Saturday, April 2, 2011

Fit for a Queen

The dress is done! And just in time, since I have to hand it off tomorrow morning.

This was one of those projects that shouldn't have turned out as well as it did. Despite doing the fabric shopping myself, I still ended up with insufficient yardage - the pattern called for 6 yards of black brocade at the purchased width, but Jomar only had 4.5, and I decided to make it work. Tim Gunn would have been proud.

I'm grateful for non-directional prints, because I cut that floral brocade every which way to get it done, and in the end I only had to narrow the flare at the bottom of the skirt, and I think there's still enough skirt to get the job done. I literally had a handful of scraps left at the end.

The same went for the white brocade for the front panels and the white matte satin for the sleeves - one yard, and scraps left over. The rest of the underskirt is made of white muslin and will work just fine.

I used up almost all 4 yards of the trim as well. The costumer requested a "restrained" trim, something gray or dark. The character wearing this gown is Queen Gertrude (of Hamlet fame), though the play is Rosencrantz & Guildenstern are Dead. Okay, so Gertrude is in mourning, but she went from her husband's deathbed to her husband's brother's very live bed, so I think her mourning goes only so deep. A restrained floral should be just fine.

One of the design changes from the pattern was to eliminate the back lacing, and add some to the front. I was just going to do it for show, but I decided that it might actually help with the fit of the costume, so instead of using eyelets, I made buttonholes and laced the front of the dress up with black twill tape. They can always change colors but I thought that worked well enough.

I have to say that despite the challenge of working with too-little fabric (something I couldn't really gripe about because I did it to myself; we could have gone to another store after all), I enjoyed constructing this gown. The ginormous sleeves are almost too much, but they'll look great on stage.

The one thing I got out of it for myself was a new appreciation for a good square neckline, something that we don't see all that often, and certainly easy enough to do well if it's built into a princess-seamed bodice. Aren't princess seams the best thing ever invented? I know they're not historically accurate, but neither are invisible zippers, and no one's going to complain.

The play opens in a couple of weeks, and I'm looking forward to seeing this one onstage - both the costume and the play.

There's a full patternreview here, if you want more details. I'm off to sew something spring-like for myself now. Enough sewing for others for a bit.


AilsaG said...

That dress is AMAZING!!

Anonymous said...

Just beautiful! Your friend is so lucky to have you.

luckylibbet said...

Looks terrific!

Lori said...

This dress is stunning, fantastic job.

Lisette M said...

It is beautiful Karen! I got to see my two nun costumes in action, well I couldn't really pick them out in the sea of nuns, but I was proud anyways.

Michelle said...

wow, that is amazing! Great work!!!

Becky said...

It turned out really nicely! And that will be fun to see your work up on stage.