It’s finished! It’s finished! Okay – so, technically it was finished almost 3 weeks ago. Since I had another Garrison Ball gown to finish afterwards (for a friend), I’m pretty behind on blogging about this. Oh well.
Before I get to the final reveal I’m going to take you through the bodice finishing, I’m really happy with how cleanly it turned out.
Oh, and if this is your first time seeing this project, you can go here for a list of the in-progress posts – if you’re interested.
I had one image of the bodice interior to go by, and tried to get it as close as I could (though I do wish I’d had pink silk satin, how pretty would that have been!)
First off was setting in the bodice lining. I did this by simply pressing under the 1/4″ seam allowance along the top edge and basting it to the bodice foundation with prick stitches.
A close-up of the stitching:
I bound the lower edges with a self-fabric bias strip.
I put in the bodice lining before inserting the zipper as I wanted to get the upper edge allowance of the dress fabric sewn down first – there’s a photo of that done below.
To get the correct zipper placement, I tried the dress on and had a friend pin me up the back and directly mark the line of the pins (thanks again, Sarah!). I then basted along the marked line with some extra silk thread:
Sewing the zipper into this was a B***H. Well, the upper end was fine, but towards the bottom, with all that pleated fabric from the upper skirt portion….ugh. Here I am in the middle of it:
To get the spacing of the stitches even, I marked them out on the right side. I’m not normally this anal with hand-picked zippers, but I sure as heck was gonna be with this one!
Here’s the zipper all done. Perhaps not as 100% perfect as I might have liked, but I think it was about the best I was going to get considering all that bulk towards the bottom. Giving it a press did help a bit.
Here’s the mostly-finished bodice interior. I folded the back edges of the lining over the zipper tape to enclose it and hand-sewed it with small whip stitches. I left the edges of the dress fabric raw, as on the original, and found that the catch/hem stitch I used (as elsewhere) did a great job of keeping everything neat and clean.
The final touch was adding a waist stay. I did cross stitches at the centre front to anchor the stay, then made short chainstitch lengths at the side and side back and attached them to the upper edge of the stay. This is what’s in the original and I think it’s a great idea – gives the stay greater flexibility and allows it to be really snug. If you look closely at the hook side of the stay, you’ll see there are 2 sets. The horseshoe shaped ones are the before-dinner hooks, the bars are the after-dinner hooks! lol
So, without further ado – drumroll, please – here is my finished version of Charles James’ Tree Gown! I kinda can’t believe it, it looks how it’s supposed to!!
GAHHHHHHH!!!! I HAVE A CHARLES JAMES GOWN!!!!!!!
And I made a matching/co-ordinating evening cape to go with it!
As soon as I saw this image I was in love and knew I had to re-create it:
Here’s my version, funnily enough I think it gives the dress an almost 1930s vibe.
Little bit of a funny story with this evening cape: when I first finished it, had it on the dressform by itself and took a few steps back to have a good look at it, well….after about a minute I had to admit to myself that it looked kinda like a superhero cape. I think it’s this particular silver + pink combination. I did the “blink. blink.” thing for a moment or two and decided “well, so be it”. I do feel rather like a sewing superhero for making it all the way through that dress, so I’m ok with a superhero cape to go with it. Of course, that didn’t stop me being relieved that it looks a lot less like a superhero cape when it’s over the dress, lol.
The only photo I could find of the cape was the one above, so I had to guess how the back looked and how it fastened. This is what I came up with:
This brings my Tree journey almost to the end. The Garrison Ball was actually last weekend and a friend in Toronto graciously agreed to do a little photoshoot with myself and the friend who’s dress I also made. I don’t have those yet, but will post the best of them once I do so you can see the whole look I put together!