There in fact is one dress, that is made from two dresses, no red dress but for sure a blue dress.
A dress made from satin curtains and an old skirt
I made the first cut on this skirt when I wanted to make a dress for my sister almost 14 years ago. I dug it out of an old box and have decided to finally do something about it.
This isn't really so much an exact step by step precise set of instructions on how to sew a dress or how to do anything really. It's more of a, "This is how I did it having not to much experience with sewing anything besides a straight stitch on basic square pattern quilts ( all of which have been started years ago and have been sitting in the same box as the materials for this dress) also because I watch so much or that I've watched so much project runway hopefully something comes out of it"
Please bare with me on this as it's my first instructable. My picture taking needs a lot of work, as well as remembering to take pictures of each step.
Step 1: Materials
My materials included :
The original Blue Taffeta floor length skirt
Gold satin Curtains
Pen/Paper or Calculator
FOR MAKESHIFT DRESS FORM:
TO MAKE THIS PROJECT BEARABLE:
Netflix-30 Rock/Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt/ParksnRec/Last Man Standing, countless movies and lots of Pandora
TV shows and Movies will require you to randomly quote lines aloud as well as laughing randomly so be careful when holding pins as well as sewing.
Pandora requires random dance breaks and swaying as well.
FOOD FOOD FOOD-You need energy to work, do not skimp on this step. It is absolutely the most important step. Even if it means forgoing your actual project in order to make time. Keep snacks on hand at all times to hold you over in between pizza deliveries and chinese take out.
Step 2: Make the Cut!
First thing I did was measure from the hem of the dress, up to where I wanted the waist to be.
I could have measured from the waist down and kept the neatly hemmed waistband but I wanted a much wider waist to start with so I could add some pleats as I gathered the fabric to make the dress more bouncy.
Instead I went hem up, so that way in the end I didn't have to redo the hem along the bottom. Also hand stitching would have taken forever on already and I am extremely lazy.
Once I measured up 18 inches I chalked it across the entire skirt so as to draw a single line to guide where to cut.
Apparently my laziness began right away as I had somehow ended up with a skirt 10 inches longer then I needed.
However it worked in my favor in the end so all is well.
I then cut along the marked line and saved the top piece to use later for the bodice of the dress.
Step 3: Negotiate Pleats!
This is where you decide you want pleats, but you really have no idea how to do it, so you sit down stare at the fabric for a good while and discuss how the dress it feels about all this pleating.
Your background of 30 Rock casually goes in and out of focus as you negotiate and soon you realized you've just finished the entire first two seasons and your dress is sitting quietly judging you.
To remind the fabric that I was indeed in charge, I got up, walked away and ordered myself a pizza. I believe they call that a power move.
Now that I've settled back down and returned to netflix I decided to fold the fabric. I grabbed both ends and brought them in towards the middle, and marked the edges of the fold with chalk, so this way when unfolded I can see where I should pin once I've completed all my folds.
I just went with the idea of folding it in on itself over and over again until it could fold no more, and I continuously made marks on every edge folded in.
I ended up with a total of 16 marks on the fabric, 8 on each side.
I then took the entire waist length, and divided it by 16.
Step 4: The Set Up!
As you can see from my pictures I have a makeshift dress form that I made surprisingly easy from items I found around the house.
I took a rolled up sleeping bag and tied it up tight. I wrapped the measuring tape around the waist to the desired length I needed and pinned it to the sleeping bag where it fit.
I then wrapped up a bunch of towels and tied them up as well to use for the hip measurements for a second dress I was going to try and make, and used that to rest the sleeping bag on.
I then took the side table used in the living room and a foot stool from my sisters room and tied them together. Placed the towels on top followed by the sleeping bag and boom! A makeshift dress form!
Step 5: Time for the Pin-up
I counted up the chalk markings and took the total amount of markings and divide the total length of the waist by it.
After doing the math it gave me the intervals in which to pin my fabric at.
So 39 inches /16 chalked intervals. The result was 2.437 blahblahblah so I just rounded it to 2.5 inches. And yes, rounding up and making up numbers will inevitably make your project awkward, or disproportionate, but since it's all a trial and error project it's okay.
