support the bodice so that it stays in shape and straight, so I used lightweight synthetic whalebone.

The edges can be filled down so they’re smooth and round!

Then I went around and turned all the edges inwards. I only turned them inwards once to finish the edge, as the lining would be covering the raw edges of the fabric. I sewed all of these down by hand.

Also the center front has some ugly crinkling that happened when I first ironed this seam and it won’t go away (cries).
The finished bottom edge! The lining will cover all the ugly basting stitches.

I also added some boning to the curve neckline as I thought this would help keep it crisp.

Before attaching the lining, I went ahead and made the ruffle details, so that the lining would also cover the ruffles’ raw edges. I measured around the neckline and the gap at the front and multiplied it by 2.3. Then I cut two long rectangles and one square (due to fabric width limitations, otherwise I would’ve just cut it an odd and large T-shape). I seamed the two rectangles to the square and then folded the edges down.

The folded edge at the top would be the top of the ruffle. I ironed everything into place and basted the raw edges together. Then I sewed gathering stitches (longest stitch on my machine and high tension helped to gather it as I went). I also sewed a row of gathering stitches on the bottom of the square. Then I gathered everything down to the required measurements.

I noticed that where there was only one layer of chiffon, so the square, it was too see-through so I cut out a square out of plain cotton which I hand basted to the gathered square. This made it more opaque so that the stays wouldn’t be visible through the chiffon. I pinned this weird T-shaped ruffle to the neckline and then handsewed it down with a large backstitch, making sure the stitches didn’t come through to the right side of the bodice.

Meanwhile I made and inserted the sleeves, but I will talk about the sleeves on the next post. They were set in before sewing the line, so that the lining would also cover the armhole seam.

I assembled all the seams on the lining, turned the edges inwards and pinned it to the bodice. This way, I would sew the lining down and finish the lining edges at the same time. I know there’s a wonderful 18th century stitch where you finish all edges at the same time, but I only remembered it after I’d already turned the outer fabric edges inwards. I sewed down the lining with small running stitches.

The lining!
Pinned in place!

The only thing left to do was add some eyelets! Since this is a cosplay piece, technically, and not historical, I decided to add metal eyelets. This is much quicker and I didn’t mind the look of them. I marked the placement with pencil, leaving a one inch and half gap in between each eyelet. Then I used my small scissors to make a small hole and used my pliers to set in the eyelets.

And done! I’m quite happy with it, even if the bodice wrinkled in some ugly ways. I hope the end result will look okay and the fabric will stop battling me.

Making a Jane Porter cosplay: the photos

So one of the things that happened in the past cons was that I only ever really got one or two shots of my costumes actually being worn, at the end of the day (also when I looked the worst because I’m still a con rookie and they WRECK ME). Not anymore my friends! I was so privileged this time to be joined by my friend Lachlan Williams (https://www.instagram.com/obscure.lachlan/?hl=en), an amazing photographer. I thank him so much for his patience with me, I’m a terrible model and he’d never done anything like this and I couldn’t keep my eyes open for more than one second so – I’m super impressed with the results! It was so hard to just pick a few to feature here, so if you’d like to see more, follow me on Instagram as that’s where I post most things!

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I’ve got several shots in B&W which also look amazing

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By the end of the con, my hair wouldn’t stay up no matter what. Guess cons are kinda like the jungle.

Making a Jane Porter cosplay: the details

So it’s the final post about this costume! Yay! I had started making this with the intention to wear it to the London MCM Expo in May. The weekend is coming up and I can’t wait to debut this costume! (Also a relief to wear a skirt that can’t be stepped on). I’ll link the other posts about this cosplay below. I am overall very pleased with it. The bodice/sleeves are my only issue with it. The fit could be better, I think, and the way I worked the chemisette into it. But I do enjoy the overall look and how ‘complete’ it feels, with all the details and accessories! So onto them.

Making a Jane Porter cosplay: plans and undergarments

Making a Jane Porter cosplay: the bodice

Making a Jane Porter cosplay: the skirt and overskirts


I had quite a few elements as far as accessories went for this costume. I wanted to get Jane’s complete look! Plus, this is for London MCM so an umbrella is always handy. First, I started by making the scallop trim that goes on the hem of the skirt and on the umbrella.

I bought gorgeous white duchess satin for this. It was a bit more expensive than I wanted it to be, since it was just for trim, but it was so gorgeous I didn’t mind. First, I figured out how long and wide I wanted the individual scallops to be. Once that was figured out, I folded a piece of paper in half and drew half the scallop, and cut it out. This was to ensure it was symmetrical (because I really can’t draw). Then I outlined this individual scallop on a piece of paper and repeated it a few times. This gave me the pattern for the scallop trim. I made it as long as the width of my fabric.

Then I pinned it onto the fabric and cut it out from the duchess satin and from plain cotton (which was going to act as a lining, as I’d rather waste the cotton than the satin).

