The Making Of: Yule Ball Bodice

Hello everyone,

In this post, I’ll be breaking down on how I drafted and constructed the bodice of the Yule Ball Dress. Now, this will be a really condensed version because I literally had to make at least half a dozen versions of this top. By the end of I had something to be proud of and lots of tips when I recreate this bodice in the future.

Drafting

I drafted this top in two ways and had to use both to get a very accurate fit. The first technique uses just a dress form. The second technique uses drafting on your own body. First, I used by dress form that was wearing the same bra I would wear with the dress. I used tape at first to get an idea. DSC_0012 I pinned fabric smooth over the tape lines and bra. Finally, I copied the tape marks in marker on the fabric and cut out each triangle piece. This was my unfitted pattern.

Then I pinned fabric onto the torso portion of my dress form and drew on the shape I wanted for the bottom part of the bodice. aka, the part without the triangles. This part of the bodice is really simple. It has a very simple slope upwards under the bust and a small point on the hem that goes into the skirt. You can see both on the reference picture below. This is the shape I ended up using.

The Mockup

When I made a mockup of just my dress form pattern the triangles were so badly fitted that I didn’t even take pictures. They were not lying flat against my chest and looked as if they needed several darts just to look alright. So I decided to use my second method of drafting to make something more accurate.

Drafting….again

So, I had to draft the triangle portion again. This time, I wore the bra and uses double sided tape to securely place mockup fabric on my chest. This looks very weird and is probably something you want to do alone. XD From there, it’s just the same as drafting from a dress form.

The key to drafting this pattern is where you put the smallest triangle. The triangle has to hold most of the breast up, like a bra. So the point of the triangle should go to the apex of the breast. In other words, the nipple. Then you place the other two triangles equally spaced apart until they are at the height you prefer. If you are more full chested you’ll want to extend the end of the top triangle to create a band, like a bra. This will stop any excess fabric and get rid of the need for a side dart.

I ended up blending both the dress form and body drafted pattern to create something that fitted somewhat better than the first. I then cut into the good fabric. Here is my mockup. I needed to take some of the excess fabric from the bottom portion around my torso. But that was fixed by taking it in on the side seams. The wrinkles of extra fabric were further reduced when the bodice is weighted down by the skirt.

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And here are my pattern pieces. The only portion missing is the adjustment to make the band coming from the longest triangle. DSC_0067

Construction

Construction of the bottom portion of the bodice was simple. I just put right sides together and sewed up the side seams. If you’re brave enough for french seams on satin be my guest. XD Your bodice should now look like this:
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For the triangles this would definitely be the time to use some iron on interfacing. Which, I dID NOT DO! And I literally hate myself for it because I think the lack of interfacing is what caused all of my problems with this bodice. But as usual, this was trial and error and I pass my wonderful advice onto you.

The triangles are a little more challenging to sew together. I got some help from googling around on some quilting sites. Turns out that quilting triangles is really difficult and there’s several techniques that help. I’ll link the ones I followed to sew the triangles below:

Tips on position pinning: 
https://www.connectingthreads.com/tutorials/Perfect_Points_and_the_Positioning_Pin__D103.html
If your triangles have a bit of a curve, this seam tutorial might help:
http://www.craftsy.com/blog/2015/02/sewing-curved-seams/
http://www.sew4home.com/tips-resources/sewing-tips-tricks/sewing-smooth-curves-every-time

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Finally, the triangles and torso portion get sewn together with a simple straight stitch. I used iron on hem tape to stick down the raw edges at the top. I didn’t have time to figure out a lining. This tape is literal gold and you can fins something similar here:
http://www.amazon.com/IKEA-IRON-ON-HEMMING-TAPE/dp/B005O9WU9Q

The Zipper

I used an invisible zipper on the center back and used the regular method of inserting it. I then added hooks and eyes to the top of the band. You can see those peaking out in my final photographs.

The Straps

The straps are made from bias tape strips. Basically, you cut a strip three times the width of your strap on the diagonal of your fabric. I made my strips 1.5″ wide and measured the bodice on me to decide the length. To make bias tape you need to iron these strips in a special way. First, you iron the strip in half using a lot of steam. Now, when you unfold it there should be a crease in the fabric. Take each end of the strip and iron it until the edge touches this crease. Finally, you iron the strip in half again.

