Please help me find or create a pattern for this dress

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Please help me find or create a pattern for this dress

New postby k2k on Sun Oct 30, 2011 7:42 am

crossposting this in sewing for children as I am desperate for help

Hi I am a new sewer so please bear with me. My daughter wants me to make her this costume http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000UU ... d_i=507846

for a party next Saturday. I don't really sew but I'll give it a try. Looking at it I think I could make a basic long skirt cutting the front at and angle and I think the back requires a couple godets. But I have never done anything like this. So my question is, well I have several but my initial one is how the heck to I sew this outfit. But the more specific questions include Do I make a long skirt then cut the front at an angle to make it shorter and angled or would it be easier to make pattern pieces in that shape and sew together. I have never sewed anything from a real pattern so I am very intimidated by the idea. For the back how to I put the godet in? I saw something online that said to cut the skirt and then sew the godet between the rectangle pieces created by the vertical slit cut into the material. Is that the best way or is there a better way? I am not even sure I just made any sense. How do i calculate how wide to make the godet? I plan on making a muslin prototype to work out the kinks first. and the bodice, I don't have a clue, I have looked for a pattern online for this outfit but have come up empty handed. If need be I can just make the skirt and improvise the top using a long sleeve leotard and embellishing. Any and all help appreciated I have 6 days to make this with very limited skills. Talk to me like I am 5 as I am probably missing a lot of information experienced sewers take for granted.

Thanks in advance.

Kristin
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Re: Please help me find or create a pattern for this dress

New postby Bama on Sun Oct 30, 2011 8:26 am

For a mermaid skirt, I would make a circular ruffle for the "fin". You could round the front bottom edges and leave the front seam open to get the open effect to the front like the one in your link.
Maybe this link will help. Scroll down a bit to see the circular ruffle directions.
http://www.costumegoddess.com/tips/mermaid.htm

Directions for a skirt with godets (princess seamed skirt) are also there, but to me, I think a circular ruffle would be easier. Good luck! We would leave to see a picture of the finished costume.
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Re: Please help me find or create a pattern for this dress

New postby Bama on Sun Oct 30, 2011 8:34 am

I found a tutorial on how to make a fishtail skirt that might help a bit as well. You could make it simpler by putting an elastic waistband.
http://katafalk.wordpress.com/2008/12/1 ... t/#more-41
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Re: Please help me find or create a pattern for this dress

New postby Mule on Sun Oct 30, 2011 10:38 pm

I definitely think you want separate pieces for the front sewn together. If you just cut a triangle out of the front if wouldn't look right and it might end up ripping.

Your idea about using a leotard as the base for the top is a good one. Or, you could modify a pattern for a sleeveless dress with a similar neckline and make the top third out of the chiffon and the remainder out of the solid fabric. You'd just need to cut the pattern where you want the seam, and then add seam allowance to each piece. Then you could sew on the little pieces of chiffon that are lower on the arms, and the pieces that look like bra cups. But, with limited time you might have your hands full with the skirt.

Although this is probably heresy on a sewing forum, I have to ask -- is there a reason you're not just buying the costume and saving yourself the headache? Learning to sew is great, but it's certainly easier when you have a pattern and no looming deadline....
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Re: Please help me find or create a pattern for this dress

New postby k2k on Mon Oct 31, 2011 10:12 am

Bama thanks for the links. They did help and led me here which I found helpful http://thesewingdivas.wordpress.com/200 ... th-godets/.

I am doing godets because she picked out a sequined type material to look like fins so my idea was I would make the godet out of the sequined material. The skirt is an aqua satin tafetta. In my mind it's pretty cool! LOL


Beth, yes buying a costume would be easier and more sane at this point. But she picked out this one on amazon but asked me to make it instead because she says "your handmade things are sooo much nicer." I make her Halloween costume every year but we tend to stick to really easy and often no sew costumes. But I think I can do this if only I had a tutor. I have faith in my limited skills and abilities. Not really sure why as I can't sew a button on that lasts a whole day :o My husband does a better job.

I have a few questions, that I hope someone could let me in on. The pattern I linked to the skirt with godets, shows the top of the skirt having a bit of, for lack of the correct terms, rounding and there is talk of darts.I think it has to do with waist shaping as my prototypes are teaching me if I cut the fabric for her waist width the skirt is too small. I know what a dart is but not how to make one so I am stumped. It seems necessary to know how much of a curve to cut and how wide to make the dart. I made two prototype skirts and working on a third, one paper and tape LOL, one doll sized out of muslin and one I am working on out of muslin in the correct size. The muslin one I am working on I just made a circle and hemmed the top and sides sewed part way down the front, will use elastic at the waist, and I am getting ready to add the godets. I thought I would just cut the material and sew in the godet. But I think it's not going to work. It seems like I really need to sew panels together and do the math to calculate how to fit the top pieces together. Is there a formula or tutorial on how to do that. am I making sense?

thanks you guys are great and thank you for the wenlcome to the forum. Addly enough this is really inspiring me to learn to sew. We collect sewing machines they just never get used. PErhaps now they will.

The top makes my head spin and the thought of trying to sew that but once I get the skirt I'll push on. We spent 3 hours at the fabric store yesterday looking at patterns, no help there.
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Re: Please help me find or create a pattern for this dress

New postby Mule on Mon Oct 31, 2011 9:35 pm

So you fell for the "you do it so much better" thing....I have to say, that usually hooks me too. :)

The instructions on the godets you linked to look good, but perhaps a bit more complicated than you want? You are correct that the skirt can't be the exact same measurements as her body as there needs to be some "ease" room to allow for movement. Maybe an inch or so at the waist, and at least a few inches through the hips. The exact amount depends on the fabric you use, how it's cut, and how you want it to fit. If you want to know how to sew a dart, just go to You Tube and type in "how to sew a dart." There are numerous examples.

It might be simpler to just use elastic for shaping though. Besides eliminating the need for darts, you need a way to finish the top of the skirt and hold it up, since you're thinking of using a leotard for the top.

I don't know of any particular formula, but maybe start by drawing (smaller scale to start) the shapes of the 3 panels that you want to fit together. The front two should be mirror images of each other, and you could shape the rear one differently (possibly like a godet) to get the fin feel. Allow a little extra width, especially through the waist and hips. More than just the ease, as you need some extra to pull in with the elastic -- but not too much. Be sure to add seam allowances too. Make a casing, and insert a piece of elastic that is sized to fit comfortably around her waist. Then analyze it to see what needs to be changed to get the effect you want. If it's too full and gathered, you need to cut it a bit narrower. You may want to make other changes to the shape. Possibly try it first half scale to keep things easier and not use so much material.
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Re: Please help me find or create a pattern for this dress

New postby k2k on Fri Nov 04, 2011 10:50 am

Just wanted to say thank for your help. I managed to sew what I think looks like a pretty good costume, if I do say so myself. I made a straight skirt, added 4 godets, turned a kind of goofy cutting problem into fins, and ruffled the front a little. Had some trouble using my ruffler foot but it works for a costume. My daughter and I are happily stringing beads to embellish the top and skirt. I'll try to post a link to pictures once she tries it on after I sew on the beads.

I am thrilled, it actually looks like a mermaid skirt. And I learned that it is possible for me to actually sew something! I had no idea. Perhaps, I will drag out that quilt I started for her 3 years ago.
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Re: Please help me find or create a pattern for this dress

New postby Mule on Fri Nov 04, 2011 8:36 pm

I'm glad to hear it turned out. Please post pics when you're done!
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