Thursday, April 17, 2008

Susan's Purple Dress- Part One

Welcome to post one of my first costume chronicle! For those of you who are not seamstresses...just enjoy the pictures.
My project is Susan's purple dress from Prince Caspian, as pictured below. I and many other Narniawebbers have been scanning dozens of pictures for every possible detail we can find about this dress. I owe much of the current sucess of my project to the many details the Narniawebbers discovered.

First of all was the task of finding the proper fabric. It is unbelieveably difficult to find purple fabric with purple stripes. I was able to find one shirting fabric at my JoAnn's that I felt was workable. However, I did make the decision to use the same fabric for the entire dress. Finding TWO purple striped fabrics would be pushing it. (The bodice is actually a smaller stripe). Then I pulled out some blue that I had in my stash (last used for Captain Jack Sparrow's vest) and bought a bit of gold for the flower applique. The picture below shows how they react to shadow and light.

One of the secrets I picked up during my year as an alterations assistant was to chalk out hems instead of pinning them. It saves tons of time and eliminates a lot of pricks. The blue fabric was actually too slippery for this technique to be very effective, but it worked wonderfully with the purple cotton.

I marked out the hem two inches up, so that when I folded it over, I had a nice 1 inch hem. I decided to zig the inner seam as opposed to doubling it over, because it made a smoother (and quicker!) hem.

I made an underskirt instead of an underdress, but I made the waist flat to eliminate bulk and create the same smoothness that an underdress would have.

I love the way the underskirt folds in the back. The skirt was purposely cut so that there would be more fabric in the back. (As we saw in pictures of the original dress.)

When I got the purple panels sewn together, I started wondering if maybe I had a little too much fabric in the skirt!

I did the purple hem the same as the blue one.

Actually, it was by looking at Lucy's dress that I realized that the hems on the split needed to be four inch folds. That creates the smoothness in the front.

The back folds have been causing a lot of puzzlement over at Narniaweb. I played around with them abit, and came up with this:

It's really a double pleat, not exactly what I was expecting, but it lays flat and still creates lovely folds.

The front split is sewn together for about six inches down the front.

Blurry, but you can see the draping.

Next I began making the bodice pattern. Whenever possible, I always make my own patterns. The dress form makes this a lot easier. This bodice was a bit difficult though, since it was hard to determine the actual length. I did end up recutting the pieces you see here to make them about an inch longer.

Susan's dresses usually have double princess seams...which makes way too much work for the rest of us...the bodice, including all three layers and NOT counting the peplum or the sleeves, will have 21 pieces!


Mamselle Duroc said...

Thanks for posting the photos! It's looking great so far!

Paul Xavier said...

Nice Work! Not a seamstress here ;) but I have some interest in movie costume replicas and such. I've mentioned an idea for doing a Ranger costume. I might do that, but I'm thinking of possible doing a Turin Costume. Just need to work on some metal plating I have, chain maile is ok, but I need an Grey Elven Cloak...

DeLancey said...

Gorgeous! Amazing! Stunning!

Your fabrics go really well together. Are you faking the blue undershirt by just adding it at the sleeves and neckline? Can't wait to see more updates! And thank you for tons of pictures! I should really do more pictures on my blog.

Only 28 more days! Ah!!!!!!

Elenatintil said...

Thank you all! I'm having fun with this...

Delancy- well, you were the one that inspired my photo-chronicle! And yes, I'm faking the undersleeve because a)I don't have enough fabric to do it all and b) the material is actually waterproof, so it would be really, really hot. ;)

Amanda said...

Wow! That is amazing! *laughs* I don't think I could ever figure out something like that. This is without a pattern, right?
LOL, if it is, would you consider making a pattern and selling it to us poor seamstresses who have no idea how to even begin creating a dress like that from just photographs once you are done?

Shaylynn said...

I can't see any of the pictures...