Now you should have a very thin spaghetti strap.

The Ruffle Sleeves

The ruffle sleeves are drafted, cut and hemmed the same way as the ruffles on the skirt. You want to do all of that. Then you insert the ruffle into the fold of the bias spaghetti strap and sew it in place.

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Adding it All Together

Finally, the last part of the bodice is to hand stitch the sleeves wherever is most comfortable and you’re done.You should now have a bodice that fits well!

Signature.

The Making Of: Yule Ball Skirt pt.2

Hello All 🙂

So this is the final post on making the skirt. It’s taken me a while to get it to you because I haven’t had a laptop. But things should now be running smoothly on my blog. Thank Aule!  In this post we’ll focus on taking the mockup ruffles and skirt pattern and turning it into the real thing.

Cutting the Base Fabric

For the skirt pieces, I folded the blue satin fabric and cut two of each pattern piece. It’s important to use tissue paper when cutting satin so it doesn’t slip around. In total I had 14 pattern pieces for the skirt.

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Cutting the Chiffon Ruffles

For the circle ruffles, each one had to be individually pattern drafted on the actual fabric. I pinned the fabric to my carpeted floor. Using the technique to generate the measurements from the last blog post, I drew two circles. One for the ruffle and one that was to be cut out. I cut out each ruffle. Immediately after cutting out each ruffle, I did I running stitch across the top. This is to make sure the circle ruffles don’t stretch along the bias and lose their shape. (aka pretty important)

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Sewing Base Panels Together

Each panel of the skirt was done in two. So I had to sew the pieces together at the side seams. I used a french seam to tuck all the raw edges in. You should now have 7 fully constructed panels.

Sewing Ruffle and Base Panels Together 

Each ruffle was between two layers of base fabric. I pinned the fabric onto the base fabric where I marked each ruffle would begin. Then I sandwiched all the layers together to be sewed. Pretty simple, but it was time consuming when you got to the wider layer. I sewed each layer carefully with half an inch seam allowance and the skirt was practically done.

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Hemming Ruffles

Each ruffle got hemmed by hand. If you can get your hands on a serger and aren’t intimidated by it like me, then use that. Otherwise, put away at least four days to hem. at least. I wouldn’t suggest doing this hem on your basic sewing machine because rolled hems on chiffon tend to look wonky or too thick. The ruffles need to be as graceful and flow-y as possible for this dress.  I used a certain method that looked exactly like a rolled hem. Basically, you fold the fabric over a little, sew in between the layers in a certain way, then you pull on the thread and the hem rolls up.

I used this YouTube video to learn the technique:

Hemming Skirt 

The skirt was done with a wide hem because I had so much fabric on the bottom. I wanted the option in the future to wear heels when I wasn’t at the con. Be free to make the hem as imperfect as you like as people probably won’t see it through the last layer of chiffon.

And you’re done!

That’s all you should need to do for the skirt.

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next part is the bodice, which took me some time and trial and error. Looking forward to trying to break it down into easily understood parts. ;P

Thanks for reading! Send any questions my way!
xoxo
Samantha

The Making Of: Yule Ball Skirt pt. one

Hello everyone,

I’ve gotten amazing responses from my blue yule ball dress so I though it was about time that I broke down how I made it. I have some detailed pictures, but I was in a little bit of a rush (I had to re-do almost all of it 2 days before the con!), I will have to explain some things with just text. But I got high English marks, so there should be no problems. 😉

Today I’ll get into the skirt, mostly dealing with the drafting and mockup process.


 Skirt Drafting pt. 1  

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Now Hermione’s skirt is a flared a line. At least from what I can see, the shape is a bit lost because of the ruffles. It is also separated by a center front seam and horizontal seams for attaching the ruffles. Drafting this skirt as the easiest portion of the entire cosplay.

I used my dress form. I hung panels of fabric that fit the waist and flared on the bottom until the floor. In most reference images I looked at there were about 8-10 ruffles on the skirt. I made 8 mockup ruffles that were 11″ in length and at different widths to fit around half of the skirt. I placed these ruffles where they looked best.

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Drafting the Ruffles 

All of the ruffles on this skirt were circular ruffles. To those who don’t know circular ruffles are literally circles that you cut open and place where you like them. They add more subtle and graceful ruffles than gathering everything. They require a little math, but it’s really easy.

