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Forum > Bridal and Formalwear Sewing > Making a friend's prom dress...I must be NUTS! ( Moderated by MissCelie)

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Making a friend's prom dress...I must be NUTS!
Also, how to create the skirt?
Slyvchan
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Slyvchan
Intermediate
Michigan USA
Member since 8/7/08
Posts: 155
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Date: 1/11/10 7:48 PM

Well, it started out as a good intention. There's this prom dress competition that I want to enter, and my lovely friend decided that she would be willing to be my lucky recipient. Now, of course she decided that she wanted the poofiest, glitziest dress out there, so now I'm stuck without a skirt pattern, and with a head of hair mussed up in frustration. This is the dress she wants:



Oooh, pretty! However, creating that skirt is going to be a pain, unless I know the correct way to go about doing it. It seems that most of the dresses that I've looked at have a chiffon or organza overlay, and they just seem like a plain old dirndl-type skirt. Now, is this the correct way to go about creating this skirt? I obviously don't want a lot of bulk, but I'm going to have a one layer of chiffon and one layer of satin attached to the bodice, PLUS a very full net petticoat underneath (seperate from the dress).

Now, my questions are, how many yards do I need of each fabric (chiffon and satin) to complete the skirt? What kind of skirt should I make? Dirndl? Buy a Civil War-type pattern and alter that?

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And as you sew, so shall you rip.

mmmckay

mmmckay
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Utah USA
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In reply to Slyvchan


Date: 1/11/10 8:56 PM

This Jessica McClintock dress might be a good place to start. I think view A and C are even full length.




ETA:

Now I'm laughing, because I see that YOU have a review in progress for this exact pattern! After seeing it on you, I really think that skirt is full enough to replicate the look in the picture. Do you have to make the crinoline yourself, or can you buy/rent one? It might be a good idea to try one on under the dress you already made, and see how it looks. My sister and I shared a full crinoline back in our prom-going days, and it really adds a lot of volume.

Okay, one more edit: I looked at your photo album and it looks like only the overlay has gathers, not the underskirt. That might still work, if the crinoline is an a-line. Mine was very full, but the top was smooth and did not start poofing out until mid-thigh. The gathers on the overlay *may* be enough to give you the effect you want - how nice you have a dress to try it with.

If not, you can add an extra panel to the skirt. My full dresses sometimes had 5 panels: a center front, two sides and two backs. You can split the skirt front up the middle and add a center front panel (you can just cut another skirt front - straighten out hip curves on all pieces, if any). Then you can gather the extra width of the underskirt onto the bodice, distributing the gathers evenly around the skirt. You can also use full panels at the sides instead of splitting one, or keep adding panels forever, if you need more fullness. Measure the length of the panels to figure out the extra yardage needed.

I also think the waistline on the dress you are creating might be dropped lower than on the pattern - if you add another skirt panel, you can gather the skirt onto your adjusted bodice very easily.

Edited a zillion times in an attempt at clarity

-- Edited on 1/11/10 9:08 PM --
-- Edited on 1/11/10 9:26 PM --
-- Edited on 1/11/10 9:29 PM --
-- Edited on 1/11/10 9:31 PM --
-- Edited on 1/11/10 9:47 PM --

Slyvchan
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Slyvchan
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Date: 1/11/10 9:38 PM

I had actually thought about using that pattern! The problem is the layer directly beneath the chiffon. It needs to be large enough that a crinoline/petticoat can fit under it with ease (which isn't possible with the Jessica McClintock pattern, since it's an ungathered A-line below the chiffon), but it also has to be thin enough so that it isn't bulky when I sew the skirt to the bodice.

Okay, so I just ran downstairs into my sewing room to check how much "poofiness" my dress could potentially have. The outer layer is actually quite poofy, so I think if I went with a dirndl-type, which is what I used on that dress, I think it would work. Of course, I'd probably have to gather the satin and the chiffon together in order to reduce bulk.

Any other ideas to create a non-bulky satin layer? Perhaps something like this, or...OH!!! Of course! Godets! Those would totally work, wouldn't they? Maybe have a four-panel skirt with a godet between each panel? (Edited: No, no, no. Godets wouldn't work. They would show through the chiffon.)

ETA: Yes, I saw that it has a slight drop-waist effect. I'm actually going to use New Look 6480 as the bodice, then draft the skirt myself.

