RSS Feed

Monthly Archives: July 2018

Medieval Princess Dress

I recently made a medieval princess dress that isn’t historically correct (although inspired by 14th century cotehardies), but was fun to make, and a gift for teenage me. When I was in high school I wanted to have a medieval princess dress for prom but had neither the sewing skills to make one or the money to buy one, so this is a fulfillment of a dream! IMG_9966

Yeah, it was a bit breezy that day.IMG_9980

This dress was also a reminder that costuming and sewing is supposed to be fun, even if the details are “wrong.”  This dress has inexpensive polyester velvet, a zipper down the back, shiny jacquard trim, polyester sleeve tippets and a wrap belt made from curtain fabric, an impractical train, and princess seams! To someone concerned about historical accuracy these might be a bunch of no-nos, but this gown, despite all its anachronisms, is something I would have loved and felt pretty in back in high school. This dress is a gift for little former me.IMG_9969

I used Butterick B4827 as my pattern base. I skipped the back eyelet lacing and used an invisible zipper instead. The tippets and belt were drafted by me.  My goal was to machine-sew as much as possible, so the hem, neckline, and cuffs were machine-stitched and then covered with jacquard trim.MJNT1739.JPG

The tippets are T-shaped pieces of fabric sewn together and then turned inside-out to hide the raw edges. The tops of the Ts are then overlapped to make the cuffs.

The hair consists of 2 fake braided buns on a headband:

  1. Cover a headband in fabric matching your hair; I used black velvet.
  2. Make a short braid and cover in a hair net to help control flyaways.
  3. Wire the braid to the headband using gold wire, and insert pearls as you go.
  4. Make 2 long braids and coil each one into a bun shape.
  5. Use bobby pins to secure the bun shape.
  6. Glue pearls to each bun.
  7. Cover each bun with a hair net to control flyaways.
  8. Glue the bun to each end of the headband.

Project materials:

  • 7 yards micro-velvet from Fabric Wholesale Direct: $62.93 (I had some leftover; if you are petite and cut carefully you might be able to get a dress out of 5-6 yards).
  • 1 yard gold jacquard damask 118″ wide from FWD: $10.99
  • 6 yards jacquard trim from eBay: $12.62 (including tax and shipping)
  • Thread, buttons, pearls, wire, etc. from stash: ~$5
  • 2-3 packages of fake braiding hair and headband from stash: ~$10

Total cost: All of the fabric was a gift from my friends at Fabric Wholesale Direct, so my out of pocket cost was about $27.62 (instead of ~$101.54 plus tax and shipping). Thanks FWD!

If you’d like to make a medieval dress of your own, check out this tutorial I made. Happy sewing!EJIY8518

Advertisements

The Lilac Petticoat (Upcyling an Old Bridesmaid’s Dress)

My last project was all about taking a 70s bridesmaid’s dress and giving it new life as a petticoat and bum pad for a late Victorian or Edwardian costume.C18CCFD1-8D0C-4032-9873-C16C3C447BA4

There was so much lace, taffeta, and chiffon that I couldn’t resist. (The striped fabric is a scrap from another project).IMG_0155

I love upcycling and repurposing, but it has to be from something that is modern and mass-produced, really damaged vintage, or ugly and unwearable as-is. I was on the fence about this dress because it’s not entirely bad looking, and there might be someone out there who likes to wear 70s bridesmaid’s dresses. Might be. This is what the dress looked like before. 91758DB7-052D-4B41-8F10-616F530AD3AB

In the end I decided there were enough issues with it that it would be better to repurpose it. The dress had some stains and tears, it was meant for an unusual figure (slim and super tall), and the lace was scratchy. I figured super models who like itchy clothing are hard to come by, so out came the seam ripper. (Can you guess what movie I was watching?)IMG_0130

A list of my modifications:

  • I separated the bodice and skirt and removed the back zipper.
  • I put a new waistband at the top of the skirt and added a hook/eye closure.
  • I hemmed up the bottom of the skirt lining and enclosed a strip of horsehair braid for structure.
  • I removed the bottom flounce of lace because it was too long.
  • To make a bum pad out of the bodice I sewed up the openings, stuffed it using parts of a lumpy pillow I was about to throw out, and added some ribbon ties.

 

There was nearly no cutting, so aside from the loss of a zipper, some lace, and some hooks and eyes, some intrepid fashion archaeologist could conceivably remake this dress in the future.

Note: I don’t condone cutting up nice vintage! Please don’t cut up nice old wedding dresses unless they are really trashed. There are plenty of neglected polyester prom dresses that you can use for your own petticoat project.

This dress was thrifted, and most everything else was leftover from another project, so this cost me about $20-25 total! I don’t think I could have bought all that lace new for that price.