Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Clockwork Droid, Part 1

As promised, here are some progress shots on my clockwork droid costume! We shall begin with the "before" picture: me in my $10 secondhand bridesmaid's dress.

I'm so glad I never had to wear this in public.
The tag says it was originally from JCPenney, but I found it at Goodwill. There are three main problems I had with it: the sleeves, the neckline, and the middle panel in the front (which includes the solid fabric under the lace). The sleeves are too puffy, obviously. I decided to replace the front panel with white fabric and a square neckline.

The first step was to take out the fabric I didn't want. I used a seam ripper to remove the stitches without cutting the fabric. I removed the sleeves first and then deconstructed the front of the dress:

I used a square-neck sweater to figure out how deep I wanted the new neckline to be, then I traced around the rest of the panel to create a pattern on tissue paper.

Yes, that's Christmas polka dot tissue paper. WHAT.

My initial thought was to sew the solid white fabric under the lace, so I started by cutting the lace. I also considered leaving the turquoise fabric in place, but ultimately decided it would be too distracting. You can tell from the second photo that everything is still attached to the skirt. There's no way to remove it without also undoing the gathers on the skirt, so I think I'm going to sew the white fabric onto the turquoise and then cut the turquoise off.

Here's the cut fabric for the replacement panel. I sewed around the neckline and turned it inside-out. I had to press it to make it lie flat, which I had never done before. My previous sewing experience is about equal parts repairs and doll clothes, with only a couple larger projects here and there. I kept the iron on its lowest setting because I was afraid of scorching the fabric. I probably could have turned it up a bit, though. The edges of the fabric were fraying like crazy, so I whip-stitched loosely around the very edge to try and curb it. It's an inherent problem with the fabric--the edges of the skirt are fraying too.

Before I sew it into the dress I'm going to embellish it with a ribbon or bows. I'll need to visit the fabric store for the ribbon and play around with it for a bit before I decide on the final design. I'm probably going to need more fabric for the sleeves, too. I bought an actual pattern to use for the sleeves (lower right). If I'm ever feeling really ambitious I may try making the whole dress, although that won't be for this Halloween.

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