Part 2?? That’s it?? Man, I really have been lazy about posting… Okay, time is short,let’s just right to it.

I started work on the bodice in August, the 20th to be precise, which shows just how behind I am. I sat down with the intention of hammering this out in a day, but didn’t quite make it for reasons to come.

Basic bodice pattern at work. One single center front piece with darts not yet sewn, side pieces, and the back pieces. One layer of silk, one layer of canvas, and separate boning channels with three pieces of boning in the front (center front and two that angle from the sides to the center) and two in the back along the lacing edge.

Pretty straightforward, right? I was totally ready to finish this. Until I sewed my boning channels down and stopped and noticed that they were black, not white. Okay, maybe not a big deal. But of course the second I held the bodice against me the black was very obvious through the silk. Argh.

I don’t know why I didn’t just keep forging ahead. Right now I need to decide if I’m going to remove the boning entirely and make some new channels out of canvas/white boning channels (and also buy a shorter center front bone since I always buy that an inch too long) or if I should just cover the existing ones with canvas so they don’t show through. Well, it’s still sitting there and I still haven’t decided. Oops.

Instead, I started work on the skirt, knowing it would be the most time consuming part.

I started by cutting the base for the skirt out of a similar color cotton to make sure it was the length I was looking for. It’s just 5 trapezoids at 5.5″ at the top and 36″ at the bottom before seam allowances. Then, I cut the same shapes from the silk and basted each section before sewing the trapezoids together.

And then that sat there for almost a month when I caught The Sick and I just couldn’t bring myself to do math and figure out the sizes of my tiers. I’d look over at it, sitting on the table gathering cat hair, and feel guilty for not sewing. Which meant I went off and played video games or knit instead.

However, guilt finally prevailed and this past weekend I sat down and hammered out the hard part.

I knew I wanted every inch possible in the ruffle along the bottom, which meant cutting out all of my tiers first to make sure I didn’t accidentally short myself fabric. A bit less fabric in the ruffle – not too bad. Missing pieces from a tier because I finished the ruffle and didn’t leave myself enough fabric – a bit more awkward.

Again, I started by cutting the base out of cotton that I would line the swags in to give them weight. Also, it meant I had a little more leeway in making mistakes as I figured out the shape and size of each tier.

The top tier is 7″ long and 5.5″ at the top where it will be attached under the waistband. It follows the line of the skirt base trapezoids. I knew I wanted a bit of a curve so I’d need to gather it less along the seams once all of the pieces were joined (the aqua and orange striped ball gown taught me that straight trapezoids gathered into swags leads to too much bunching at the seams). Although there are two cutting lines, I figured I’d start with a 1″ raise for the first tier, a 2″ raise for the second tier, etc. and make them progressively higher as the pieces became wider.

I tested the first run on the base, positioning it where it would lay and it turned out pretty good! After making sure I like the overall look, I then cut the remaining four pieces from the cotton.

I repeated the same process for the second tier. The top of the second tier is also 5.5″ and attaches at the waist, but is 14″ long. I wanted lots and lots of overlap on the tiers so when they spun up, you wouldn’t see the seam lines. Again, the sides followed the lines of the base skirt, and this time the curve was made at 2″ high.

Yep, still looking good!

Sadly, just as I finishing cutting the test piece for the third tier (this one starting at 14″ down from the waist, also 14″ in length), I ran out of cotton. Oops. Joe and I planned a trip to buy more, but in the meantime I decided I could confidently start cutting the silk for the pieces I already had from the first two tiers.

I don’t know how I ever lived without a rotary cutter. Sure, I could easily have pinned all my pieces down and cut them with my scissors, but just being able to lay my lining fabric on the silk, brace it with my hand, and zip all the way around saved me hours (and possibly blisters).

A quick trip to Joann Fabrics later, I was equipped with more cotton! Somehow, the color looked a lot more exact in the store than in the apartment and the new fabric is much thinner than my original fabric. I have no idea how this happened, but I’m not too worried. The larger tiers will weight more anyway and shouldn’t have a problem with getting enough lift in the spins.

A couple hours later, I was finally done cutting all of the swags!

Everything was separated and marked which means the next parts should be (hopefully) painless.

I’m also debating a 5th tier to go at the very top (it would be only 3.5″ long), but I’ll wait until everything else is attached and the bodice is done. I don’t want it to be so short that it looks strange and doesn’t move.

Next on the skirt – I’ve cut the remaining fabric (which should total to around 12 yards or so) for the base ruffle. I need to sew the two lengths together, gather it, and attach it to the base. It’s 27″ long right now and will obviously need to be shorted by a significant amount, but it gives me a lot of wiggle room that I can do at the very end once I can try it on with all of the petticoats and the hoop.

I’ve already trimmed the base skirt into a circle shape, which means I can get started on the ruffle as soon as I get home!

Also, I swear I haven’t forgotten about the petticoat tutorial. I’ll get there. Soon. Really.