Oh, and the contest is here. That's why I have to use a net petticoat. Speaking of which, the petticoat is actually going to be relatively poofy. It will probably start flaring out at the hips, much like the dress. Picture a smaller skirt than the dress has, and that's what the petticoat will look like.
-- Edited on 1/11/10 9:44 PM --
-- Edited on 1/11/10 10:25 PM --

------
And as you sew, so shall you rip.

misscreativist
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misscreativist
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AUSTRALIA
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In reply to Slyvchan


Date: 1/12/10 9:39 AM

Quote:

Now, my questions are, how many yards do I need of each fabric (chiffon and satin) to complete the skirt? What kind of skirt should I make? Dirndl? Buy a Civil War-type pattern and alter that?

[QUOTE]

Having made a skirt to fit over the Civil War-dimensioned hoopskirt I made last year out of satin from the Civil War petticoat pattern (Simplicity 9764), I used 4.2 metres of satin, simply gathered at one selvedge edge to a waistband, which resulted in a fairly (quite uncomfortably) heavy skirt. Mind you, the recommended fabric for the petticoat was cotton...

I imagine this amount of satin would likely weigh the net petticoat down considerably. The chiffon wouldn't matter so much in terms of weight, but I believe you'd need more yardage to gather considering it's much thinner than satin.

I would suggest a full circle skirt to eliminate, but it wouldn't create the desired "pouf" factor. The dirndl skirt is probably right, in my opinion, that's the construction method I've seen in many formalwear patterns I own.
And I don't think you should bother buying the Civil War pattern - unless you want to make the hoopskirt :)
-- Edited on 1/12/10 9:40 AM --
-- Edited on 1/12/10 9:43 AM --
tourist
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Date: 1/12/10 10:14 AM

For poufy square dance skirts I used to use several panels of a modified trapezoid shape. The measurement at the waist was somewhat larger than my waist measurement and I think the hemline was 3 or 3 1/2 times the waist measurement. I can't be more specific because the pattern was made for me, but I am pretty sure it was bigger than a circle skirt in the end.

You do have to reduce the bulk at the waist, for sure. The crinolines were (and still are, I believe) made with a soft nylon, tricot or cotton top and then the tiers of netting started at about hip height, each tier being about 1 1/2 times bigger than the preceding one. As mmmckay says, the crinolines were separate from the dresses. I know one of mine was 50 yards at the bottom hem, so that is one heck of a lot of gathering!

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Kathi R
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Date: 1/12/10 11:03 AM

I did a 2 piece prom dress a few years ago with a gathered chiffon overlay....the pattern was drafted with the underskirt the exact size as the overlay and when I started working with the satin underskirt it became obvious that there would be way too much bulk. I redrafted the underskirt pieces by slashing from the waist down to the hip and overlapping about 2 inches at a time.....I wound up with the same hem measurement as the overskirt, but only about 1/3 as much gathering at the waistline.

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2012 : starting stash 386, net additions 206, used 164, ending stash 428...I'm never going to get in front of this pile of fabric!

Pinkytoo
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In reply to Slyvchan


Date: 1/12/10 1:50 PM

After having studied the construction of "quinceanera" dresses (aka the poufy-er the better) I can almost guarantee that the dress pictured has a hoop petticoat underneath. That's the best way to get that much volume without the weight.

The pattern I was looking at called for 10 yards of tulle with 5 yards of the fashion fabric.

Edited to add - I just looked at the contest rules, I wonder if a hoop petticoat can be the accessory? That would be cool...and probably unique!
-- Edited on 1/12/10 1:53 PM --

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Sewing is my therapy!

Slyvchan
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Slyvchan
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Date: 1/12/10 3:33 PM

Fweee! I just checked the rules again, and it mentioned that if needbe, I can purchase some materials not from Jo-Ann's. Which is good, because if I'm going to end up making a hoop petticoat, I'm going to need to get some galvanized wire, as c31 suggested

Anyway, I am definitely doing the dirndl skirt, and most likely the hoop skirt too. c31, how did you go about doing the wire?

------
And as you sew, so shall you rip.

Pinkytoo
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In reply to Slyvchan


Date: 1/12/10 4:42 PM

Modern-day hoop skirts use plastic hoops. They are lighter and collapsable so you can transport the dress in a garment bag.

If it were me, I'd save myself the heartache of trying to make a hoop skirt and buy one. You can find them on eBay for about $20.00.

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Sewing is my therapy!

Slyvchan
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Slyvchan
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In reply to Pinkytoo


Date: 1/12/10 7:09 PM

Quote: Pinkytoo

If it were me, I'd save myself the heartache of trying to make a hoop skirt and buy one. You can find them on eBay for about $20.00.


The contest rules say that I have to make the garment on my own. Do you think that the hoop skirt would be considered seperate? I don't want to be disqualified because of something like that.
-- Edited on 1/12/10 7:10 PM --

------
And as you sew, so shall you rip.

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