I did all of my math by hand. But I definitely would use this website if I knew about it before. Basically the waist size is the length of where the ruffle will go. The Hem length and Seam allowance is the length of the ruffle plus whatever seam allowance you want.
Then the website will calculate your radius (the purple line). The yellow measurement is the inner circle aka, the part you cut away. The green measurement is your ruffle.

http://circleskirtpattern.com/

Then you can draw your circle on your fabric, like I did here:

measurement lines

The pink lines are where you cut to open up the ruffle:

cutting lines for circle ruffles

For my mockup I did ruffles for one side of the skirt. One thing to remember, when you do them for both sides of the skirt, the ruffle will be less dense.

I spent sometime playing around with where the ruffles will go.

As you can see from the reference images, the first ruffle is where the bodice meets the skirt. So it goes straight across the waist. The ruffle is shorter in the front and longer in the back. Finally, this ruffle doesn’t go all around the skirt. It starts and ends about 4 inches from the center front line on my body frame.

All the ruffles below that descend the side of the skirt diagonally from the center front.

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The trick to making this skirt look like the original is to make the space between the ruffle slowly become less. For instance, in the first panel there’s a 4 inch space on each side of the center front line. By the end of the skirt, there’s only a half inch space on each front of the center front line. It’s shows obviously in the pictures of the original and my version.
The red marks on the mockup show where the ruffles begin. 

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I trimmed the ruffles to give each layer a different length. Then, I took the ruffles off and the skirt off of the dress form. I cut each pattern piece a part and  put it to paper and made all of the lines clean. Finally, I added an inch hem allowance to the bottom and half and inch around every single piece. I did not make pattern pieces for the ruffles.
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Then I made my mockup without the ruffles to check the skirt fit.

Skirt Base Mockup 

The mockup went brilliantly. I used some spare lining fabric, so I had to mix up the colours. This was originally going to be a lining for the skirt, but I didn’t have time before the con to put it in.

The only adjustment I had to make was reduce the waist measurement by a couple of inches which was easy to adjust in the first panel.

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That’s basically all I did to draft the skirt. The construction is very easy if a bit time consuming, which is what I’ll be talking about next. If you have any questions, please ask! I’d love to help. 🙂


The Making of: Yule Ball Dress, The Fabrics

Let’s be honest. The fabric choices someone makes for the yule ball dress can make or break the cosplay. If you don’t have the right type of fabric or the right colour for even one of the panels, everything else will look off. I was lucky. Purely because I was doing the blue version, so I didn’t have to focus on colour matching screenshots. If you also do this cosplay in blue, first, SHOW ME, second, don’t be pressured to match manip or other cosplay colours. Go with what you have and make sure the fabrics match each other. Below are the fabric choices I made and some advice for your own.

Base Fabric

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Blue Polyester Bridal Satin, 4m, Fabricland
This basically made up the entire dress. But you can only really see it in the bodice and the front of the skirt.
This fabric was perhaps the least smart decision i made for this cosplay. For one, I had to use the wrong side of the fabric because the right side was too shiny and looked cheap. Two, this wasn’t the best quality material but I couldn’t find any better in the right colour. So it was prone to fraying. A lot. It also showed seams very badly. Luckily matching thread is a blessing. Even though there was a lot of negatives and I don’t see this fabric lasting too long, the colour was spot on.

Ruffle Fabrics 

Chiffon
For the ruffle fabrics make sure you get either chiffon or voile. They are very similar. Except voile is a home decor fabric and comes in crazy widths. So you don’t have to buy as much. If you can find the right colours in voile then go for it. The most important aspects of the ruffle fabric is that it’s a lightweight, see through fabric that flows very well. When you make your circular ruffles it shouldn’t be too dense, rather a slight ruffle to the fabric.

Baby Blue Chiffon, 3m (60″ wide), King Textiles

There was barely enough of this fabric. I am so happy it worked out. Anyway, the lightest chiffon makes up the top 3 layers of the dress and two sleeves. So get more than 3m. XD. It was important to me to get a very light, almost white blue so that I didn’t have to choose very dark colours to match the rest.

Medium Blue Chiffon, 3m (45″), Queen Textiles 

This fabric made up 2 ruffles of the skirt. I made a third but ended up not using it. It’s important to have this shade of blue be in the same colour temperature as the first. Aka, don’t try and match pastels and jewels.

