Meiko Camellia for Anime-Zap! – dress and petticoat

Do you ever have one of those just horrible sewing days?  Where everything goes wrong, nothing turns out like it should, and you just feel like giving up?  Well, I had a grand one of those today.

So, I finished the red petticoat yesterday, as planned – yes!  It went pretty well, too.  These big fluffy skirts were actually a lot of fun to make, despite the hours of labor in involved – maybe because I could the results of my work as I went along.  With each tier of ruffles, they got bigger, fluffier, poofier!

For the red skirt, which has a sort of high-low hem, I knew I didn’t want a circle skirt.  I began with a tube of fabric which I then cut into the shape that I wanted.  It wasn’t quite big enough, though, so I added a gore in the back for some volume.

Then I began adding the tulle.  I made an attempt at math, and failed again.  So, it was back to guesstimating.  I’ve done enough of it to be pretty good at it by now ;D

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Here’s the first layer of tulle around the hem.  Not even remotely fluffy yet.

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Eight layers of tulle.  Starting to get pretty fluffy!

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Fourteen layers!  So fluff!  I was just kind of making it up as I went along, but I had a general idea of where I wanted the layers to go.  There are two that go all the way around the hem, then ten short layers across the back inside of the skirt, and two more layers around the hem at the top.

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Here you can see the shape of it.  It needs a little tweaking because the tulle has a tendency to go off in whatever direction it likes, but it’s what I was looking for.

As well as things went with the petticoat yesterday, they went totally the opposite with the dress today.  I just couldn’t do a thing right.  I was determined to bully through it, though, and I spent about 8 solid hours on it today, and it is finished.  But it could be better.

I wasn’t taking a lot of pictures today, but I do have a few.  (Really, three.)

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Some late-night pattern drafting last night.

I ran to the fabric store this morning and grabbed a bunch of white peach skin, which is what I particularly wanted for these costumes.  I really loathe satin almost all of the time, and my other choice for the image I had in my head of this dress would have been silk taffeta or dupioni, if budget allowed.  Peach skin was my first choice, though, and luckily there was just enough on the bolt.

I cut out my pattern pieces, started on the sewing… and immediately started making mistakes.  sewing pieces together backwards, sewing the wrong pieces together, sewing my lining to my fashion fabric.  The pattern is basically a halter top that zips up the back, and it took me about an hour to assemble eight pieces.  Then, because I cut my pattern too shallow in the underarm and too short in the back, I had to go back and add pieces to make it larger.  Ugh!  So the dress top is kind of a pieced-together mess, but once the black vest is on, you won’t be able to see any of it.  Still, I know that it’s there, and it irks me.

The skirt went easier, although I overestimated how thick the peach skin would be – it’s fairly see-through even with a (albeit white) lining.  So instead of an unlined skirt, as I planned, I cut two of each panel and lined the skirt with peach skin.  I can always run back to the store for more fabric if I’m short on the other dress I have to make, but I pieced it out and I should have just enough.  So there’s one thing that went right.

I stitched a length of horsehair into the skirt hem to give it some weight and shape.  When it’s actually on top of the red underskirt, it floats up a little bit, so I may add snaps or something to hold it down.  I don’t want to attach the skirt to the underskirt because they’re two separate pieces, but now that I think about it, it could be done super easily.  So maybe I will.

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The scalloped neckline gave me some food for thought.  In retrospect, I made it more complicated than it probably had to be.  I cut eight scalloped pieces to make four double-sided pieces, two for each half of the neckline.  The halter neck closes in the back with hooks.  I did a sloppy job with the whole neckline and I was getting frustrated by then.  But it was close to being done, so I charged ahead.

I attached the top and skirt at the waist, and then put in an invisible zipper – backwards the first time, and the second time the waist was out of line by an inch and a half.  But the third time’s the charm, right?  After that, it was just a matter of tacking the lining down on the inside to finish the dress.

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Like always, it fits the dress form not quite as well as it fits me.  It doesn’t ride up quite so high in the neckline.

I do have some red tulle left, probably just about enough for one more tier of ruffles, so I’m going to add another one to the outer edge of the underskirt.  That will fill in some of that gap between the white and red skirts.  Also, more ruffles!

I’m really happy with the petticoat, but the white dress isn’t one of my better costuming efforts.  With the black vest, though (which I’d like to tackle tomorrow as well as the other white dress) to hide some of the flaws, I’ll have to be happy with it.

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