Pendragon Desree Dress – Part 3

I sewed the underskirt using Butterick 5757. For some reason this is the only picture I took of that process, and I don’t even remember what I was doing here. Pulling the elastic through the waist, maybe? Anyways, f you want to know how I did the elastic waistband take a look here at the last time I used this skirt pattern.

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Next, I realized that the overskirt was far wider than the bodice, so I needed to either gather or pleat. My outer fabric is far too thick for gathering with the gold thread I had, so I opted for pleats. I spent about half an hour getting the beautiful pleats in the picture below, only to pin the bodice to it and realize I was way off center.  Grr…

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So I re-did them, making sure this time to mark the center of the skirt with a pin and to form the pleats around it.  Then after double checking that everything was hunky-dory, I basted them.   Here’s what the properly centered pleats looked like when I was done:

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And here’s what they looked like pinned to the bodice (before ironing):

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Finally, I was ready to sew the overskirt to the bodice and be done! This turned out to be a nightmare.  I’d long stopped following any sort of instructions at this point, because I used separate bodice and skirt patterns, so there weren’t any instructions on how to sew the two together.

What I ended up doing is slipping the unfinished top inch of the overskirt inbetween the bodice lining and bodice outer fabric, then turning under the bodice lining and outer fabric a half inch and sewing the whole shebang together.  This sounds tricky, and it was. Unfortunately I have no pictures of it really, except this one below.  The purple is the bodice lining and the gold is the overskirt. You can sort of see that the gold overskirt is underneath the purple bodice lining,,which is turned under, and underneath all of that is the bodice outer fabric.

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I should mention that I originally botched this step completely and had to rip out my seams. I then freaked out that it was ruined and took everything to mom, who patiently hand-basted the overskirt and the bodice together while I calmed down, and then I was able to do the final machine stitch.

Shout out to my mom for being TOTALLY AMAZING, and for being the body model two pics up!

Last but not least, grommets! I used a standard pair of Dritz Eyelet Pliers and some gold grommets to make 6 holes on each side. Here you can see the tiny holes (which I widened by forcing through a pair of small pointed scissors) vs a finished grommet at the top:

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And here’s an upclose shot of more grommets with lacing (and also a good view of my fabrics):

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…and then I was done.  Here’s the finished dress in a side-by-side comparison with its inspiration, the Pendragon Desree Dress.  Took me nearly 20 hours from cutting the pattern pieces to sewing the last stitch, but I had a tremendous amount of fun along the way!


In retrospect, I probably should have done a gored skirt to get more fullness near the bottom, but oh well.

The important thing is that I now have a simple Renaissance Faire overdress that I can mix and match with chemises and skirts of all colors to create tons of exciting costume combinations!


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!