Sunday, May 5, 2013

Lady of the Lake: making the dress

Hello lovelies!
So you may remember in my last post I mentioned I had started a little craft project between making my silicone tail. This is it! :D

About three weeks ago it occurred to me that the Medieval Fair was fast approaching, and although I already had a very beautiful dress: I was keen to make my own. The big reason being the dress I already owned was made for me when I played Lady Macbeth - it is a very dark blue that looks black until it shimmers in the light, with a gold trim. Although it is very beautiful, it was made for a Lady Macbeth kinda woman; and out of character I am the complete opposite. haha! I wanted something that was more 'me'.

Of course, money was a bit of an issue. Because my tail project is rather expensive I did not want to fork out lots of $$$ for material. BUT- lucky for me, while I was home over Christmas mum and myself visited an Op Shop and found a material area, where I fell in love with 7.5metres of beautiful ice-blue satin... for $10. Score! So I pulled that out of my material box and went to work deciding what I wanted.

First off- I would like to say I have NEVER sewn a whole outfit before.
The best I've ever really done was bits-and-pieces for cosplays or a big black cloak or simple circle skirts, and of course mermaid tails. I'd never tackled a whole dress, with sleeves or bodice or lining. So... this project had the potential to be a complete disaster! haha!
Pretty happy to have this book, though, it certainly answered a hell of a lot of questions when I was confused.

I decided to use a pattern, because I could NEVER make a dress without one (my brain somehow cannot wrap around making patterns, its like a puzzle and I just suck at puzzles), and I found one I loved by Butterick!
This was my initial design idea:
Sorry about the quality, I did it at work on Paint. haha!
I already had the silky blue material, but I wanted something see-through to fall from the sleeves and from the front of the skirt, so I decided on a slightly darker blue chiffon! I wanted silver details so the trim around the waist, neck and sleeves was to be silver, as well as the corset lacing and eyelets at the back. I also wanted to add lace somewhere to the bodice, and maybe even pearls and crystals to make it shimmer.
It was looking to be a big project...

I went to Spotlight the eve of  Wednesday the 17th of April, looking for the pattern. I'd hoped to get started over the weekend to give me lots of time to make mistakes (haha!) and take my time. BUT... They didn't have any in the small size (patterns normally go for two sizes, small 6-8-10-12 and then large 12-14-16-18), and after ringing around all of the city no Spotlights had them ><; I also didn't have time to drive around visiting any places either, so that night I desperately searched on eBay for any Aussie sellers of the right size... and... I found one! XD Two seconds later it was paid for with express shipping and all I could do was wait and stress. haha!

Unfortunately, the pattern didn't arrive until Wednesday 24th the next week. Stupid Australia Post.
But, in the mean time I'd looked up the pattern details online and had been purchasing the rest of the material needed to make it. So when it arrived that evening I turned our lounge room into this:
And discovered that cutting out patterns actually took a pretty long time...

 I managed to start the bodice, and Thursday the 25th (which was a public holiday) I had finished it! Lining and all! ^_^

Then that afternoon I finished the sleeves!!! I was super excited about that. I ran around the house with them going "I HAVE FLOWY SLEEVES!" while Mikey just sat patiently agreeing. haha! I loved the look of the chiffon hanging longer beneath :D

There's a bit of a photo-gap here. I made the skirts, which was the easiest bit (probably because I'd made skirts like that before) and was super stoked. Its hard to see here but the front has a chiffon panel over the top of the skirt. But... I wasn't entirely confident on attaching it or the sleeves to the bodice. SO, in comes Kelly to the rescue! :D She showed me how to attached the skirt, which I did with her, and how to attach the sleeves. That's why there is only one sleeve on in the picture, because I had yet to attach the next sleeve- and as I was doing it alone, I wanted evidence before I screwed it up. haha!

