Merry meet all,
I have sewn myself a gorgeous stunning black gown. I am so proud of it. I love the gown. That’s a good thing because it was so much work to sew. The pattern I used is the Arwen gown. I have a Simplicity pattern that I have used before. I donated those gowns to a local thrift store. There’s no way I would donate this beauty. Oh no. She’s a beauty.
I bought the material for it back in October. That is how long I have been working on the dress. I sewed the gown with painstaking care. It shows that I took gentle and loving care sewing it. I wanted the dress to have an appearance of mystery, magic and something ethereal. The devil is in the details, they say.
Yup. Truth. I wore the dress a lot, showing off my prowess, or so I thought. It turns out that the centre back section was at the front of the dress and the centre front section was at the back. I told myself I would get a tailor to do it. Nope. Guess what? I put my seam ripper to work, spending an entire weekend switching the front centre and back centre sections. The change is so amazing. Then the collar was twisted because I switched the sections. I fixed that and added a strip of black lace to the black lace collar. I stitched on a ribbon underneath the collar to conceal the interfacing. The back centre sections is where the zipper would go so I had to seam rip it and sew it on the back of the gown. It was just so much work.
Shown: early stage of gown construction-
I bought some wide black velvet ribbon and thin regular black ribbon. But I had a problem with the sleeves. Ugh. The upper cap sleeve is covered in black lace (which actually looks grey), and had to be eased in to the armhole. I stitched between the notches on the cap sleeve and pulled the thread tails. Mercifully it went well. I took my time and did it with care. It was the lower sleeves that would give me grief. The upper part of the lower sleeve has to match up correctly with the notches and markings. The long arch of the lower sleeve always points to the floor. The short part is up. You can see the dress in the photo. Also, I added a second sleeve that is hidden. The hem of the lace sleeve is what my arm goes through and the first initial sleeve is the over sleeve if that makes sense. The first initial sleeve that I worked on so laboriously has a ribbon casing. I worked in ribbon casings so I could draw the sleeve up if I want to. It is lined and edged with lace. On the outside, at the part where the lower sleeve meets the sleeve cap, I added tulle edged with black lace seam binding. I hand stitched the tulle to the upper sleeve cap to give it the look of the tulle being attached to the black lace sleeve cap. The tulle conceals the stitching of the lower sleeve to the sleeve cap.
I spent an entire day seam ripping the lower sleeve from the sleeve cap. I didn’t plan on having to seam rip through so many fabric layers- lace, lining and sleeve. Then I had the headache of creating the sleeve casing for the drawstring cords, which on one side was too narrow to fit a pin through. Then the cords were long on the wrong side- toward upper sleeve. Then the casings weren’t open enough. Then I had to reattach the layers of fabric together, underestimating that the sewing machine of course would make it too hard to do by machine- by hand. Then the edges wouldn’t meet up evenly. Anyone else surprised I had a break for a delicious grilled cheese and garlic sandwich and tea and then once done sewing and all tidied, I had an Epsom salts and lavender soak?
Good thing the whole sleeve still lines up and that the cords work and I could gather up the lower sleeve on the black fancy gown if I want to. I also inserted an extra hidden long lace sleeve from the sleeve cap.
I had some black velvet ribbon left over. I stitched a regular strip of black ribbon to the remnant of the velvet ribbon as well as on the regular ribbon, I stitched on a strip of the black lace seam binding. I stitched all that together than stitched it to the dress. The idea is that it looks like it has detail, it is a witch gown after all. Then with the ends I seam ripped the bodice on the sides, tucked in the ends of the ribbon, then slip stitched it closed again and on the wrong side of the gown, I trimmed the ribbon ends.
I stitched the wide black velvet on the collar to make the collar appear like the velvet overlaps the whole upper area. They did that on the Arwen gown and I finally figured out the trick to that. The black velvet ribbon is the same colour as the body of the dress. The actual collar is a lighter blackish grey colour, the same lace as on the sleeve caps. So the black velvet ribbon contrasts with the collar lace.
I want a tailor to do the hem though. I never needed to add a zipper to the gown because the knit material is so swishy. But the downside of that is that the material was too swishy in the sewing machine. It is hemmed but a tailor would have more control over that.
The dress shown below is the initial inspiration for my dress:
Sewing needles snapped, threads littered table and floors, patience expired and sanity was tested. But at last, the hard work is done. The gown looks beautiful.
Simplicity no longer sends patterns to Canada. I have the pattern and while I won’t make that pattern again. I have stored it away carefully. After all, you never know when you will be bit by the sewing bug and be your own fairy godmother and want to sew a witchy gown!!!!!!!!!!
Blessings, Lady Spiderwitch )O(