Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Simplicity Pattern # 3782, View B


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Pattern #3782 is described as an "Elizabethan Costume". I used View B of this pattern to make the "Snow White" costume for the Desert Pointe Production of Into the Woods. The envelope I used had sizes 14, 16, 18 & 20. I used a combination of sizes 16, 18 and 20 for the bodice, size 18 for the sleeve, and 18 & 20 for the skirt. Most patterns will have all sizes on one pattern piece and you just fold to the line you want. For the bodice, this pattern had separate pieces for each size. I cut out size 20 because you can always remove fabric later, but it is tricky to add fabric back in. ;)
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The Head Honcho of Desert Pointe brought me the material and pattern for this dress. I this gold fabric as my main piece because it was the most abundant fabric. A red velvet was used for accents.
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The bodice was made of three fabric layers: 1) The gold outer fabric; 2) A light brown broadcloth lining, and 3) A medium-weight canvas.
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The corresponding lining and canvas bodice pieces were basted together along all sides except the bottom edge. Then I sewed several long tubes onto the canvas/lining piece. Into these tubes I inserted 1/2 inch featherweight boning. The pattern instructions suggested doing one piece of boning at a time so you don't mix up sizes. It was good advice! The way I "measured" the boning was to shove the entire length into the tube, mark the bottom with my thumb, pull the piece back out, and cut where my thumb was. Before I put the piece back into the fabric I rounded the edges on the top and bottom of the boning piece. I certainly don't want Snow White to get any sharp pokes!
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The pattern called for five pieces of boning in the back of the bodice, two on each side, and five in the front. It is a very sculptured bodice. Haha! Luckily, the boning had some flexibility to it, so Snow White could still breathe. ;)
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Once the boning was inserted into each tube, I basted along the bottom of each piece to enclose the boning. Then I placed each canvas/lining-bodice-piece canvas side down on the wrong side of each gold-material-bodice-piece. I basted around all edges of these sandwiched pieces. The result was wonderful! The canvas added a stiffness to the bodice that greatly complimented the boning. With the lining turned outward, the garment will be comfortable to wear. And since the boning is enclosed in the canvas & lining it does not show at all in the finished product.
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At this point I hand-basted each bodice piece to the other. After the sizing mishap making the Steward's costume, I wasn't leaving anything to chance. I had Snow White come in-person to try on my basted bodice. I'm so glad that I did! The tummy fit just fine, but the bust and shoulders were a tad too large. Since I had only hand-basted, I just had to pull a few threads and Voila! Ready to trim and sew. I really do not like ripping seams sewn in with machines. It takes forever!
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I didn't remove the hand-basting from the seams that fit perfectly. I just machine-sewed right over them. :) I should have taken a picture of Snow White in just the bodice. It looked like a sparkly, gold vest. She looked so cute in it!
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Oh well. I did take a picture when she came back a few days later. By that point I had the bodice completely machine sewed and the sleeves attached. I had also added the accent fabric to the collar of the bodice and the enclosures.
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A close-up picture of the collar accent. Pop A Collar Y'all!!!
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To close the bodice in the front, the pattern called for hook-and-eye tape. My local JoAnn's didn't carry any. So I made my own. I searched online for some examples and found a good tip when making heavy costumes. They suggested, instead of hooks on one side and eyes on the other, alternating hook and eye on each side. The result, they claimed, was a stronger enclosure with less chance of popping open. And let's face it, girls' tops do pop open every so often when wearing fitted clothing. (One of the joys of having feminine parts.)
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The pattern required 1/2 inch heavy duty tape with one inch spacing. I purchased 1/2 inch twill tape. Doubled it up to make it more durable and marked one inch intervals. I figured that it's facing inside so the markings were okay to make. Plus, they helped immensely with the sewing. After marking the intervals I got out my trusty needle & thread and got to work. That's right! I hand-sewed each hook and eye into place. Eleven sets bound tightly in.
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Once the tape was made, the next step was to sew it into the bodice. I was able to machine stitch one side in. The other side required hand-sewing. My mom told me later that she knows how to make hook-and-eye tape on her sewing machine and can do it in mere minutes. I did my best not to give her any dirty looks. ;)
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The sleeves were fun to make. First I basted the wrong sides of the lining pieces to the wrong side of the gold pieces. Then sewed those together with a beautiful piping in the seam. The piping was a lot easier to sew in than I thought it would be...thank goodness!
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At the end of the sleeve was a ruffle in the accent fabric. The velvet did not fold. It rolled. So I rolled up the ends to hem it in place. I then gathered the top using a hand-stitch and machine stitched the ruffle to the sleeve.
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The sleeve was open three inches at the bottom, plus the ruffle. This will enable Snow White to fit her hand into the sleeve. Just like any long-sleeved shirt. To close this, I sewed matching ribbon lengths that had been hemmed at the ends to avoid fraying on either side of the opening. I then tied the ribbons into bows. I am so proud of the finished sleeves! I've never made sleeves like this before and I love how they turned out. :)
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Next up was to the skirt. I was so nervous about attaching the skirt. I just could not figure out how everything was supposed to fit together and still allow Snow White to be able to put on the costume. There was no way that the bodice allowed enough room for her hips or shoulders to fit through. And the pattern made no mention of zippers. I read through the pattern multiple times tyring to figure it out. I then searched online for any tips that other sewers could offer me. However, everyone else who's made this pattern made View A and that was no help to me at all. Grr.
