Sunday, June 19, 2011

The Ball Gown Epic - A Journey in Pictures

My OCD cutting-out process
A lovely - and surpisingly easy to understand - Kay Fig bodice pattern
Sami helped me fit the lining to my body, then we cut the fabric from there.  I pieced it on the machine that night.
I was amazed at the difference fitting it to one's corseted form makes.
Back seams and boning channels.

Car-sewing the piping on during my Great Midwest Adventure.

And ever-more piping! Took FOREVER.
Didn't use a pattern for the skirt - Sami showed me how to do respectable knife-pleats.  Per period photos I looked at, I pleated toward the middle-front in the front, box-pleats on the side, then towards the middle-back in the back.  I had pleated one whole side before I realized I had pleated in the wrong direction and had to start over . . .

Wish I had a picture of working on the sleeves. . . It took me a couple tries.  Everything is pinned together in this pic but it was starting to come together!

Spent the day of the SDI ball at Sami's house, frantically finishing eyelets & trim, + attaching the darn thing to the skirt.

When sombody at the ball asked where I "ordered" it, I knew I'd done something right.

Wish I'd had time to add some matching pink trim to the skirt - oh well.  There's always other balls ;-D  An Epic Journey, one wherein I continually surprised myself.  Couldn't have done it without Sami, though!  

Amazing Trim in 3 Easy Steps!

As an addendum to the pics I will soon post of my (FINISHED!) ball gown, I thought I'd take the time to recommend a book: The Complete Photo Guide to Ribbon Crafts. There are literally hundreds of photos and instructions for everything a reenactor (and member of the public) could ever want to do with ribbon: rosettes, flowers, embroidery, trim, etc. etc. etc.

Who knew there were so many ways one could gather a ribbon?  Here's how I did mine:

1. Go find a ribbon ;-) If you're a stitch-nazi freak like me, you'll go find some genuine silk ribbon from a place like Piecemakers in Huntington Beach (but note: silk ribbon does tend to fray around the edges, especially if dragged across 5 states in a purse like mine was.  I'm willing to trade a worn look for historical accuracy's sake, but nobody has to!)

2. Measure ribbon width and mark this amount of inches down the ribbon's length, staggering the marks on each side.  Sew a gathering thread in a zig-zag from mark to mark, wrapping around the ribbon each time to change direction:

3. Pull gather thread and adjust for desired "wave-width!"
Tack onto bodice/skirt/bonnet of your choice!

I promise, a post is coming!

My apologies for being so far-behind in my posting schedule!  Coming-up: the epic of a ball-gown, miniactment planning, and being (quite-randomly) cast in a play!