Archive for October 22nd, 2008

The skirt is officially finished. Here are the bows I added. I inserted fringe in the end hems.

Location of the bows.

And here is the bodice front, just pinned. It is still unlined and unfitted, so the edges are rough. I will close the front with metal snaps and add faked buttons going down the center. I allowed the neckline to plunge a little, because hey, it is Halloween. I may add some lace or pleating to the top or around the collar.

Unlined, unfitted bodice. The front panels are pinned.

After working on this project for a while, I am starting to grow dissatisfied with little details, even though they are certainly acceptable. I guess that mean’s its time to stop soon or else risk undoing perfectly good work. Rationally, I understand the gown is good enough, and I am exercising some discipline to avoid being self-critical.


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Rochester is cold, wet, and sometimes snowy. My costume has been benefiting from the inclemency in the weather.

The sleeves are pinned on the bodice.

The sleeves are pinned on the bodice.

She (the gown) is starting to look beautiful. I hand sewed the pleating on the sleeves. They are partially lined in red silk. The upper portion is lined in black muslin. Here they are pinned on the dress. The sleeves are lined, but the bodice is not so the lower hem is still rough and unfinished.

A prior plan was to attach ~13 pleated semi-circles to the hem of the skirt. To make each, I sewed two circles, 11 inches in diameter. I made a radial cut, then folded and ironed them to make a half circle. I made two of these before abandoning the project, after realizing that I liked the hem better without them. The plan now is to sew my two half circles together and re-pleat and iron them. I will attach them to the peplum of the bodice. I may as well, since they are already sewn. I have my two semi-circles lying on the peplum in the picture to show what they will look like.

I made all of the trims myself, except of course the fringe. All pleating and so forth is made of the original red silk or the black velvet so that the design is consistent and homogeneous. The original design of the gown was to present the bustle as a beautiful, provocative and feminine silhouette, not campy or overdone with lace and silly bows. I am afraid that many who make costumes for the bustle can have a tendency to go too much in one extreme or the other: overly ‘immature’ goth with little regard for the original aesthetics or frilly, fussy, and covered in polyester dinky trims picked up at Joann’s and applied without any regard for design or homogeneity. They miss the point entirely. The trim serves the design and not the other way around.

I am at the point where very little is left of the red silk, and what is left is in very small pieces, so the decoration needs to end due to lack of resources. I had hoped to have enough to do another row of pleating on the sleeves, but are fine as they are and I want to work on a hat.

The front will be presentable after I do a final fitting tonight, then line it, so stay tuned.

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