Royal Blue Chiffon,2m (60″), Queen Textiles

This fabric made up the last 2 ruffles of the skirt and the bow. I wish I got a tad bit more of this fabric as I had a hard time fitting the ruffles and had to use scraps for the bow.

The most important part of buying fabric for the yule ball dress whether blue or pink, is to make sure all the colours blend. Get fabrics within the same family. Get fabrics that are only  a couple shades darker than the one previous. Finally, choose one fabric and match the rest to that one colour. Always shop in good lighting and bring fabric samples. Trust me. XP. 

FanExpo 2015 Cosplays and Projects on Hold

Hey!

So FanExpo is gonna be here in like a month and I’ve finally (FINALLY) picked which cosplays I’m going to be doing, time permitting of course. They are listed below in order of priority and preference.

  1. Hermione Granger Yule Ball  (Harry Potter)
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  2. America Chavaz (Young Avengers)
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  3. Guinevere – Maid (Merlin BBC)
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    So my corset project is on hold for at least the rest of the month. I’ve already started working on the Hermione cosplay and once I have more than muslin pattern pieces I’ll make sure to share. 🙂

Started from a Historical Pattern, Now We’re Here….

Hello everyone!

For the last couple months, I’ve been following a ton of corset blogs on tumblr. It totally convinced me that I need to start waist training. I decided on starting out with a over bust pattern and modifying it to suit my needs.

I started out with Corsets and Crinolines by Nora Waugh. This book is literally the holy grail of corset patterns.

I choose to use the late 1880s pattern, since this is my favourite era to costume for.

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I decided to alter the pattern because I prefer underbusts more and they seem less complicated to make for a beginner in corsetry, like myself.

I found a enlarged version online and printed it out. I then measured everything.

My personal measurements are:

Bust: 35″

Actual Waist: 28″

Intended Waist: 24″

Upper Hip: 35″

I changed the pattern to fit these measurements and this was the end result:

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. I made up a quick mock up and tried it on.

Then I decided on what alterations I wanted.

I have really sensitive hip bones, so I wanted the bottom edge of the corset to cover my lower belly, rise over my hip bones and then dip back down to my lower back. I drew that in to different ways on the mock up with chalk.

I also wanted a high back and a nice curved top edge. So I drew that on the mock up with chalk.

I made sure that all of my lines where smooth and gradual. I knew I was going to be wearing this quite often under modern clothes and the smooth lines help it to stay hidden.

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After trimming away the excess fabric, I decided to add another inch on the bottom hem and take in the hip measurement by .5″ because the panels were not lying flat. I added seam allowances and these were my final pattern pieces:

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So far I’m pleased with my work. Though I was hoping there would be less math involved. I can’t wait to start actually constructing the corset though. Fingers crossed that it fits!

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Hobbit Cosplay > The Bodice > Construction

Pattern  For those who don’t know, I used a pattern as the base of my bodice pattern. Now this was the first time I’ve ever used a commercial pattern. Normally, I just draft a pattern to my measurements on paper. But for this project I wanted a very specific shape. That, and the pattern was on sale for $2. Turns out though, when working with a commercial pattern I had to make more mockups and make more alterations. So from now on, I think I’ll go with reference images and paper drafting. This is the pattern I began with for my bodice: 1940ca2dc4052f478baba9be13b1dfa0

I made the bodice without any tabs or flounces on the waist.

Pattern Alterations  One of the first alterations I did was change the lace closure from the front to the back. This of course didn’t go as smoothly as I thought. During the first mock up I cut the entire front as one piece on the fold. That caused the fabric to gap in the neckline, which forced me to cut the front into 2 pieces, with a seam down the center front. Secondly, I shortened the arm straps. This I just knew to do because of past pattern drafting. I have really weird shoulders. No matter what pattern is put in front of me, the arm straps are always too long or too wide. .

Construction The Bodice has 3 layers. One being the outside/fashion fabric. The second and third are a linen lining and interfacing quilted together. I used the altered pattern and sewed all three layers together, treating them as one. I then made a front panel to hide the front center seam, and added piping to add visual interest.

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After some thinking, I scraped the matching red piping and the panel. I thought it looked far too “costume-y” and cheap. I decided to leave the center front seam alone since it did not look too noticeable.

