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!
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
The skirt was done! Or so I thought.
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.
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!
You can find the previous post about this cosplay here. I explain a lot of the concept behind this project there, but I’ll give a brief summary here. I wanted to make a more detailed version than the film. For my Esmeralda cosplay, I made it with plain, block colour fabrics, and while I love the result, I would also like to push this next Disney cosplay and try to give it more of a different spin. A huge inspiration was a redesign by Designer Daddy (photo in the other post!). And so, while I was calling this ‘Victorian Jane’ in my head, there is nothing historical accurate about it and it’s not meant to be!
Also quick reminder that this is a description of how I did things – they are by no means the best or correct methods!
With that in mind, I went about tackling the bodice. I really liked the idea of a square neckline and then something that looked like a chemise or blouse underneath, with a high collar. I had a look in some pattern books, but I couldn’t find anything that sort of matched what I wanted, so instead I draped it on my dressform. I’m still fairly new at this, but I was happy with what I came up with. I started by using large-ish pieces of fabric and laying them on the dressform, pinning them so that they laid flat. I marked the seams and cut out the extra fabric, and drew on the shape of the bodice. It left me with this:
I marked where all the seams were, where they joined and what each bit was. Then I took it off the dressform, pieced it together, and cut a mock-up. After some adjustments to it, I made a pattern and a second mock-up.
After I settled on all alterations, I went ahead and cut it out of the lining, the outer fabric and a layer of cotton twill as interlining (placed inside, between the fabric and the lining, to stiffen it).
I wanted to add some boning for structure support. I decided to add boning to all seams, but I also wanted some at the centre front to support the neckline. So I marked out two boning channels in the centre front and sewed half an inch bias tape to the cotton drill. I then flatlined the outer fabric to the cotton drill, matching each piece individually, and basted with a large machine stitch very close to the edge. Then I assembled the bodice by sewing the seams together with a half an inch seam allowance. I then went ahead and assembled the bodice with the same seam allowance.
I turned all the edges inwards by half an inch on the main bodice. I didn’t bother turning them twice to hide raw edges as I would be putting the lining over top and so they wouldn’t be visible anyway (and this made the edges less bulky). I did turn the back edge twice under to create a boning channel at the back to support the eyelets.
I handsewed all these edges down because I didn’t want top-stitching. I went into this cosplay thinking it would be a lot less time consuming than my other historical projects, but turns out I don’t like visible stitching on these either! Silly me.
After all the edges were turned inwards (including the armholes), I moved on to drafting the chemise/blouse looking bit. Originally my plan was to have it simply as an extension of the bodice, stitched onto the bodice itself. This meant that I had to attach before I could sew on the lining, to hide the stitching.
This was made up of the flat section of the shirt and the collar. I then cut these out of plain cotton as a mock up.
My biggest issue was that, while it was pinned, there was not enough tension for it to lay flat and I couldn’t tell if it would work properly out of the lace. So instead I started looking at alternatives. I decided upon making it into a chemisette. They were worn mainly in the 19th century to fill in the neckline and they gave the impression of a blouse. Sounds perfect, right? I just wish I’d thought of it immediately.
So I added two extending panels to the mock-up so that it was longer, ending just about the natural waist. I turned the bottom edge inward twice so it made a channel and then passed some ribbon through to tie in place. And it looked much better!
Now that I was happy with this, I came to the next conundrum. This project has really highlighted a terrible flaw in me. I am awfully indecisive. I don’t want to commit to a decision and I’m always afraid that something else would’ve looked better. It’s something I’ll have to get better at, if only for efficiency’s sake (since I end up putting off deciding and delay projects). I think if I ever get more confident in my sewing, this will get better naturally. Anyway, I had to decided whether I wanted to line the chemisette. The lace was somewhat see-through and originally I thought that would look good – but then I didn’t quite like the contrast that seeing my skin through the lace would give the costume. Instead, I thought lining it would be a nice throwback to Jane’s solid looking bodice.
So I decided to line it.
I cut all the bits from the plain cotton and then the lace. Then I pinned the respective sections of cotton and their lace equivalent, right sides together, and sewed them with a half an inch seam allowance. I pressed the seams open and then trimmed them, as the lace is see-through and you could spot some of the wider ones. I then turned it the right side out and pressed everything again.
Then I sewed the shoulder seams and attached the collar (very fiddly).
I turned the bottom edge inwards twice, creating a channel for ribbon, and added snaps and hooks to the closure at the back. I was very happy with the result!
