Sewing Project: Queen Gown
Finally, the long waited “Queen” gown I made for my daughter is published here!!!! With details and photographs, including those taken during the performance
A big thank you to all of you who encouraged me to sew it instead of buying it off-the-shelf. I never thought that I could finish it on time when I was given only 7 days before she wears it for the dress rehearsal and 11 days for the performance. I thought of getting one off-the shelf and embellishing it but I knew I wouldn’t be satisfied with the result. So……
Every time I walk into my craft room and see the gown hanging there, I’d think “I made this?” It is just like a dream that I spent 7 late nights and early mornings (I have a day job, so I can only sew it at night) to get it finished, with no pattern to follow!!!! Even my daughter couldn’t believe that it was made by her mum as I didn’t let her see the gown until I almost finish it. By the way, kids are not allowed to enter my craft room, with pins and needles every where, it is a dangerous playground!!!
The performance just ended last Friday and the gown is a great keepsake especially for my daughter. Though the gown just had been on stage for a few minutes for the performance, that’s good enough to surprise the audiences. I received some sweet compliments from other parents, most of them don’t believed it when I said “I sewed it”, anyway I may not look like a tailor or a fashion designer, but I definitely am a hobby craftswomen.
Upon making up my mind to go for the “DO IT MYSELF” decision, I quickly drew the pattern for the gown with the inspirations from some gown photos I found on the web. I am no professional sewer or seamstress and I didn’t attend any proper tailoring class before. All I have is self-taught from book and guidance from my mum. Yes, I made a few garments by following pattern book since I was in my high school, with no proper training. I met with failure along the way but it didn’t stop me from sewing. Here I am, drawing my own paper pattern for the first time and it is challenging.
If you wish to made this gown, there are some online gown patterns available in places like McCall and SewingPattern.com. But you can’t find mine there, oppppsss!
I went to a few shops during my lunch time the next day and quickly got some materials for the gown, like red linen and black satin (I changed to white in the later stage), ribbons, pre-pleated ribbons, laces, buttons, zipper and also a pair of open-finger long hand glove… basically anything I came across that I might need. I ended up buying more than I needed :p
The cutting began after the kids went to bed and there was no one to disturb me. I was excited and started to cut the fabric, made a few mistakes and wasted some fabrics though. Well, at least I learned something through-out the process.
I made the black top (right) on the first sewing night and let my daughter try on it to check if the measurement was correct, and her first reaction was “Mummy, why did you use black, I don’t like it!”…. emmmm… I had the same opinion too, so I wasn’t surprise when she made that comment. Without a second thought, I trashed the first night effort and replaced the black satin with white satin, resulting in a white-red-gold combination (left). And, I also extended the V-waist a little as the first pattern was too short and the V is not noticeable… problem with self design pattern… lol!!!
Next, on to the sleeves. That was a pair of puffed sleeves where I embellished it with 3 stripes of ribbons.
I called up my mum to ask for some help in drawing the puff sleeve as I never sewed one before. It is not difficult, just split the sleeve into 6 equal vertical parts, glue them onto another paper with double the spacing in between them (if you want it puffier, add more space in between), and extend the curve on the top of the sleeve with same spacing. Redraw the sleeve with correct curvature, that’s it! I later found a website with detail photos for the “puffing”, but it is only “puffing” the top and not the arm hem.
Phew, luckily the sleeves came out PUFFY. I got it right
The red center piece on the top is a combination of gold powdered lace with red fabric. I later found out that it is non-washable… dry cleaning may work but not water.
The top was finished and I needed to get on to the bottom skirt fast. I was running out of time and the bottom need more time to finish as it was heavily embellished.
Basically the bottom was made up of 4 pcs. of rectangles and 4 pcs. of triangles (curved bottom).
I sew lots of pre-pleated ribbons onto the white satin triangles. At first I sew them slightly over-lapping each layer, I later added another layer in between to make them look “full”.
Sewing them up took up a lot of time as there were 22 layers of pre-pleated ribbons in each triangle. Took me a night to finished it.
I added 3 stripes of ribbons on 3 pcs. of the red rectangle fabric, otherwise it will be too plain for that part. The center piece is a combination of golden lace and red fabric exactly like the top.
Had all of them sewn up. Sent to the craft store nearby for serging services as I don’t have a serger machine.
Gathered on the top side of the dress and joined up with the top to make up into gown. Went for another serging service again. There was an interlude for this trip, the lady who did it for me gave me a big eye and said “You made this?”, I said, “Yes, it is for my daughter’s stage performance”. Their customers (mainly seamstress) all hovered around it showering compliments on it… I was like “oh my goodness!!!” blush blush… I am not a pro by the way and this is my first gown sewing
Back to the details of the gown. I later sewed in the long open-finger hand glove onto the puff sleeve and added a ring of pleated ribbon at the wrist.
I also put in a line of small pleated ribbon on the waist to make it looks more “ROYAL”
Also, another line of pleated ribbon for the end hem of the gown with the same purpose… ROYALTY LOOK!!!
Side view of it.
Finally finished the whole gown. This gown is displayed with a crinoline in it. I need it to make the gown look inflated and domed. I am saving this for my next post on how to make a crinoline, quite easy compared to sewing this