Pendragon Desree Dress – Part 2

Boning, boning, boning. As far as I’m concerned, it’s not a real bodice unless you’ve got some boning in there, especially if you have a sizable bust like I do.

I used two types of boning: 1/4 inch white featherlite in casing and 1/2 inch black featherlite without casing. These weren’t purchased specifically for this project, they just happened to be lying around in one of my storage drawers. I need the most support in front and on the sides, so I used a double layer of the 1/2 inch in those places. The 1/4 inch I used along the front side seams and back side seams.

I sized each boning piece by laying it alongside the seam that will contain it, and then I cut it approx 3/4 inches shorter than the seam length. I then trimmed/rounded the ends and put boning caps on.

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Then I slipped the boning inside the seam allowance and sewed it shut. Normally you’re supposed to sew seam allowances open and flat for a smoother finish, but with thick multilayered bodices these boning pieces won’t really bulge out so it’s OK.

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After affixing the boning, I then sewed the lining to the outer layer (right sides together), turned it right sides out, pinned the shoulders, and put it on to see the fit:

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Not bad, though the shoulders seemed to be sloping upwards from inside seam to outside seam, so I adjusted it when I sewed it to account for my shoulders which slope slightly downwards instead of upwards.

Here’s the finished bodice (still open along the bottom so I can sew it to the skirt) pinned to the skirt. (The skirt was pretty easy: just sew the two layers with right sides together along the two sides and the bottom, then turn right sides out.)

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Here are a few side-by-side comparison pics with me wearing a peasant blouse (that I did not make) and a red circle skirt (that I did make):



All that’s left now is to sew the underskirt (gotta decide on elastic or drawstring) and then sew the bodice to the overskirt, and then add the grommets. No sweat!


Pendragon Desree Dress – Part 1

I went to the LA Renaissance Faire two weekends ago and while I was there I took the time to browse the costume stalls, as I usually do. The fanciest and priciest outfits belong to a vendor called Pendragon Costumes. I’ve been looking for a relatively easy costume for a while, and I noticed a particular outfit called the Desree Dress that looked pretty simple:

It’s basically a bodice sewn to an open front skirt with an underskirt. How hard could that be? I noticed theirs had no lining and boning only alongside the front grommets. That’s ok, I’m not so bad at doing lined bodices and adding boning to seam allowances.

I started with Butterick 5757 for the skirt, which I’ve worked with 3 times thus far with great results, allowing for an extra 6 inches of width along the fold so that the piece would wrap around partways in front like the Desiree picture. I cut two pieces so that one could be used as lining.

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Next I used McCall’s 4107 for the bodice, opting for the simplest option with front laces, and eliminating the back laces. I cut outer fabric to match the skirt above, as well as interfacing and lining (dark color to hide sweat stains better).

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Next I ironed the interfacing to the outer fabric:

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And then I began to sew the outer bodice, clipping around curves and praying to the sewing gods:

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Here’s the first two pieces, and then the finished outer bodice:

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I did the same to the inner bodice lining:

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Next up: tackling the boning!