Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Stomp Wedding Dress

Note: I have updated the links to the pictures, so hopefully they work this time.

I have just been going back through my old blog posts, trying to find a specific post, the post where I talk about the Stomp costume I made last October for the Halloween murder on the dance floor stomp. And while I can find blog posts about many of the things I did for the costume, I couldn’t find any posts specifically about the costume.
Although, as I think about it, the reason I didn’t put a post on my blog because I put a fairly detailed post on crafster.
Please note, this is a very long, very picture heavy post.
So, here is a copy of what I put up on craftster: Post 1 and Post 2.
For a upcoming dance event, I am creating a gibbous-inspired dress. The event is in just under two weeks now, so I really have to get my act together.

The theme for this event is 'Halloween: Murder on the Dance Floor'. I had originally planned to go as the Corpse Bride from Tim Burton's film, but while researching how other people had done it, I stumbled across Cassadee's leaf dress:

This made me totally rethink what I was doing. So, I decided to do my own gibbous inspired dress. And, yesterday, I figured that there was a sew-along, so I thought I would post my progress here.

Because the gibbous dress is not something that I originally set out to do, there is a decent amount of new stuff in my dress, but also stash items and thrifted things.

So, the materials I have used so far (or plan to use):
  • New Curtain Lace
  • New Lilac/Mauve Muslin
  • Old curtain lace from stash
  • fabric straps from stash
  • lace from stash
  • New invisible zip
  • grommets from stash
  • new and stash ribbon
  • new lace
  • lots of thrifted lace diolies
  • beads and buttons from my mother's stash
  • 2 thrifted baby dresses, wanted for their embelishments
  • young girl's jeans, adorned with lace (removed to use)
  • teen girl's lace skirt, taken apart to remove lace

So, armed with these items, and with the pictures I had printed as inspiration, I started my dress.

Firstly, I neurotically photographed ever lace doilie, and piece of lace I planned to use. A little OCD perhaps, but I wanted the record.

Some of my favourites:

I gave myself a few rules when I started this dress
2) Must be able to dance in it
3) My bra and underwear must NOT be visible
4) It must have a butterfly somewhere (what a score the lace doilies with the butterflies were)

Going along with the bride theme, the first thing I did was to create a veil. I think I originally read the instructions for the veil on instructibles, but as I didn't write down, copy or book mark the link, I'm not totally sure.

The veil was really easy. I took a rectangle of my curtain lace (because it's for curtains, it had a 2 m drop or width), removed the scalloped hem and the curtain tape, and then folded in in half vertically in horizontally. I then cut a curve in the bottom, from the folded edge to the raw edge.

After unfolding, I bound the edge with silver bias binding. I sewed it in place using a wide, short zig zag stitch, and invisible thread.

Next, I folded it in half, with the under side longer than the top. I gathered along the fold line, and hot glue gunned it onto a slide comb.

And, ta dah! one veil.

I also blogged about parts of the dress here:
flower fabric texture; veil; miniature poison vials and shrug.

Next, I started on the dress.

I started with a simple strapless dress pattern:

I wanted a bustle, so using two layers of stiff tulle, (or nylon net, depending on where you are), one layer of curtain lace, with the edges bound to match the veil, and one layer of muslin on top. The final bustle is three layers, each about 5cm longer than the last.

My bustle pattern is fairly easy. It is basically two curves, a straight line cut on the fold.

With each subsequent layer, I made the lower curve dip about 5cm further. The curved upper allows the bustle to poof up.

Because the base of my dress is muslin, I wasn't sure how strong it would be if I sewed the bustles directly onto the dress. So, I sewed on three strips of cotton tape to give a bit of strength. Each is 5cm lower than the next, and the top one is 5m lower than the waistline (I made the lowest bustle sit under my waist because the dance style often requires your partner to run his hand along your waist, and if there is too much detailing on the waist, it tends to get caught).

I am planning to put eyelets in the back, and have the dress lace up. Again, I am concerned about the strenght of the dress. So, I added cotton tape where the eyelets will sit, as well as along the under bust line, and the waistline (not shown) and the top of the dress (not shown). these bands of cotton tape that go around my body will have press studs attached to them to behind the zip, to allow the tension to be shared around the dress, and to reduce tension on the zip.

I edged each of the muslin bustle pieces with lace, or the lace borders from my doilies. I don't have a before photo, but it really made each bustle layer 'pop'.

Next I added detailing to the top layer of the bustle.

This puffyness is actually around a butterfly shape. I really wasn't happy with this detail, so I unpicked it, and am now experimenting with this bustle design.

