So, finally, although the actual dress is long done, here follows the rest of the account on how spirit tries to make an elven dress.
The first steps for the planning and the underdress were here.
And now I go to sew the coat that goes with it.
Again, the style guide and inspiration was this beauty of a dress here.
Although I am pretty sure I will never pull off something even half as professional
Originally I planned to adapt and use this cut here (the female part, obviously)
It had all the requirements I was going for: a relatively voluminous skirt, a bodice that looks as if it could fit to my not-really-androgynous shape, the general flair and fluff that I was looking for, but fortunately, before I started cutting, I realized about two things:
The cut probably wouldn’t work well with the closing which I had envisaged (which would be for the coat to be closed in front) – both the waistband and the fact that the skirt has a closed front clearly point against that. So, despite having bought that cut explicitly for the dress, I started sifting through my old patterns to find something feasible and finally stumbled upon this top:
Seems ridiculous at first, but if one alters the neckline, uses completely different arms and of course elongates the top to a real skirt, well…
Then it’s a different cut altogether. But bodice and shape, that’s the key, and so I set out to work.
The lining was supposed to be simple dark-white cotton (Ikea Bomull; the weapon of choice for the sewing LARPer…), and the outside a beautiful dark violet velvet.
I worked with the cut where I could and used imagination and guesswork when the cut didn’t get me anywhere.
For the neckline, as a starting point, I simply elongated the shoulder line and then added a higher neck (as can be seen in the picture), which later mostly fell victim to my optimization measures.
Elongating the skirt was an easy thing, simply continuing in a straight line from where the cut ended towards the intended length, continuing the cut in that way by simply adding length and volume (again, see cut picture)
The arms were supposed to be leaf-like half arms, filled with embroidered silk, so that they may open upon movement like some sort of flower and reveal the silk underneath. I didn’t really have an idea on how to do it, but I guessed right: Basically one does two arms per arm, one of which is shaped as it usually would be (“normal”), while the other one is connected there where the seam of the normal arm is, and instead opens at the top
Having cut everything, I set to work and, by way of what seems to be my usual habit, took some time to get the fitting done. First the lining, then the overcoat.
The arms proved to be a challenge. Tip: sew in steps.
I first sewed the upper part of the arms (the normal part, both lining and velvet part) into the overcoat, then added the inverse part, then fixed the lining to the whole assembly. It was a challenge for the sewing machine in the end, but that step-wise procedure made for a cleaner seam (and better fixation) than if I had tried to connect it all in one go.
Now for the eternal question of fixation:
Usually, there’s four ways that I do fixations
- Close fit, so that no additional fixation is needed. Doesn’t work with all dresses, not with all fabrics, and sometimes I mess up. Turned out pretty quickly: The dress is too tight, the fabric too rigid for that.
- Knobs: Can be great for a close fit, but is always a hit-and-miss with me. Sometimes it turns out great, sometimes horrible, and once the holes are done, there’s little one can do to correct. Call me a coward.
- Threads and holes: The classic. Was also my first idea for this dress, although I opted not for holes (tedious in the thick velvet) but for loops. Turns out equally quickly: It looks pretty awful. So, no option
- Eternal fallback option that served me well in the past: Hooks and loops. I always keep a small stack of them, and for whatever reason, I seem to be getting along really well with that technique.
That finally does the trick. Obviously the neckline needs work and the dress is still too long, but the arms are coming along nicely and the shape and fit seems to have worked out quite nicely.
I cleaned that up, and then set to decoration. I had early on decided on using silver-white edging and embroidery in white wool, although I decided on the motive only relatively late.
It finally turned out to be a bird taking flight (It’s supposed to be a wild goose, but I will admit freely it does not come off too well) – character heritage again – and I’m actually quite happy about it.
So, all together, embroidery done, underdress and overcoat, here’s the thing the wind-elf’s new dress:
Overall money spent (overdress only):
Thanks to the relatively expensive fabric probably 150 Euros
Work hours: Again, scrambled bits and pieces everywhere… the fabric was better to manage than the underdress, but there was more to be done, so I would say, same order of magnitude: 20 hours