Does this make sense? It does to me now, but at the time I still wasn't sure what was going on.
I then took a pin and pinned each of the chalked markings to the dress form roughly 2.5 inches apart from each other.
Also! I wrapped my measuring tape around the sleeping bag until it lined up at 39 inches and i pinned it directly to it and used it to easily measure.
In the picture you can see what the ending result is.
Step 6: Back to Negotiating
At this point I spent about a week or so, maybe three (when did this contest first begin again?) just lollypopping around (ParksnRec Reference) doing a lot more eating then sewing, but slowly things began falling into place.
This part of the process was basically how I assume draping works. I watched countless videos on youtube and still had no idea what was going on.
I spent most of the time pressing the fabric into pleats in various ways and angles to see how it would look and what kind of look it would give the skirt.
Tip! Make sure your fabric is ironed out n smooth before working with it. I ignored it because somehow I thought after having watched a season of project runway I was above all of that.
I was not, it is hard to tell how your pleat will look with wrinkles making the bottom stick out in all different directions. Thankfully my roomate had a Hair straightner so I made do with it because at this point I was not unpinning this skirt anytime soon.
At first I decided to just push all the pleats in the same direction. I figured the bottom of the skirt fell pretty nicely so it would work.
Meaning all 16 pleats would be pushed towards the right, all the way around the skirt.
After staring at it for a couple of days I decided to find a center point on the skirt and pleat the two nearest pleats in towards the center. Then go to the next two pleats and push them towards the center as well and so on and so forth all the way around and the pleat in back would form an inverted box pleat where the final two pleats were pushed in a direction away from each other.
Meaning 8 pleats faced the right and 8 pleats faced the left.
I then spent a few more days staring at it. Then decided well hey, why don't I start the front and the back the same way. So when facing the back the pleats are pleated toward the center just like the front and instead the opposing pleats can meet on the sides before they change direction.
Meaning looking at the front of the skirt center point, looking to the right we can see four pleats folded towards the center, and looking to the left we can see four pleats folded towards the center as well. and then where those four pleats end, still looking from the front, the direction changes forming a box pleat.
Then we see on the right side, four pleats folded towards the back center point of the skirt,and on the left side, four pleats folded towards the back center point looking like an exact image of the front.
Here is where I realized after making bad measurements and rounding up randomly and thinking that I could just eyeball everything to keep it even, that I over estimated all of my abilities to make this dress.
But I was already in too deep to give up now.
My side box pleats ended up coming out much larger then I had planned, and the once somewhat evenly pinned fabric was suddenly uneven everywhere.
At this point I figured to take it down and start over would mean having to find a new series to binge watch on netflix and we all know how long that in itself takes, and at this point I would have had to order another pizza.
So I just went with it and stuck pins anywhere and everywhere.
Step 7: Stitch Those Pleats Shut
I thought since I had found where I wanted the waist to be I could simply stitch the pleats up two inches away from the waist and cut off the material above it and use what was left for my seam allowance when I was ready to attach the bodice.
Instead I decided to keep all the extra fabric and sew it all down and use it as a sort of reinforcement in the bodice.
No idea if it would be beneficial or not but hey why not.
I then stitched each pleat from the waistline up to the top of the fabric.
I have no idea what this stitch is called but its what I used to hopefully keep it secure.
I pulled through and crossed over the crease then went back through.
Underneath (where the dotted lines represent) I went downward before poking the needle back through.
Then I crossed over the top of the crease again (Where the solid line is) and pulled the thread down again as I did before and just repeated it all the way up the pleat.
Step 8: While We're at It Lets Add Some Fluff to the Skirt
I took the skirt I made from the satin curtains and shortened it up and repeated the pinning process I did with the Blue skirt but with slightly different measurements and just pinned and pleated in order to form an inner lining for the blue skirt.
Then I just placed to the blue skirt over it and attached it with a back stitch to keep it in place.
Basically it was used to create a crinoline effect.
In the picture you can see the pinning process and what it looks like underneath.
Step 9: Bodice
To create the bodice I used a pin on pinterest to help me out.