Piping 

I bought a contrasting olive green fabric that had some shimmer. Then, I made piping out of a quarter of an inch piping cord. This was my first time making piping and it went smoothly and quickly.

Here’s the tutorial I followed:
http://www.makeit-loveit.com/2012/01/sewing-tips-how-to-make-use-piping.html

I attached the piping along the bottom hem, the armholes and the neckline. I added some visual interest by cutting an oval neckline.

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Sleeves and Modesty Panel 

The sleeves and modesty panel attached to the neckline were made from pillow case fabric. I tea dyed this fabric for a long time since it was made of some polyester. So I’m happy that the colour stuck.

I drafted my own gathered sleeve pattern from a normal sleeve pattern block.

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They were simple to construct. Elastic was attached to the edge and the raw edge was left after zigzaging. They were then attached to the bodice.

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The modesty panel was a last minute addition because I cut the neckline too low. It’s just a square with one end gathered with a tea dyed shoelace. It attached to the bodice just at the straps with a few hand stitches.

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Lacing

The back of the bodice closes with green eyelets and red braided lacing.

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Things I wish I could change

Looking back at the photo shoot pictures, I wish I boned the bodice to prevent wrinkling. I never saw any wrinkles while fitting, but with some action, the fabric wrinkled quite a bit. Nothing to be done about it now, but at least I know for next time. 🙂

Hobbit Cosplay > The Skirt > Construction

I think skirts are the easiest thing someone could sew. It doesn’t have any pesky sleeves or weirdly placed darts. Even better, more often than not, you don’t need a complicated pattern.

So for my hobbit cosplay, I chose to do a simple gathered skirt. It would provide a nice flair, make my waist look smaller and it would accommodate the petticoat underneath.

Cutting 

I started with my 45″ fabric and I didn’t change the width at all.

Skirt Diagram

I measured 32″ down from the selvage edge. This was my desired length, 30″, plus 1″ for hem and 1″ for attaching the waistband.

When I cut, I had one panel of my skirt, I then simply laid that piece on the rest of my fabric and cut a second piece.

Gathering

Now that I had the two panels, I needed to attach them together and gather them. So I sewed both panels on one side using 5/8 inch seam allowence. Then I used cord to gathered the now joined panels.

If you’re curious, I used this method:

http://thefamilyhomestead.com/gatherfabrictutorial.htm

Since I couldn’t move forward without a waistband I made a waistband that was 4.5 inches thick and 29 inches long. I came to this measure measurements like this:

Waistband Diagram

Desired Width: 2 inches x 2 + 0.5″ for seam allowance

= 4.5 inches wide

Desired Length: 27 inches + 1 inch of seam allowance + 1 inch for ease

=29 inches long

Then I pinned the gathers at the center of the waistband and the two end points. Pulling on the string, I made sure that the gathers were even and pinned all the way down the waistband.

Now, I just pinned right sides together and sewed with my seam allowance, attaching the waistband. Now I could pull the string all the way out and my gathered were secure. The zigzag stitching from before was hidden, but if it wasn’t, I would use a seam ripper to remove the stitches.

Closure

I didn’t want to use a zipper for a closure. One because I hate zippers, two because it would look out of places and three, I wanted to challenge my creativity.

So I used snaps and a tie I added to the waistband. It was pretty simple. I sewed up the side seam until about 8 inches to the top. Then I handsewed the snaps up until the waistband.

I made a tie just as long as the waistband, but only 1″ in width and threaded it through waistband. And that was it.

The skirt closes with a few snaps and a knot.

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Final Touches

The last things to do is to hem up the skirt and trying it on.

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Comic Con 2015

Hey Everyone. Well, this blog has been silent for a while. I’ve been busy creating and sewing.

But I wanted to share some of my pictures from Comic Con 2015. I had one free complementary day from my FanExpo Pass. So it was great just to spend one relxing day at a con. Without having to stress about cosplay or lining up for really crowded panels. If FanExpo’s crowds drive you insane, I would totally recommend going to Comic Con instead. Everyone was much more pleasant.

I did go to a armor making panel, but I was seated to fr in the back to get good pics. Sorry about that.

Here are some of my favs. The rest of the album you can see by following the flickr link.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/132089606@N03/sets/72157651105329909/

Enjoy!

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Look! It’s me in a corset!

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