Saturday, November 24, 2012

Constable Geneva - Final Chapter

I apologize for not updating earlier this week.  My stiff neck really set me back, and I've been spending every second of my free time finishing my dress.  While I finished on Wednesday, then it was Thanksgiving, and then it was the first day of Chicago TARDIS (and the 49th anniversary of Doctor Who, AND my birthday!)

The dress is finished now, but before I post a final picture, I'm going to go back and finish describing the construction of Constable Geneva.

I'm not sure if I made it clear earlier, but the majority of this costume is hand-stitched.  The seams on the dress, the hem, and the seams of the lower sleeves are machine-stitched, but that's it.  Everything else was stitched by hand.

As I said last time, I pleated four yards of organza for the sleeves, and they were in four parts, two that were just slightly more than a yard long, and two slightly less than a yard long.  (I'd pleat until I couldn't keep the fabric tacked down anymore.)  I stitched them together so I had two yards for each sleeve.

At this point, I decided to try the dress on so that I would know where to attach the lower sleeves to the chiffon.  My husband was at work, but I gave it a shot anyway.  And I got stuck.  The straps in the back wouldn't let me get the dress off, and since I can't move my arms up too much, I couldn't pull the sleeves off of my arms.  I absolutely panicked.  I begged my husband to come home. (You should see the IMs that I sent him.  In retrospect, it was pretty hilarious.)  I wasn't even sure he'd be able to get it off of me.  Luckily, he was getting off early due to the holiday, so an hour and a half later, he was home.  I took the opportunity to ask him to help me figure out where to place the sleeves, and then with his help, I managed to wriggle out of it.  I did rip the stitch out of one armpit, but it wasn't very good anyway, so I restitched it.

I then took off the straps and made new ones, then attached Velcro to the bottom ends and underneath the sequined trim.  Of course, the second I move my arms, it pops off, so now I have to also use safety pins, but then again, it's not a costume if it doesn't involve safety pins ...

I then gathered the top of the sleeves so that they'd be the same diameter as the chiffon about midway up the arm, and hand-stitched the organza over the chiffon.  In addition, I tacked the gold organza down onto the under dress.

I then attached the top of the sequined trim to the chiffon using a whip stitch.  I had to be careful, though, not to let the stitches show.  I left the bottom of the sequined trim unattached so that I could then sew the triangle trim to it.  After stitching the triangle trim on (again, being careful because I could only stitch through the very top of the trim or it would show), I then stitched the bottom of that to the organza.  I had to be very careful, because the ribbon wanted to scrunch up.

I then cut off the remaining chiffon and put Fray Check on the edges, since I couldn't serge it or otherwise stop it from unraveling.  My friend told me about this a few months ago, and I flipping love it!  It's just a clear glue that keeps the fabric from fraying, and it's not something you want to use on a visible part of the fabric, so it shouldn't replace sewing or serging unless you can't get to it.  And, that often happens with my costumes, so it's come in handy quite a few times.

The last thing to do was to attach the rhinestones.  If you look at the packages, I used the fourth row from the right.  I actually used up all of the rhinestones of that size that I purchased.  These had adhesive backs, so I first put them all on to make sure I had enough, and that they were spaced correctly.  After being satisfied with placement, I started gluing them on one by one using Gem Tac.  It dries clear, so even if you put too much on, you can't tell once it dries.

It. Was. A. Nightmare.

The stupid things just kept popping off.  I'd barely touch them, and they'd all stick to my fingers.  Then, the glue would start to dry on my hands, and the gems wouldn't transfer from my fingers to the chiffon.  I ended up having to glue it in a few sessions, just because the gems I'd put on with the glue would sometimes pop off if I touched them.  Finally, I got all of the rhinestones on.  I have no doubt that I will be finding them for months in the carpet of my sewing room.

New straps

My mother pinned up the hem for me after Thanksgiving, and then this morning, I serged the hem.  I hadn't planned on it, but it's just easier.  My final addition to the costume was a cute little bag that took me about twenty minutes to make out of the lining and gold organza.  And here's the final product!


  1. OMG I'm working on making this dress for a friend of mine (still on the hunt for the checkered gold overlay material) and I'm so glad I found your blog... it's awesome! Your dress turned out so well! I love your idea of using a shift pattern for the main dress part. Definitely need to check out your other posts now... not that I really NEED another project right now... :D

  2. Oh, good luck with the fabric. I stumbled across that fabric on eBay, and the seller didn't have any more. As far as the shift, the problem is that there's no zipper or anything in the dress (at least, from what I can tell) so the whole thing has to go on over your head - and that includes getting into the sleeves. That means that it can't be fitted, but then it seems like it's way too big. I'm going to have to take the dress in quite a bit before I do any kind of official photo shoot. I'd love to see the dress after you make it!