Well that week went by quickly.

The original bolero pattern was first traced onto muslin. The horizontal lines at the bottom were me eyeballing how much shorter I wanted this one to be. Then came deciding on whether or not to scallop the edges and where to put them. In the end I grabbed a roll of duct tape and used that to make sure my edges were even. The final tracing bits are in red. It was only after I finished tracing that I remembered that I’d had a dart in there as well, but I decided to make the first draft without the dart since it would have been fairly small in the end.

A shot of the front.

One of my cats, Boris, oversees the fitting. Thankfully everything fit pretty much perfectly. I was a little worried about the puckering on the shoulders, but when I straightened out the front, the back fell into place.

Then onto cutting the lining and velvet for the top. I no longer had the rotary cutter at my disposal so I made sure to pin extra carefully. It even worked out remarkably well as I started sewing the lining to one of the front pieces. Not a thing was going wrong until I was just about done and then realized I’d sewn it inside out. *headdesk* Naturally, everything started going down hill after that. I realized I’d pinned and cut all of my pieces with the wrong sides together instead of the right sides, which meant unpinning everything, flipping them over, and keeping my fingers crossed while I repinned that it would still line up.

The back piece was the easiest. Even though it had the curves at the top and bottom, I was able to keep everything taut while I pinned and cut.

The first time I turned it, I had a moment of panic when everything puckered at the corners. Then I remembered I still hadn’t clipped any of my edges and that fixed that. Whew. That’s when I reminded myself that this was why I should have stopped and made a list of steps for this project like I do everything else.

The scallops barely showed up on the front pieces, which was disappointing. I hadn’t wanted to make them too deep on the mock up, but at the same time I didn’t want to make them really large. I decided to keep them as is, but still worried about everything not laying flat. I didn’t want to do any top stitching along the edges, especially not after I did a test on a scrap piece of velvet. even though I matched up the colors, it looked hideous. Instead, I went along with my original plan to do the gold machine embroidery and it turned out really lovely.

It’s a little hard to tell at this angle, but it’s just a small row of scallops that goes all the way around. I even managed to curve the embroidery along the scallops in the front so it stands out a little bit more. Also shown are the applieques I picked up at Britex. I kept pondering over the dress as a costume thinking ‘But no one’s going to get who I am!’ (which was a formal Phoenix from X-Men) until I had the thought to do some sort of decoration on the back. Obviously, finding a gold phoenix anything just wasn’t going to happen, but I did manage to find these two pieces that gave a decent impression of what I was going for. What do you think?

Next came finishing up the skirt. It’s not entirely perfect, but I managed to do a decent job on embroidering the seams of all the panels. The embroidery took about 2.5 hours in total and were really annoying as the thread kept fraying and snapping.

I don’t have any detailed pictures of the waistband, but it’s got a point in the center front and then closes slightly the left in the back. It was probably the most annoying thing to sew because the fabric was constantly moving. I’d originally planned to have an extra 2″ in the waistband to overlap and  after sewing it turned into maybe 1/2″. Argh. If I’d had more time or patient, I might have added an extra panel in order to overlap the back fully and hide the closure underneath the back pleat. Ah well, maybe in the next stage.

(Photo by Kim Yasuda)
No other detailed pictures yet, but it’s a fair show of the back in action. I definitely don’t regret the time I spent on the skirt embroidery since it gives it more depth. I’ll also need to do something with my frustrating hair since it’s too long to leave down but too short to really put up. Any suggestions?

Still to come are the gold underskirt, the petticoat, and blouse, and the rest of the trim on the bolero. I’m thinking gold ruffles along the edges and arm holes. Also, embroidery along the edges of the waistband. At least now I don’t have the huge pressure to finish finish finish.