So . . . . this is Part 2, the second try to make a Ball gown out of the top of this dress. In the last post I had detached the bodice from the skirt (and used the skirt for the other project). I had also added some black lace in the process.
I really liked the look of the black lace. It gives it a kind of Spanish feel. Since the previous dress used the black and red theme, I thought that a plain black skirt would be too similar. I also hadn’t liked the way the peplum looked in the front against the black skirt (although I did like the back). I decided to try a red skirt this time.
I found dress #1, which is a straight dress with beading.
And dress #2 which was a halter top dress with a quite-bare corset back and lots of pretty beading.
This last dress was also fully lined, and new enough that the lining wasn’t acetate (which wrinkles horribly when washed), so I would be able to use it for part of the skirt.
Using the lining as part of the skirt has a few considerations. First, while lining fabric is often a great color match, it is typically a much thinner and cheaper fabric. It often takes a little more TLC when ripping seams, removing stitching and making other adjustments. Also, while it seems like the lining is EXACTLY the same size as the garment, it probably is not. It is likely just a little bit shorter and a little bit narrower. Therefore, the outer garment and the lining won’t match up 1:1.
The back of this dress had this very nice finished edge and short zipper. I decided to use this as the back of my skirt. I carefully cut the lining away from the top of the dress, and down around the zipper. Here is the lining cut out and folded in half, ready to slice along the front fold.
I cut the lining down the center front to make the two panels for the skirt. I then cut the bodice off of the dress, using the back of the skirt as the length. Here the lining is laying on top of the fashion fabric:
The beaded dress had a seam up the back with a generous seam allowance. I snipped the stitches and opened up back seam, removing the zipper to save for another project. I left this dress in one piece as it would become the center front of my skirt.
I used cut skirt pieces as the “pattern” for my second dress.
I began sewing the skirt together, starting at the hems and sewing towards the waist. I quickly realized that I had missed the “dip” in the back of my lining fabric (where I cut it under the back edge). The side that had been the center front was also a bit shorter than the other pieces. I wanted to preserve as much length as I could to go over the hoop, so I cut some little pieces of lining fabric from behind the discarded bodice and spliced them in.
If you were making this costume for something where people would see you up close, this might not be an option. But, for a stage costume, it will never show. Another trick would be to hide an area like this inside a pleat.
Once my skirt was all sewed together, I needed a waistband. I tried to make one out of the bottom of the lining from the beaded dress, but it had some serious boning going on, and it just didn’t work. I hesitated to use a totally contrasting fabric in case this skirt was ever worn without the peplum top. I ended up using the sash. I cut a piece of wide twill tape to stabilize the waistband (like interfacing). I sewed it to one side of the sash, and then pleated the skirt on to the waistband.
I prefer to start pleating at the center front. I mark the waistband in quarters and then will decide how I want the skirt divided. I will pleat one section, and then repeat on the other side. Once the skirt was stitched on to the waistband, I pressed the waistband in half, pin, and topstitched it along the front. You can see that I sewed over quite a few beads. As long as the beads are not too big, and you go slowly, you can usually sew over beaded fabric without too many issues. The beads will often just shift to the side as you sew. I do break a few needles, but, it is usually when I go too fast or try to do something stupid, like sew through 1/4″ mounted gems.
The back is just “fudged” shifting the waistband piece up as I came to the zipper area. The waistband closes by tying the sash.
The lining fabric on the side is a little thin, and you can kind of see the hoop through it. It may end up needing a petticoat . . we’ll see how things go.
This was my combined outfit at this point:
This was OK, and I liked the way the peplum looked in the front better, but, I was sad to lose the effect in the back. I decided to add a little ribbon:
Much better! The ribbon is black with gold edging on both sides. I am not sure if this will reflect light at all on stage, but it might. I am fairly confident that the red beads on the front of the dress will glimmer more under the stage lights than shows up in the pictures.
I am happy with this. It would have been nice if I had some more black lace for the peplum, but, as it was I had about 6″ left. I do like the way the way the back peplum looks, and I may try recreating this look with some different dresses.
Cost: original dress: donated, black lace $0.25, red dress with beads: $3, red halter dress $3.
Time: about 1.5 hours.
I did save the beading cut off the top of the red halter top dress, so we’ll see if the opportunity to use that comes along in the future.