But, I did it! ^___^ By Sunday the 27th I had a full dress- obviously not complete but it was getting close! :D

Then it was on to the trim, which I hand sewed. UGH. I hate hand sewing. It look me all Monday 28th evening to attach the trim to the arms and waist. By then I was keen to start adding my own details so I started pinning on some beautiful lace trim I'd found to the bodice and sleeves.
 Here's a visual of where I was from then. The trim on the sleeves and waist were done, and this is where I wanted the lace to go!
I spent all Tuesday 30th evening hand-sewing on the lace and the last of the neck trim. I still have holes in my fingers from where I stabbed myself constantly.

 Wednesday the 1st! It was 3 days until the fair! *gulp*
That day I had to take the dress in, as I'd made it too big. That wasn't too hard, but then I had to add the corset eyelets. Which I admit I had some trouble with, until Mikey came to the rescue. We got a production line happening and it was finished in no-time! :D
This is what the corset lacing looked like once it was all finished! :D (I did however change the lacing so that the bow was at the bottom of the bodice, as it looked nicer)
This evening I also managed to make a circlet to match the dress out of some chain and a decorative wedding piece I'd found (I think it might've been a belt buckle? haha!). I added some Swarovski crystals I had purchased earlier from an online store, so it was sparkly. One crystal was shaped like a starfish so I made that the centre piece (sorry, I didn't take any photos until I was wearing it!).

By Thursday I felt really great. I was so close to finishing!
So I started adding all the Swaorvski crystals and pearls I had using special fabric clue! I only added them to the lace, as I discovered by accident that the glue (although drying clear) left marks on the silky fabric.

Friday 3rd of May- the next day was the fair!
I took the dress to Kelly who helped me hem the skirts and sleeves using an overlocker :D I also added the last of the blue lace to the bottom of the chiffon on the skirt.

So finally... after around a week and a bit of sewing...
So, it is still a little too big around the bodice and waist, but I am so pleased with it! :D
And here's a close-up of the circlet and a peak at the pearl necklace I threw together to match XD

I wrote a little thing regarding the character I'd personally envisioned the Lady of the Lake to be:
"I am the Lady of the Lake. I am neither fae nor naiad.
I have been called many things, but I have no mortal name.
I hail from Avalon, although I fade between worlds.
I am both Queen to the waves and slave to them.
To summon me requires sacrifice and a courageous heart;
but if you succeed you will be known throughout the ages."

 The back and sleeves
 Without my ears, but another look at the circlet and bodice
The bodice and sleeves and extra shiny under the waist :D

And here are some of the very few photos I took from the fair! :D
Opening parade. I love the outfits the lady archers are wearing!
 Some knights!
I love the green dress on the left <3
 Doris the owl, she was the cutest little bird ever.
 This guy was so cool! He kept calling me 'Elven Queen' and was in character the whole time!
Mikey in a shiny helmet making a face at me. haha!
 Lauren took a photo with Kelly Scott and myself- we were both elves! :D
She was so sweet- I could stick my finger in her beak and it didn't hurt, and I was aloud to pat her and massage her head. She made super cute squeaking noises.

All-in-all I had the BEST DAY! I saw so many friends and so many cool outfits/costumes. I wish we had more than just one medieval fair a year! X3 There were knights on horses jousting, sword fighting, taverns with pig-on-the-spit and mead, so many awesome stalls and entertainment!  Mikey is keen to get a suit of armor so he can join some of the sword-fighting groups, which is awesome. I would join him but I'm a wuss and I have too many hobbies as it is! haha! 

As for the dress, I am so happy with it! I need to take it in a little bit, but for my first dress ever I am rather proud. I will do a proper photoshoot with it later, as there is a head dress I really want to make to match it!

But, I wont be sewing for a while now. haha!

Thank you for reading! :D


  1. Oh Adelaide! The guy who called you elven lady is a friend of my cousins!

    You look amazing and like you had a tonne of fun <3

    1. Haha, Adelaide really is tiny! XD Thats awesome! He did such a great job at staying in character!
      I did have lots of fun :3 thank you! <3