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How to Sew a Marie Antoinette Dress: Part 2
This is Part 2 of Making an 18th Century Marie Antoinette Costume Dress
Thanks for hanging around for Part 2 of Making a Marie Antoinette dress using Simplicity sewing pattern 3637.
If you landed here first, you can go back to part one to see how this project started. For the short story - my daughter simply loved the dress and we are working on making it. The pattern is from Simplicity and this Part 2 is steps 10 -??? (I'll fill that in eventually).
We aren't using this dress for Halloween, but my daughter says she does want to wear it out. Downtown to be exact, amongst the tourist areas (we live in St. Augustine, Florida) although we are having a hard time trying to connect Marie Antoinette with anything historical about our city. St. Augustine has LOTS of history, but no French (or Austrian) history to our knowledge. Oh well, in any event, I hope she DOES have the opportunity to wear it somewhere. She loves it!
Steps 10 & 11
The Bodice Back Lining
I missed taking some photos - shown here is the END of Step 11. The trickiest part here is figuring out how to turn the lining right side out after you stitch it. We practiced first with 2 sheets of paper rough cut to the same shape. We finally figured it out.
The photo here is at the end of step 11. As you can see, we again veered from the pattern. It calls for working these eyelets by hand, but we decided to buy a simple grommet tool and hammered these grommets in place. We cut a long narrow piece of interfacing and sandwiched it in between the lining layers go give the grommets something to hold on to. So the grommets are holding together lining, interfacing and lining. It isn't perfect, but for us this will work. My daughter is still going to sew these grommets in place (even though they are hammered it) by looping around the grommet then back through the middle over and over again.
Step 12 - A Doozy
Step 12 is actually several steps. This is where you baste the interfacing to the bodice side front lining and press under the shoulder seam (seen here). Then you stitch the side front lining to the back lining at the side seams and press lower edge.
I wish I had another picture for this part. My apologies.
Either I forgot to take pictures of this step, or I simply can't find them. The one thing I want to mention is that I really messed up at this step on the practice bodice. I thought the instructions said to stitch the shoulder seams, but NO. It's just the long front edge.
Step 14 - Attaching lining to dress - back and side front (around arms)
This is when things start to look right. Instructions say to baste raw edges together. Well, the instruction diagram only shows basting along the upper edge so that is what we did. We did not baste the bottom edges of the bodice. I hope we did it right.
Step 15 - Adding the Binding
For some reason, I never could wrap my mind around this step. I read the directions about 20 times and they never made sense to me. So I cannot guarantee that this is 100% the right way. I *think* it is, but I'm not sure. I took pictures of the steps as we did them. I know this should have been simple, they the wording on the directions was confusing.
The instructions said to trim a seam, but I never could figure out which seam they were talking about, so we didn't do that.
Attach shoulders to gown back
It was hard for us to see exactly how to line this up and stitch it. There's not a good defined place to show where exactly to stitch it (in my opinion) and the notches we cut in the bodice shoulders ended up inside our pleats at the shoulders so we couldn't see them very well.
I think it will be OK.
We had to stop and take a photo of it on Savannah.
We just went to Hobby Lobby to buy the Panniers (Hoop Skirt) pattern #3635 and they NO LONGER CARRY IT!!!! There wasn't even a cardboard divider with the pattern number and the associate said if there's no card, there's no more patterns. Sooooo I ordered it from Amazon (being sure we got the right size 8-14). I have the links on page one for the patterns.
Step 17 of the Marie Antoinette Sewing Pattern
Pretty easy this one is
This step is simply finishing the front edges of the skirt. Basically all you do is press under the front edges 2.5 inches and hand sew them (invisibly) in place to have a nice finished edge. I sewed one and Savannah sewed the other.
Step 18 - Pleat and Attach Skirt Pieces
A few steps in one
I'm still not sure why another pleat is needed here, but the pattern calls for making one pleat very close to the front finished edge we just sewed, so we did. This is also when you sew the skirt front to the skirt side back below the large dot. I wasn't sure why it said to sew only from the large dot and down, leaving things unattached up top, until I realized this would be the pocket.
Step 19 - Ahhh Step 18 Makes Sense Now
These are pocket openings
This forms a finished edge for the pocket opening. Pretty easy step.
The pockets themselves are actually in - the panniers pattern. Looking at the back of the 3635 package, they look like two pocket pouches attached to a simple band tied around the waist. This will be interesting! Simplicity Sewing Pattern 3635
Step 20 - Making the Skirt Pleats - Take a Deep Breath
This took some time to figure out. The pleat lines are marked on the pattern, but getting them onto the fabric was a trick. I'm sure there are professional seamstresses who know the best way to do this, but we didn't. All we could think to do was slowly and carefully transfer the lines with chalk. You can see our chalk lines in the photo. It took the two of us and it took quite a while. My daughter kind of held the pattern in place and folded it back on the line while I sketched the position of the line with chalk. I'm positive there must be a quicker better way, but this is what we did. After we finished marking the lines, we slowly gathered them and pinned them along the way.
If you are making this dress, how are you going to mark the pleats onto the fabric? I'd like to know this for any future projects. Let me know in the guestbook please.
*A Work in Progress*
If you are at the end, this is as far as we've gotten! We will be adding photos, tips, our mistakes and any confusing instructions as we make this amazing dress. Stay tuned! I can't wait to change out the intro picture to one of my daughter wearing the finished product!
We are Finished!!! - The task is complete - 10 months worth!
It will take some time to upload the remainder of the progression of steps, but here are several pictures of the completed project. Savannah has worked on this dress on her own many days and with me (mom) and both grandmas many days too. I am soooo proud of her!!!