Alright, it’s time.
The final dress in this 12 in 12 project.
The deadline has passed, but I intend to finish this if it kills me and I’m going to go out with a bang.
I have been looking forward to making this dress for over a year, briefly considering it for WonderCon last year though I never got around to it until I found the perfect fabric last May and then there was no turning back.
15 yards of 55″ silk dupioni in gold shot with black.
To recap, here is the initial concept drawing:
The bodice has changed to a bolero and vest combo, but the skirt has stayed the same as 4 very wide stacked box pleats on which the balls are mounted. The balls were the most important part of this skirt to me; if they didn’t look perfect then the entire dress would fall apart. I wanted it to be “period” correct, which meant everything needed to be made from fabric. Thankfully, I have a copy of The Art of Manipulating Fabric, which I cannot recommend enough. It’s not necessarily an 1860s technique, but there’s no reason for me to expect that someone wouldn’t do this if they knew how.
It starts with two squares of fabric, one of which is 25% smaller than the other. The smaller square is the base of the ball and the larger square will form it.
With the larger square on top, match the corners up and pin them in place. There’s a decent amount of fabric floating around between the pins (2″ in this case).
Making sure all of the pleats go in the same direction, I eyeballed the placement and pleated down the extra fabric, pinning as I went. Now, the top and bottom squares fit perfectly together.
Sew along all of the edges, leaving a small gap for turning and stuffing.
Although I turned my square for the rest of the test, I’ll probably keep it unturned for the final versions so I have a nice border to use when attaching it to the skirt later.
Finally, stuff it until it’s the proper amount of fullness and sew the little gap closed.
I’ll probably want to consider reinforcing the bottom square with some canvas or iron-on interfacing to keep it a bit stiffer. I do plan on attaching each column of balls to a base panel and then attaching the base panel to the skirt fabric before pleating (both for structure, ease of attachment, and because it looks more Dalek-like), but it can’t hurt to have more structure as a backup.
So, there we go. The prototype is a success, though I’ll want to make another couple or so to get everything just right before cutting into the silk. Next, I need to test pleat the skirt to figure out exactly how wide the pleats need to be, how much fabric I can pack into the skirt, if it will spin properly, and how true to the original Dalek shape I can get. This is another one of those skirts where the prepwork leading up to the final pleating takes longer than the actual construction, but it will save a lot of time later.