It isn't sitting right yet, so I think I am going to cut another layer of muslin, construct it flat, and then add it on top of my current bustles.

I have just started the detailing on the main part of the dress. So far, I have stitched the detailing on the right hip side of dress.

The dress became almost entirely covered in texture, with a few exceptions where I left the curtain lace on display, because, lets face it, it’s pretty.

In the last post, I had sewed the detailing on the right hip, and was starting to redo the bustle detailing. I started with another piece of the bustle, laying it out flat, and pinning the detailing in place. Not only did this solve the problem I was having with symmetry, it also allowed me to add more butterflies.

And, as a side note, I went back to get more lace doilies, because I thought I was going to run out, and found the two big butterflies that are in the centre of the lowest row. They’re stitched by the same hand as the other butterflies on the dress. I (think) I probably gained all of this amazing woman’s work that was in the local op shop. It’s really precise and detailed, and made my dress look awesome

After this, I put the eyelets into the back lacing, and where the straps would go. It’s been a while since I last did anything with eyelets. Normally when I make corsets, I will use loops instead. They are just easier. And, doing this dress, I realised why it was that I avoided eyelets. I’m really, terribly bad at putting them in. I managed to put them in so that only one of the eyelets came out, but they were all smooshed and misshapen. Next time, I would definitely be using loops again.

I cut out the middle back section, so that the lacing was clearly visible, and edged the seam with ruffles from the little girls dresses.

Next, I started working on the detailing for the bodice of the dress. I had fallen in love with a ‘flower’ texture, and had made tons (like, 10L, which I know is a strange measurement for anything sewn, but I filled 2 x 4L and 1 x 2L containers) of fabric flowers out of circles.

I have posted a tutorial of how I did this texture on my blog
http://sewingsoffyrefairee.blogspot.com/2010/10/fabric-flower-texture.html. It’s time consuming, but I was really, really pleased with the result.

The only thing I would do differently would be to have the gold at the top go further down the bodice – I just love the look of it!

As you can see in the first photo, the right side of the bodice is covered with the flower texture, but the left side is bare. I had originally planned to cover both sides with the flowers, but I ran out (or close enough), so wasn’t going to be able to. Leaving the left side blank was also not an option, because (a) it meant that my bra was visible, breaking one of the rule I had set for myself, and (b) it made the dress look unbalanced.

So, I added rows of lace. The top few rows are scalloped, following a scalloped line in the lace. As I got further down the bodice, the line straightened out. 

Next, I continued with the detailing. The front of the bodice was now fully covered, so it was just my knickers that I had to worry about covering. I spent, well, hours pinning detailing onto the dress, staring at it, unpinning it, until I was happy with the detailing.

For the detailing on the left hip, I used the embroidered design from one of my little girl’s dresses. The surrounding lace is from another doily, the rows of fabric are scraps from my stash that I folded in thirds and sewed down, and the purple leaves are from a fabric in my stash. The buttons are from my mother’s stash.

I placed each of the cut out embroidered details on a flower from the curtain lace pattern. And, I had to laugh, half of the little embroidered designs had butterflies on them. I think that this part of the detailing has become my favourite part of the dress.

The back left got covered in lace, again with a combination of hand sewing and machine sewing.

The back right hand side I again used fabric scraps from my stash, and following the shape of the space, sewed this detailing. The buttons are from my mother’s stash.

Next, I sewed some buttons onto some of the lace on the front, and a row of buttons along the lace detailing on the left hip.

Lastly, I attached my ‘poison’ bottles to the row of buttons. 

And with that, my dress was finished!

(Although, the next day, I did sew myself a little shrug to wear with it)

As I was going to the dance party as a murderous bride, I had both the poison bottles above, and a ‘dagger’ letter opener (because I didn’t want to cut myself), worn on my leg with garter elastic.

(Please excuse the face I’m pulling in this photo – I don’t have my glasses on, so I tend to squint a bit)

And you know what? I really enjoyed this technique, so I think I’m going to be making more things along this line in the future.


  1. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but I'm in blogger, and I can't see the images :( But that's ok for me as I've already seen your super-awesome dress via craftster!
    On another note, THAT'S ME IN THAT PHOTO UP TOP! Yes, I am a lucky girlie :D And I need to get back into the sew-along..!

  2. Thanks Dearest Jackdaw for letting my know about the pictures. I have updated the links to all the pictures, so hopefully they work now! And that is an awesome dress, you certainly are a very very lucky girl!