Progress! Though not nearly as much progress as I’d hoped for, however still feeling confident about the core pieces. I’ve decided not to get myself too stressed out about this weekend and if it works then it works and if not then I’ll live.

I may have set my sights a little high since this is my first time working with velvet, and silk velvet no less, but I’m definitely learning some good lessons. The first being that when you’re working with velvet and cutting on the bias, weigh the fabric down in every possible place so that when you’re cutting, it won’t move. I don’t know how many times I wanted to rip my hair out because the fabric would shift ever so slightly on one side while I cut the other and I wound up with wobbly lines. Also, the rotary cutter is my new best friend. This was one of the first times I’d used one and it made the last few pieces much easier to cut (especially since using scissors would pick up and move the fabric, which was part of the problem).

In the end, I managed to cut 5 full panels and a 6th panel cut in half. In hindsight, I probably shouldn’t have cut that last panel until after I pleated the back, but more on that later.

Here is the picture of one of the skirt panels pinned to the lining fabric. As you can see, they didn’t all line up very well. Luckily, it’s not that difficult to just trim off the extra. I’m not sure what those three marks are on the left side, but I couldn’t get them to smooth out. We’ll call it “character”. Pinning sometimes felt like it took longer than cutting.

Later, I started sewing all of the velvet to the linings, and they’re all nicely stacked next to my machine for minimal cat exposure. Not too bad all things considered. This was then followed by pinking all of the edges and my thumb is sporting the beginnings of an ugly blister. I wound up lining all of the pieces up along the hem when sewing them together which was good because they didn’t all match up in length which then meant trimming some of the tops. This also worked out because it meant I had more fabric to work with in the pleating at the waist rather than less fabric to work with in fullness at the hem.

Next came the pleating! Since only one section in the back was going to be worked on, I figured my best bet would be to pleat it on the dressform. Since the form isn’t corseted, I had to eyeball where to pin the skirt. This was made even harder upon discovering that I have no measuring tapes in the apartment. I had three, where did they all go?? So, tomorrow I’ll run to Walgreen and grab another spare and make sure my waist measurement is accurate before moving forward with the sewing of the waistband.

As you can see, one of the panel seams is right in the middle of the pleat. Totally didn’t mean for that to happen but I just wasn’t able to figure out ahead of time where the pleat needed to sit, so I just went with it. It doesn’t really look that bad and if I go ahead with the embroidery on the skirt, it may even look more interesting to have the gold pop along the seams. So, yea, totally meant to do that all along. Totally.

A slightly farther back picture to show off the drape of the pleats. They’re really not as full as I had in mind when I started, but even the reference pictures only looked to have two pleats and I guess you just use the petticoats underneath to help with the fullness in the right places. Naturally, I forgot to bring any petticoats back with me to work with.

I’m shifting the priorities a bit on the other pieces after having to spend longer on the skirt than I thought I’d need (of course). So, the petticoats will have to wait as will the underskirt. My blouse may also be in limbo until after this weekend, though I’m really working to get it done. I think now that the skirt has reached this point, the bolero should come next since, in theory, it’ll be little machine sewing and more hand sewing. As much as I hate to say it, I can get away with a plain ol’ blouse just for the first run, but the jacket is what makes it a bit more obvious who my character is meant to be and that’s sorta the whole point of making everything for this weekend.

The dress form is now safely tucked away in my bathroom to keep the white cats from rubbing all over it. Everything is currently covered in red fuzz and I have a feeling I’m going to need to brush the cats out a couple times to keep it off of them. If I wake up in the morning and don’t scare myself to death when I open the bathroom door, I think I can call it a win.