The Burgundy Bustle

May 11, 2014

I didn't realize that I hadn't posted about this dress before. ^^; Woops!

I only started on this dress a couple of weeks ago, after my plans to make a teal and black bustle gown fell through. I didn't have any spare cash to buy new fabric, and I had always had this lovely burgundy and gray plaid and a solid burgundy taffeta in my Stash that I wanted to use together, so I went on the hunt for fashion plates to inspire me. That's when I found this.


It's a little earlier than I usually like, but it's just so fabulous with all those pleated ruffles. First, though, I had to make a couple of petticoats. I had started a ruffled bustle petticoat some time ago and never finished it, so that was first, then I made a simple petticoat to go over it and smooth everything out.


The day of the event, I realized how much of a difference having the proper undies makes. The petticoats made the skirt lay so much better, the chemise saved my corset from getting sweaty, and I cannot tell you what a difference a properly fitting corset makes! I was never uncomfortable, I felt supported, and everything looked right. I've definitely put off making my undies for too long, this was way overdue.

So anyway, these are the fabrics I had to work with. The plaid is some sort of stretchy fabric, and the solid is a poly-something.


Since I only had two weeks to make the dress, I planned to have the skirt finished in one week, and leave myself an entire week to work on the bodice. The skirt was a huge chore with all those pleats, so I decided it was high time to make myself a pleating board.


The pleating board is just a piece of posterboard that's been folded to create louvres that you tuck the fabric into. You then spray the fabric with a vinegar/water mixture (I usually do about 1 part vinegar to 5 parts water) and press. You get perfectly spaced, crisp pleats every time, and there's no measuring or pinning involved. It's a huge time saver! I lost track of how many yards of fabric went into those pleated ruffles, but I started with a bolt of around 15-18 yards of fabric, and at the end of this project I only have about 1.5 yards left! They devour fabric. o.o


By the end of the first week, I had the underskirt and overskirt finished, and was feeling confident. Then I went to Scarborough Faire on Saturday and it zapped all my energy to sew. I didn't even end up patterning the bodice until Wednesday! Eep! I worked on it as well I could, and thank goodness I had Thursday off, because I finished the bulk of it that day.


Before I finished, I finally had to break down and buy something - a button. I had absolutely no black buttons in my Stash! I'd also run out of grosgrain ribbon for the waist tape, so I splurged and bought some white ribbon instead of using the orange ribbon I had on hand. XP So, total cost for this outfit ended up around $5, but I think I can live with that.

Friday, I fully intended to get an early start after work and finish up...and I procrastinated until about 11pm. ^^; So, I ended up in another all-night sewing session, making the sleeves, tacking down the facing inside the jacket, adding the waist tape, and stitching on the button. But, I got it finished!


At the event, I found out that several of us had stayed up until 4AM finishing our outfits for the day, so we dubbed ourselves The 4AM Sewing Club and vowed to keep each other awake on the train. lol I'll have pics from the event up soon! :)

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