Then the strips were sewn together on the side seams. After that, I pinned the cotton and the satin layers together, right sides facing each other. Then I sewed them together on my machine. I went very slowly to try and get a clear shape. Some of them still look very wonky. I clipped all the round seams and turned it the right way out.

Then I carefully ironed each scallop to better the shape. And ta-da! I had to make about six meters of this, three for the hem of the skirt and three for the umbrella.

I sewed it on the skirt by machine, by actually just sewing it to the horsehair tape so that there was no visible top stitching. It was much quicker than sewing it by hand.

I bought the umbrella off ebay. It was cheap and bright yellow, so I bought some acrylic paint and painted it ‘Antique Gold’ which was much closer to the yellow of my dress.

Then I let that dry. I should have thinned the acrylic paint, but I didn’t know at the time, so the paint is cracking a bit in certain places. Then I sprayed it with a sealer and hot glued the scallop trim around the edges and the top.

Jane also has these adorable little gloves. I found the gloves I’m wearing for this costume before I’d even started it. I found them accidentally at a vintage shop in Angel, and bought them on a whim. They are from the 1920s and they were a steal for £8 or something like that, probably because they had a little whole in between the fingers, which I quickly mended. My original plan was to trim them to be wrist length, as they are a bit longer than what Jane wears in the film – but I think it would break my heart to cut them so… I might not.

Next up is the collar. So even though I made a nice little collar for my chemisette, I decided to add Jane’s iconic pointy collar too. I stared at some photos of it and then draped it onto my dressform.

I actually had to do this a couple of times because I couldn’t make it fit properly. I used the same method for the scallop trim: I transferred it onto paper and then cut that pattern out of the duchess satin and plain cotton. Then I sewed them together, right sides together, clipped the seams and turned it right way out.

I left one of the sides open to turn it to the right side, and then folded the raw edges inwards and sewed them down by hand. I added two snaps to the back and it was done!

However, at this point, I was staring at the empty neckline and remembered I had originally bought some lace to add to it. I completely forgot about it. The right time to have added it would have been before lining the bodice, so that the insides were tucked between the bodice and the lining… but oh well. I gathered down a pretty lace flouff and hand-sewed it to the bodice.

Then I turned it over the neckline edge and hand-sewed, with tiny little running stitches, so that it stayed down.

The last accessory is the cravat! Jane has this nice little purple cravat that looks adorable. Originally I bought this strong purple fabric for it. It’s not the same colour as the one in the film, it’s a lot darker but I really enjoyed the contrast with the other fabrics so I decided to go on ahead with it. I read a few online tutorials about how to make a cravat. I then flat drafted a pattern for it and cut it out of the purple fabric. I turned all edges inwards twice and sewed them down by hand.

Lastly, Jane also has a safari hat. I bought one off ebay and made a purple sash out of the same fabric as the cravat.

And then it was done! Wooooo!

Actually there is one more detail. Jane has amazing Victorian looking boots. My original plan was to find some plain brown pumps and make some spats. But then I got reckless and instead finally made a dream come true and bought some American Duchess shoes! SO EXCITING.  And here they are, my amazing ‘Manhattan boots’!

Oh and one more! I’ll be wearing it with a plain brown belt, but I don’t have photos of it on my mannequin, so here is a quick photo of my fitting with the complete costume:

Making a Jane Porter cosplay: the skirt and overskirts

Hello everyone! I’m back on writing about this costume – I really need to start writing up closer to the sewing time, because I end up forgetting a lot about how I made things (my memory is terrible). I have one post about the concept and the foundation garments for this dress here and the post about the bodice here. Once again, just a quick reminder that I did not intend this dress to be a historically accurate Jane! I just wanted it to be more detailed and more ‘me’, while keeping some historical elements like the bustle back. So on to the skirts!

I decided against my original plans of making a circle skirt for this dress. I know, right? So indecisive. Circle skirts just weren’t working for me in this project. I decided that a panelled skirt, like that of my 1871 evening dress would work better. It would still accommodate the bustle back, I could give it a large hem so that it swished, but it would also keep a flat front, which I thought was in line with Jane’s original dress.

The skirt consists of four panels: the front (which is cut on the fold), two sides, and one back. I had all my plans written out for this but I’ve lost them, so eep! I didn’t make a pattern for this, I just drew out the shapes I wanted on a piece of paper and did maths (gross) to figure out lengths and slopes and etc. I used the same method as I did on my 1871 evening dress skirt, and I had sloped panels so I could get a large hem (the hem ended up being three meters). The top of the front and side panels is small, so it ends up being almost triangle shaped, but the back panel is as wide at the bottom as the top, so I had enough room for the bustle.

I drew the shapes directly onto the fabric and then cut out the panels. I used those panels to cut out the lining.

One of the side panels, in the lining.
The front panel being cut out of the lining. It’s cut on the fold so there’s no seam at the centre front.

Once all the panels were cut out, it was smooth sailing. So to speak. I somehow managed to warp the fabric when I cut out the front panel so that it was slightly cut on the bias and it draped weirdly. One side ended up being nearly three inches too long. I was so lazy and decided just to go with it, that I could level it once I hemmed it. I ended up sewing up the whole skirt, lining and everything, and then deciding to rip it out and re-cut the front panel.

But anyway

I pinned the panels to their corresponding lining and then flatlined them (machine basting around all sides). I then went over all the edges with a zig zag stitch. I don’t have an overlocker (though I really really want one) and the lining fabric was fraying so much, that this seemed like an easy fix. I wanted this cosplay to be durable, so finishing the seams was a must and this seemed like the easiest way. I’m glad I did it this way, because if I had used another method, like french seams, it would have been much more of a pain to rip out the front panel.

Because of the bustle back and the fact that this was meant to be a separate bodice and skirt piece, I left a six inch slit in between one of the side panels and the front panel. I turned the edges inwards twice. I pleated the skirt down to my waist measurement, making most of the pleats on the back panel so it went nicely over the bustle. Then I added a waistband and a bar and a hook. I hemmed the skirt with horsehair tape, which is my new favourite thing. This is quite narrow, so I sewed it on the right side of the fabric with 1/4” seam allowance, then turned it to the wrong side, pinned it and sewed it by hand with a herringbone stitch.

Tape sewn to the right side
And turned it to the wrong side!

The skirt was done! Or so I thought.

You can see it was still un-hemmed in these photos. Also fun fact: draping over a bra is dangerous.

 

 

The answer is… WRONG! After the whole costume was finished, the overskirts and bustle were weighing down the skirt so much that it didn’t line up with the bodice AT ALL, so I ended up having a whole flash of flesh at the back (not okay). It was a crop top. So I ended up sewing the bodice to the skirt, to make it a dress, which meant relocating the closure to the back. Thankfully the overskirts cover the previous closure so it can’t be seen!

Onto the overskirts then.

I wasn’t sure how to achieve the effect of Jane’s overskirt. But after I looked around, the costume Jane wears at Disney World shows the pleats much better, so I got onto pleating. I took the old front panel of the skirt and pleated the sides just to get an idea of how long the overskirt panel should be. The pleats are just wide, knife pleats going against the flow of the skirt, so it looks like is folds inwards.

Like so.

Once I figured out how long it had to be and how wide, it was just a question of drawing out the schematics and then cutting the fabric. I drew it directly onto the fabric, which was cut on the fold. It looked like a slightly sloped rectangle. It had to be as wide as lowest point where it hit the actual skirt, so that it fit comfortably and didn’t look strained (this is something I learned from my failed overskirt in my 1871 evening dress).

After that was cut out, I made the three pleats, the first is 3” deep, the second 4” and the third 5”. I found I liked the look of this slight difference.

I sewed the pleats down by machine, after ironing them.

Then  I turned the bottom and side edges inwards twice by hand, to hide the raw edges. This also hid the machine stitching. Then I made a waistband for the top, not sewing the sides so that it formed a channel through which I threaded a piece of matching ribbon. This is the overskirt closure.

For the pouffy bustle… bit (I’m not sure what to call it, pad maybe?), I pretty much winged it after a rough mock up. I made it quite wide and very sloped. I noticed that the sides of the pad covered the sides of the pleats in the front overskirt, so I measured them (12”) which told me how long the side panels of the pad had to be before they sloped. Then I sloped them into one big curve. Once again, it was cut on the fold. This gave me a rough oval shape (when the top was gathered down). The top had to be quite wide to fit comfortably over the bustle. Originally I tried pleating it, so it would match the front overskirt, but it didn’t give the same look as the one in the film. So then I tried gathering it with two rows of stitching and it worked! I also noticed that Jane had some sort of border around the pad which seemed to be stuffed, because it stood out from the pad.

To achieve this, I cut wide bias strips of fabric. Because there was a slight difference in colour, I used the wrong side of the fabric, like I did for the sleeves. I turned the long edges inwards by 1/2” like when making a waistband. Then I pinned and sewed one side down, all around the pad. Then, while turning the other side and pining it, I added polyester toy filling to it, and sewed it down by hand.

Then I added a waistband, like on the front overskirt, and threaded some ribbon through it. I added a couple of snaps to the side, so that it would attach to the front overskirt (this whole costume is rigged with snaps and hooks to be honest).

And that is it for the skirt and overskirts! Here are some photos of the costume at this stage (roughly), including a sneak peek at the collar and scallop trim. The next post will be about the collar, cravat, umbrella and misc. accessories/details!

(this is not the final belt, it was just here for picturing purposes!)