Warning, pinterest is full of lies. Nothing is "easy to do" Everything is hard and painful.
This post had me convinced that I could easily make a pattern for a bodice by using tracing paper and an old dress lying around.
Lay the dress flat, lay the tracing paper over it and simply sketch along the seam lines each piece and then cut them out. Straighten up the edges and you are good to go.
I chose a dress with so much fluff and wiring and bubble wrap the paper never laid flat, having bad eyesight as it is and being unable to see through the tracing paper I ended up with a lot of extra lines and seams where there were none.
I in fact do not blame pinterest, I really am the problem as my never ending laziness made it difficult to finish drawing one piece before sitting down to watch Liz lemon try and have it all.
After finagling for a few days, I managed to get 6 pieces cut out of tracing paper and cleaned up to make a somewhat manageable pattern
The middle piece however proved to be very trying.
I ended up having to use math, which in itself made life even more miserable. This means I had to actually use a ruler and brain cells which I was sure at this point had been destroyed.
I basically took measurements from the dress lying in front of me to draft up a pattern piece on the tracing paper.
I found the center on the dress middle bottom bodice piece and worked out from that starting point.
This was hard to do. I would strongly recommend finding an easier dress to trace.
Step 10: Make the Bodice
I then took the leftover fabric from the skirt that I had cut off after keeping the bottom part for the skirt.
There was a loose lining underneath the skirt itself so when cutting out each piece for the bodice I ended up with two pieces of fabric for each pattern piece.
I had originally started another dress as my first project and had make a skirt from some old gold shiny drapes. I then decided to use the left over fabric from that to make a lining for the bodice.
Meaning I cut another set of bodice pieces
I took the skirt lining and the drape fabric and pinned them together and sewed them together as if they were the bodice.
I then took my actual bodice pieces and sewed them together as well, leaving me with two bodices.
After sewing the bodices I flattened each seam away from the center. I actually have no idea if this is right or wrong but either way, it's what was done.
I the placed the blue shiny fabric face down with the seams facing up, and then placed the Golden bodice seam side down and flat side up.
I lined all the seams up so they matched evenly and then pinned it together.
Next I went along the topside and folded the top of the bodice inside so as to form a nice smooth edge hiding both ends of the bodices inside and pinned it shut.
This is where I sewed along the top to make a neat seam.
I left the bottom open for when I was ready to attach the bodice to the dress.
Step 11: Attach the Two Pieces and Hope for the Best!
This was hands down the hardest part.
I had the skirt pinned up along with the new under lining or whatever its called and was ready to add the bodice.
I decided to pull the bottom of the bodice open and slide it so the Shiny blue front bodice slid over the front of the blue skirt and I pulled the gold/blue lined bodice on the inside open so it slid over the inside top of the skirt.
I figured this way the top of the skirt would go high enough into the bodice to reinforce it as well the bodice would go far enough down to secure both the blue and gold skirt inside of it.
I found the front center point of the bodice and stuck a pin right into it once it lined up with the centerpoint of the skirt.
At this point I just kept pulling the bodice taut as I worked my way around the dress form trying to eyeball it and all the way around and I just kept sticking pins in it to hold it in place.
It was difficult working both the inside and outside of the garment, especially on a sleeping bag/towel dress form, but after a lot of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt I got there.
I folded the hem on the bottom of the bodice and it somewhat blended in with the skirt. Once I pinned down the bodice it helped to flatten out the seams of the pleats as well.
Finally after using a total of 250 pins ( I know this because it used my entire box out) it was literally almost able to stand on its own.
I then was able to begin stitching.
I sewed the bodice to the skirt by doing a backstitch through each of the six seams, from top to bottom through the inside lining and through to the outside bodice. I made sure to do this from the very top to the bottom of the bodice so this way the both bodice front and the linnings inside would be sewn to each other as well as sewn to the inside pleated fabric of the skirt as well.
The final stitching I did was to do a tiny back stitch along the waistline just to keep it looking a little neater.
Step 12: Done!
And there you have it! A dress almost started 14 years ago finally finished today!