With the chemisette finished, it was time for the sleeves! I couldn’t sew in the lining without sewing the sleeves in first (the lining was meant to hide all my shame). I got on to drafting. In my quest to never have to draft sleeve patterns from scratch, I decided to just use patterns I had already made. The sleeves are made of three components: the puff sleeve, the straight bottom portion and the cuff.
For the puff sleeve, I dug out the pattern from my Red Velvet dress and slashed it further.
I ended up slashing it a total of five times, adding about 5 extra cms every time. I wanted the pouf! But the first time I only slashed it an extra three times.
Then bottom portion is just a rectangle, of how wide I wanted the sleeve to be and my arm measurement. I then made a cute little mock-up:
I was happy with it, except for a few minor alterations. I wanted more pouf and the bottom portion was a little tight and short. I slashed the pattern again and then cut out my actual fashion fabric and lining portions. Then I flatlined the lining to the outer fabric.
The cuffs were made from a rectangle, interfaced and folded in half.
I have a few things I would’ve done differently. I wouldn’t have interfaced it, as it makes them a bit stiff and uncomfortable. I would’ve sewn them on before sewing up the side seam on the bottom portion of the sleeves (this was just stupid of me). I also sewed them on by hand, which made them not completely flat (would fix by sewing with my machine).
Then I sewed the gathering stitches on the pouf sleeves. Since I suspected the sleeves still weren’t good enough, I decided to add a layer of gathered tulle. I could’ve made sleeve supports (they were a thing) but I didn’t want to further hinder the costume (comfort and practicality were my point with this cosplay!). So instead I sewed two rows of gathering stitches on the lining layer and on the outer fabric layer, on the top portion of the sleeve (the two pieces weren’t basted together in the upper section). Then I gathered them down to the required size and I gathered down a layer of tulle about 7” wide to the same length. Then I sandwiched it between the lining and the outer fabric and sewed the three layers together. I did up the side seam and I had a pouf sleeve!
I also added a layer of gathered tulle in between the outer fabric and the lining of the sleeve. This was just a gathered rectangle of tulle that would help support the puffy sleeves.
Then I attached the cuffs to the bottom portion of the sleeves. The cuffs were cut purposefully of the wrong side of the fabric, because in the original film they look like they’re a lighter colour than the rest of the dress. I assumed this was because it was made to look like the the bodice had full length sleeves that were rolled up (some people have made the cuffs a totally different colour, like white, which also looks good, but I was satisfied with the wrong side of the fabric). I sewed them on by hand, sandwiching the bottom edge between the cuff. Then I pinned the upper section of the bottom sleeve (sorry, I can’t thin of a better way to explain it!) to the pouf sleeve, and sewed them together by machined with a a half an inch seam allowance. Then I did a flat fell seam by hand.
Then I sewed the sleeves with a half an inch seam allowance to the armhole bodice, with a backstitch, by hand.
And since this was all done, I could attach the lining! I turned all the edges under by about half an inch, so that it was blush but not over the edge of the bodice, covering all seams.
That was sewn on with a whip stitch by hand.
Then I put in the eyelets at the back. For now, I’ve gone with brass eyelets. I’m not sure I’ll stitch over them with embroidery thread, I kind of like the antique brass look.
And it was finished! It only needs some snaps here and there, but otherwise it is done. There are a couple of details that are in the bodice area (the extra collar and the cravat) that I will include in another post (probably about accessories).
I did a quick fitting and I was happy with it! The next post will be about the skirt and the overskirt. Thanks for reading!
With MCM London coming up in May, I’d been weighing up my options for cosplays for a few weeks now. I didn’t have anything particular in mind. Cosplaying Merida showed me that, at least for now, I could only really do brunette cosplays as I still haven’t figured out how wigs work. I only used a wig that one time, and yes it was cheap and not great and it squished my brains into oblivion so I’m not sure I’m ready to revisit wigs! So I made my little list of option and eventually decided on making a Jane Porter cosplay.
Jane is from Disney’s film Tarzan and she looks like this:
However, though there are amazing cosplays of this costume, I was more interested in making a more detailed version. In my head and notes, I’ve been calling it ‘Victorian Jane’ – but this makes no sense, really, as there is little Victorian going on in my version. Dating Jane’s costume is hard; it makes little since. There is a bustle going on, but little else that falls within the stereotypical bustle era gowns. So I thought I’d make it clear to state that this was not, in any way, intended as a historically accurate version of Jane. This costume is for cosplay and I just wanted to have fun with it.
