|Time Taken :||20 hours|
|I first made this costume several years ago, improved on it a bit for Auchinawa 2006, but effectively retired it after that. When Eli suggested a Pretear group for AX 2009, I realised that I was very enthusiastic about remaking it. It’s still a design I love a lot, and some of my original costume was still perfectly acceptable, so I didn’t want to choose a different pretear. There wasn’t too much wrong with the bits I wanted to remake, but I wanted to go with a different method of construction. Originally, I made the blue dress a separate piece, which just turned out to be a silly and awkward route. So this time, I made the blue dress and white top as one piece. Since I was still mostly going to be doing the same thing over again, I wanted to make some changes for variety, and decided on a chiffon overlay for prettiness and a floaty, watery effect. I’m pleased with the outcome, it’s nice to remake costumes and make the most of my improved sewing ability.|
The white skirt is a basic circle skirt made from polycotton, constructed with French seams, and painstakingly hemmed with a lettuce edge on a sewing machine, which takes foreeeever (and then I had to go over it twice…) I made an identical skirt out of white chiffon for my overlay. The two skirts are sewn together at the waist and around the zip, but otherwise they remain separate.
The white part of the bodice is polyester twill, but it still had to have chiffon on top of it to ensure the fabrics all matched. This overlaying was a bit more difficult since the pieces had to be entirely attached, and therefore match up precisely. I made a mock-up out of the white twill, and once it fitted, took it apart to use the pieces as my pattern for the chiffon, and also to act as the backing for the final thing. Since chiffon loves to shift about when you cut it, I carefully basted all the edges together first. With the chiffon mounted, I treated each piece as a single layer, and sewed them all together, overlocking the seams. The puffy sleeves didn’t have to be quite so exact, and instead, I deliberately made the chiffon layer fuller than its twill backing, because I love how gathered chiffon looks! They have a sleeve stay to prevent them drooping.
The blue dress followed the same principal as the white skirt; it’s blue polycotton with a blue chiffon overlay on top. I kept a lot of my original construction ideas here - avoiding a seam at the waist, and was able to use my old dress as a starting point for the pattern, but I still made a few changes when I cut out my new pieces. I managed to make the panels flare out a bit more for additional volume, and spent some time fitting it nicely at the bodice. Again, I was using the final polycotton layer as a mock-up. Once I was happy with it, I took it apart and used it as a pattern for the chiffon. The chiffon this time was only partially awkward. It did have to fit well at the bodice, but precision wasn’t quite so significant. The two layers are sewn together at the top edge, and down the back seam where the zip would be put in, and I also treated them as one layer for the darts at the back. Otherwise the overlay is unattached. Both layers are assembled with French seams, and each layer is hemmed with lettuce edging separately. That was even worse than the hem on the white skirt, since it was much longer. It took more than a full bobbin of thread to get all the way round…
I then sewed the blue dress to the white part of the bodice, and added the darker blue trim, which is made from interfaced t-shirt cotton I happened to have in the right shade. The interfacing helped out a lot with the collar too, especially with lining it to make the scallops. Finally, I inserted the invisible zip which goes all the way down the back from the collar to the waist.
The little glove things are fully lined and interfaced at the edge for the scallops. I use a little piece of double-sided tape on the back of my hands to stop them swivelling round!
I couldn’t find any pre-made blue gems in the right sort of shade, nor any in teardrop shapes, so I decided to attempt resin casting for the first time, with lots of mistakes and learning along the way! I ordered supplies online, used paint mix trays for the circular gems moulds, but finding a teardrop mould, especially a big one with multiple indentations, proved impossible. I had to make my own using a positive shape made out of fimo, and moulds from it in alginate. I made several indentations so I could do all my casting at once, which is helpful for ensuring the dye concentrations are identical in every gem. The completed gems are backed with foil, and hot glued to the costume.
The tiara is thin flexible plastic painted gold (cos I couldn’t find gold plastic) and it safety pins into the wig. I used the same plastic to back the blue teardrop gem on the dress. The wig is the same one as from before from Karen’s Wigs, intended as a more natural take on her hair
The boots are also from the original costume. My dad helped me to cut a pair of knee-high boots into the scalloped shape and lower the stoppers on the zip. Although they’re not comfy, I love how they look.