I’ve had a few questions about patterns so I thought I’d do a quickie update 🙂
Dress exhibit notes:
The train has been totally removed and we cannot see the back, but this shows some great details that may help with decisions on what effects to choose and what to not.
The collar: you can clearly see the wired struts underneath. The edges are cut not stitched so I’m going a bit crazy trying to find the thinest russet I can to dye and polish. I have used russet before for(my Mass Effect Blood Dragon armour as well as my Shaak Ti apron.) The collars are quite flat, using the maleable nature of leather and the wires to hold the shape.
The sleeves: the sleeves are a front and back with a seam along the top (very narrow tucks that are more like easing than full pleats at about elbow) and narrow inserts on the inside panels only. The sleeve edges also look overlocked rather than seamed normally. I hand prickstitched my first gown to get this effect. It’s hard to see but you can see some classic fuzzing of the overlock threads- my skirt hem has this effect!) The sleeves are also sewn in to the side seams. The outer seam has a slight S shape with a good curve as expected but it curls back towards the hem rather than following the same arc.
The dress body: you can see the skirt side front and side seams. If you follow the hip decorations to hide the top seam you can get some good shaping and fit over the hips regardless of your proportions. There are no visible bust or underbust darts or seams. This is in part due to the use of the bias and the pleats to form to curves.
The fabric: it is an arashi shibori and a very soft and thin fabric.
Doll references/simpler pattern options:
I have the Disney exclusive doll and I think the pattern of her dress would scale up beautifully. If you can’t get hold of her (she is a bit pricey just for a pattern) then this page has a really good comparison with the Jakks and close up views of the dress:
The Jakks doll is another option for getting another more simplified style. The Disney exclusive is much much closer with the alternating bias of the train and even the unseen shaping (there is a triangle under arm piece from armscye to waist to allow for the dress to fit as a single piece rather than having the sleeve partially mounted to a shell lining like I did. This will require a bit more care in shaping but if you make a pattern from lining fabric with a similar stretch to the outer shell it is a really good option.
The only issue with the dolls really are the lack of a back of skirt, the train is a bit more complicated in the real dress in that it is partially inserted in/on a side back seam and there is a clear ground length skirt underneath. But this is a costume nerd factor and for not going sheer bloody crazy I’d go for the doll version which is essentially a godet or several godets inserted in to the centre back seam.
I can get some photos of the inside of the doll dress, I have already swapped Elsa and Maleficent and had them play dress ups with Zam and Eowyn. The doll dress is sewn a little far up so I had to unpick a few stitches to get it off the doll so she is not in mint condition anyway 🙂 And to see lots of Maleficents for Halloween would make little feery heart flutter 🙂
The doll also shows how you can reverse a fabric for effect- in this case a satin backed shantung so you don’t need to then try and wrangle leather or pleather!
And the Hot toys doll is just staggeringly beautiful. The bust shaping is something I’d recommend for the lining/support layer and to then smooth the shell fabric over.
The dart/seam under the bust merges in to the skirt seam really well so even if it is not visible in the original it is a really well scaled and nalanced alternative. The sleeves also taper and twist much like the original though perhaps a little more tapered. But it does show how much excess fabric you can eliminate (great for if you have smaller amounts of fabric.)
I made my first gown from 10.4m (1m=40″) of 1.6m wide fabric and cut off a fair amount of excess fabric. I managed to beg a further 6.5m and 1.4m length of the same fabric which is being hoarded! With my blog getting so high in google searches I suspect there may be a bit of a run on the alternative heat set foil knit fabric. In Aus/NZ/Singapore it is still available at Spotlight in the 100% Dance section (black on black and gold on black is very readily available.) It is about $NZ25/m so I’d highly recommend at least 11m for the full train and gown. And I’d recommend a lining, either a stretch charmeuse or another slinky knit. You want stretch to only go in the same direction as across the fabric/perpendicular to the wrinkles/pleats so the fabrics hang on the bias well. I wouldn’t recommend a lining cut on the straight with the fabric on the bias due to the amount of stretch you get with a crinkled fabric.
I’d recommend a good 15m/yards for narrower fabric. It is a fiddly dress to pattern on the bias so it is easier to have extra- work areas need to be quite large to support the fabric and not cause over stretching of one layer or area.
Clip or cut off the selvages. Especially for a fabric like I used which had a very firm selvage. I lost a bit of width but it allowed the fabric to rest at a mid stretch when laid on the the floor.
i may have a few more notes to add to this, but I don’t want to make any definitive statements about the parts of the gown not clearly visible or open to interpretation.