With that said, my main inspiration for this costume is this version by the amazing Designer Daddy (he is such a great inspiration in everything):
This was made for Jessica LG and you can see photos of it being worn there! So my ideas rotated around brocade fabric, lace everywhere and as many details as I could cram in. I made a sketch for this and went into planning and fabric shopping.
Fabric shopping was a pain. I couldn’t find anything that I really liked. I didn’t want it to be too gold or it might not be recognisable, and I didn’t want it to be too yellow in case it looked tacky. And I also didn’t want it to be expensive. Eventually I settled on this home decor yellow brocade fabric I found, it was £6.99 p/meter and I bought six meters.
But before getting to work with that, I had to work on foundations! I definitely wanted to keep the bustle look from the film and add the cupcake-look from the version above. I didn’t want a bustle cage because I thought it might be uncomfortable for a busy convention, so instead I made a bustle pad. I used this tutorial by the wonderful Izabella. I did pretty much just follow her instructions so not much to add!
To decide how big I wanted it to be, I simply took a tape measure and held it up to my mannequin’s butt and did a bit of guess work.
After sewing along the gathered lines, you’re also meant to sew one of the shorter sides closed (the other is left open so you can stuff the thing). My suggestion would be to bind the already closed edges at this point if you’ve got a little uncooperative sewing machine like mine. I ended up having to sew the last edge shut and do the whole binding by hand because my machine would not sew the stuffed pad, couldn’t get a right angle between the foot and the machine arm. Or maybe use the bag method if you’re more comfortable with that.
Then I sewed together the open edge through which I had stuffed the pad, and then bound all the seams with bias binding. Then I gathered down a lace ruffle and sewed than on (by hand as well as my machine wouldn’t do anything to the stuffed pad). Then I added two ribbon ties and it was done.
On to the petticoats. And here is where I messed up. While the original skirt could be achieved with a plain gored skirt, like the one in my 1871 Evening Dress but shorter, Designer Daddy’s looked a lot more voluminous and ‘cupcake-like’. I liked this idea. As I am a huge fangirl, I’ve watched some of his live streams on Facebook and realised some of his amazing skirts are achieved with circle skirts – so in my head I instantly assumed this was a circle skirt too. And of course, what would give more volume to a circle skirt? Circle skirt petticoats!
This was also around the time I had determined to try out organdie for petticoats, at the recommendation of Jennifer at Historical Sewing. While organdie is great and I am a huge fan now, IT IS A STUPID CHOICE FOR A CIRCLE SKIRT. I am an idiot. It doesn’t drape! And circle skirts do! This is entirely my mistake and I wish I hadn’t insisted on it and ended up cutting two circle skirts before giving up. But I did – so I was determined not to let it go to waste.
Then I cut it out of organdie, it was positioned so it was a double layer.
The side seams were sewn up, leaving one with a six inch gap. These side seams used the fabric selvage, so I didn’t even have to finish them. Then I used a bit of ribbon as waistband, not sewing the two edges together like recommended. Instead, I simply turned the raw edge inward and sewed the edge down. Then I folded it, so that it created a channel for some more ribbon and it closes in a drawstring manner.
I decided to add a layer of tulle inbetween the circle petticoats in hopes it would help. I added a long two inch wide ruffle at the bottom edge and initially gathered down the top side to fit the waist, but I found this added too much volume on the front. It was about this moment I decided to get a full bustle look, keeping volume away from the front if I could. So instead, I added two darts to the front and pleated the excess at the back, over the bustle.
The silhouette looked like this at the moment:
While it was getting there, it wasn’t quite what I wanted it to be. The organdie doesn’t fold well into the circle skirt shape, so it jolts out at awkward angles. Right about this time, I found this old instagram photo of Designer Daddy, which shows his petticoat:
I was so mad! I over-complicated everything. I just needed to make ruffles! In an effort to salvage my petticoat trials, I decided to add flounces and ruffles to the tulle layer, in hopes that it would life the upper organdie petticoat into submission. And it worked! I added two plain cotton ruffles all the way around the bottom of the tulle petticoat, each 5” wide. Then I added one final 5” organdie ruffle on top of that. The silhouette
was much better and I was satisfied!
With the bustle pad and the two petticoats, the undergarments were completed. As I said in the beginning, there’s nothing really historical about them! I learned a lot from this. I really enjoy building a silhouette and I feel like I learn a lot every time! The skirt is sufficiently poofy for me, while still keeping the flat front and the bustle-y back.