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I kept plugging away making the dress and it wasn't until near the end that it dawned on me how the dress was to be worn. View B isn't so much a dress as it is a Trench Coat! It doesn't close at all!! Except at the bodice. Hence the need for the underskirt. Duh!!! I tell you, I felt so dumb after figuring that out. I had to go buy myself a fish taco and some ice cream to feel better. No joke. :(
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The skirt has giant pleats and lots of gathering in it. There are at least three yards of fabric in the skirt alone; all gathered in to a 35 inch waist. I followed the pattern guidelines to get the pleats in the right spots. The pleats took up most of the front.
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And then the gathers began...
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I hand-sewed the material to gather it up. I tried to use my machine, but this fabric did not want to co-operate. I did use the machine to attach the gathered skirt to the bodice. Because the skirt is so heavy, I used two rows of lines and a zigzag to bind it to the bodice.
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I hemmed the bodice by turning it under a quarter inch twice-to bind the raw edges in. Then I used a blind hem stitch to bring the hem up to Snow White's height.
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At this point the dress was complete except for embellishments. The pattern called for buttons down the bodice front, but I couldn't find any I liked. And truthfully, the garment looks better without them. I did find beautiful a 1/2 inch cranberry colored Gimp trim. The Gimp had to be hand-sewn in. But, whatever. I'm a master at hand-sewing!! ;)
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I played around with the Gimp to see how I liked it best. I ended up lining the bottom of the bodice all around the waist and both sides of the front opening. The result was gorgeous! The cranberry color looks simply divine next to the gold. That's probably just the Sun Devil in me talking. ;)
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Front View of the completed dress...
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Back View of the completed dress...
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With the dress/coat completed, it was time to make the underskirt. In accordance with the pattern instructions, I used the red velvet accent color for the "front" of the skirt. And then the deviations started...
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The pattern wanted me to use felt for the "lining" portions of the skirt. I opted to use the light brown broadcloth. This is Arizona. Cotton rules here.
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Next deviation, the pattern wanted the skirt top finished with 7/8 inch wide ribbon cut to the exact size of the waist. The waist would then be closed using a skirt hook and eye. Well, I'm making a costume that will hopefully be used again. So I wanted some flexibility available on the size of the skirt. My solution...
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Quilt Binding!!!
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The binding worked great! The ribbon would have only enclosed the outside of the skirt. The quilt binding enclosed both sides, which is good for the comfort factor. I cut the binding long enough to loop around the waist twice. It makes for a cute bow and give flexibility to how tight or loose you want to wear the skirt.
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I wanted the binding to be durable and look nice. I used three straight lines. It turned out to be a cute embellishment.
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Before showing the finished product, I have to include a picture of my sewing buddies. Both of my boys have shown a keen interest in sewing. Both insisted on helping me anytime they caught me sewing. Joe helped by pining, ironing, and giving opinions on how things were progressing. BabyCakes "helped" by sticking pins into every piece of fabric he could find. No worries though. I double and triple checked each garment for pins before I handed them over to the Head Honcho.
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And now for the completed project. This picture is Snow White backstage on their second night. (She wore a black wig for the play.) She looks great!
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But it could have been better...
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I say that because I now think I should have made a bum roll to accompany this dress. The pattern called for one and I had the materials to make it, but the Head Honcho had a fluffy slip for Snow White to wear. Never having made this type of dress before, I didn't realize the difference the bum roll would have made versus a fluffy slip. I thought the slip would be fine. Mmmm. Not so much.
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Fluffy slips make dresses poofy at the bottom of the skirt. This dress needed to pop and fluff at the top of the skirt. It would have framed Snow White's waist so much better!! As it is, she doesn't look like she has too many curves, and Elizabethan dresses are ALL about the curves. *sigh*
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Oh well. The important thing is that Snow White liked it and looked nice for the show. And she really did look nice!!! But next time I make this type of dress, I am definitely making a bum roll! That's Right! I want to make those hips POP OUT!! Because we all know, super-wide hips are all the rage. ;)

4 comments:

Celina said...

Thank you so much for posting this. I'm a beginner and I have been looking for some type of guidance because I'm going to use this pattern to make a "dress jacket" for my Queen of Hearts Gown costume for Halloween and I've been so confused about how to do the bodice section. Was I suppose to make a sandwiches with the outer fabric, canvas and lining? Or was I suppose to do it differently? I looked everywhere for these answers and nothing. So again THANK YOU! and the Snow White gown is ABSOLUTELY BEAUTIFUL!

skippy said...

I am making this for my wife for Ren Faire is the collar that difficult. I seem to be having a problem with it.
Thanks

skippy said...

having a time putting the collar in and how did you handle the inside seams since it isn't lined like I am use to lining something
Thanks

skippy said...

having a heck of a time with this pattern did you find it hard to understand the instructions for bodice B