Hello again! This week I will be showing you how I made my Regency Chihiro dress which will be worn to both The Queen’s Ball: A Bridgerton Experience and Dragoncon!
I began by cutting out my previous bodice pattern out of muslin fabric. With this on the mannequin, I was able to re-position the darts and adjust the neckline. I did this by drawing the new shape on the muslin and tracing it onto a new piece of paper. I also raised the arm hole of the sleeve in order to give myself more movement. Finally, I traced the old puff sleeve pattern onto muslin and adjusted it to fit a bit straighter around the arm, to better mimic Chihiro’s sleeves.
Because I knew the skirt needed to hang overnight, I went ahead and cut out the satin layer of the skirt which was just a long rectangle. I cut lace to match, making sure that there was enough to sew into the waistline. Both pieces were pinned to my mannequin overnight and the next day to make sure they had time to “grow”. “Growing” refers to how the fibers in fabric shift overtime due to gravity. If you cut, attach and hem a skirt without letting it hang for at least 24 hrs, your hem may end up very uneven.
While the skirts were hanging, I cut out my bodice and sleeve pieces. This involved four layers. The outer lace, the middle satin, piping and some cotton lining from my stash. Everything had a ⅝”seam and was pressed after every seam. I used my wooden clapper to make sure all seams were flat and crisp! Once the sleeves were assembled and attached to the bodice, I added a few tiny stitches to make sure the lace stayed in place with the satin. The lace and satin skirt panels were basted together at the top edge. The front center was smooth but from the outer bust darts to the back center, it was gathered. The skirt was then attached to the bodice with a straight stitch and serged.
To finish the dress, I closed the back center of the dress with hook and eye strips. It took several placement adjustments to get everything to line up perfectly. I first attached them to the edge of the opening and then flipped them inwards so the hooks were hidden and that edge overlapped the otherside slightly. With the skirt attached and the bodice properly closed, I was able to hem the bottom of the skirt’s satin layer. I put everything on my mannequin and marked where the satin layer hit right above the edge of the lace scallops. After serging the bottom edge of the skirt, I used a hidden hem stitch to finish it. Finally, I was able to serge the raw edges of the skirt and sew up the back center. The seam extended up until 6” from the waist in order for it to be able to fit over my hips. It was ok that there was a bit of a gap in the center back because I’ll be wearing several layers under the dress as well as a train on top.
Overall I was very happy with how this dress came together! I ended up adding a bit more “give” in the bodice than Bridger-Toph had so I think it will be a more comfortable outfit overall. I leveled up my closure game by tackling the hook and eye strips for the first time and I am officially a big fan of using them! Recently, I found out I got a spot with a photographer I’ve been wanting to work with for a while at Dragoncon! So I’m even more excited to work on the train and accessories next week!