So, the underskirt. Not terribly much to see of the process because I have a decent pleating layout that I use for almost every skirt I make and I stick with it. Pleat and pin it to a pleating board, sew down the pleats, attach a waistband, hem as needed, and sew up the back seam. Oh, and skirthooks if I remember.

I’ve sewn the pleats down here, but not yet added a waistband. I wanted to make sure that the skirt would be full enough (I know, I know, how could 7 yards not be full enough??) and lay properly. It would definitely need to be trimmed and hemmed.

Then came the waistband and the first hem. The hoop and petticoats were steadily drooping down the dress form, though, so I took one more photo with everything properly adjusted.

Fullness achieved. Not posting as I go came back to bite me in the ass here. As I posted this picture to my Facebook page, I made a note than I should probably hem this by another 2″. However, as I had no blog post to write, I never ran across that note again and discovered it only after I’d finished the entire thing and had just finished getting dressed and walking out of the door to Dickens. A few safety pins helped bring the front of the dress up so I could stop stepping on myself, but I’ll definitely need to remember to hem it before I wear it again.

Next, the overskirt. I wanted to duplicate the gathered waistband, but also knew mine would need to be fuller than the original to get the spin I require out of my dancing dresses. The easiest solution was to have the skirt be made up of a series of trapezoids so there would be minimal bulk in the waistband.

That’s the color I’m looking for!

I cut 6 panels of the silk with a 1 yd hem and 10″ at the top. The center back panel was split in half for the back seam and the center front was also raised similar to the original dress to show off the underskirt. I sewed all of the panels together (minus the center front) and hemmed it all around including up the sides of the two panels that would border the center front panel. I also hemmed the center front panel all around before connecting it to the rest of the skirt. A quick basting stitch along the top and it gathered like nothing.

If I were to redo this, I would have made that center front panel shorter by another 2 feet to give an even better shot of the underskirt, but it definitely does the job.

The gathers worked perfectly with the panels and everything lay pretty much exactly as I wanted. The bottom of the center front panel really is straight across, but because the bottom is 1 yd, the edges droop a bit when that front panel is bunched up too much.

I had the base finished and it was looking good! The next step was to decide on the trim.