On day thirteen, I bought more organza+crepe and finished cutting out the side panels of my skirts. I held off on cutting out the bell sleeves because I still haven’t gotten a shape that flows the way I want it to. That same day, I serged together the crepe skirt and pinned it to my dress form.
On day fourteen, I serged the organza layer and pinned it over my crepe skirt. After seeing it on my form, I realized I needed a balayeuse for the train and a petticoat that extends further back than I anticipated to give some body to the train.
And I really really really need to fix that crinoline.
I’ll be making a paneled balayeuse and attaching it to my trained petticoat.
Yesterday, day fifteen, I left my skirt alone and started work on my underbust corset with shoulder straps (UBCSS). This was the part of the dress I had struggled with the most. Do I attach it to my dress and zip it up in the back? Do I make it a separate piece entirely? What about that that ridiculous flouncy ruffle layer over my skirts–do I attach that to the corset or to the dress itself?
More importantly, how the hell was I going to make one when every previous attempt ended in embarrassing failure?
I had seen this type of corset in cheap Halloween costumes but was this actually a thing people wanted to make? A couple different search string combinations finally yielded results. This instructable gave detailed instructions on how to make the very thing I needed.
Did I follow the directions? Goodness no. I didn’t have steel spring boning or busks–instead I have an abundance of polyester boning from making my crinoline. Should I have used steel boning? Probably but I am a cheapass and this is cosplay, and I spend more money than I should on the hobby.
So what did I do? I am a notorious for being able to draft patterns by studying finished clothing or pictures. I knew from previous experience that corsets required shaped panels; simply darting the hell out of my mockup would not work. I deduced that the UBCSS would be cut like a shirt in the shoulders, sweep down under the bust, and have panels like a corset and the above instructable confirmed that.
Oh pride, you shall be the death of me.
I had a previously made a pseudo-mockup to test the shape of the bottom hem of the corset against the skirt and ruffle flounce. My pseudo-mockup also included where I wanted the boning channels to be as dictated by the reference image.
I marked the boning channels on the pseudo-mockup, laid it out on new muslin, drew the bottom hem and started shaping the top hem. I happen to be lucky enough where my entire torso from shoulder seam to hip is the same width as my muslin folded. No redrawing of patterns for me!
Holding it up to myself, I marked underneath my bust. Using a curved ruler (mine is a Dritz Style Design ruler–expensive as hell but an overall steal since it is four rulers in one), I drew my arm hole. Then, I started sweeping the front of my UBCSS to curve up and around my bust to meet the shoulder seam and create a shoulder strap.
I held it up to myself again to check the measurement and once I was happy with the shape, I cut it out.
The next part was the hardest part because the shape of the panels is everything. Having previously marked my boning channels in my pseudo-mockup, I transferred those markings to my new mockup. At this point, my mockup is too loose.
Using the center of the channel as a reference, I used my curved ruler to draw outward curved lines so that all my panels ended up being hourglass in shape. I tried to line up the foci of the curve to where my waist was but I was eyeballing it and probably ended up nowhere close. I cut out the panels and started pinning them together.
HOLY SHIT, IT WORKED.
I had to take in the shoulder seams and adjust the cut of the bottom of the armhole because the fabric bunched up in the most unsightly fashion and would not lie flat. I haven’t shaped the center back seam because I’m still toying with how I want the UBCSS to sit on the bodice.
The overall result: