Sep 17, 2015

The Making of the Jellyfish {AKA The Graduation Dress} | Part 2 The Bodice

I'm back guys! My new computer is fantastic and makes editing so much easier and faster! As promised, here is part 2 of The Making of the Jellyfish {AKA The Graduation Dress}, which is about the making of the bodice.

This is my bodice mock up with the completed skirt. I drafted the bodice myself without any patterns and was able to get the mock up completed in a few hours.

All my bodice pieces cut out. I cut the pieces out of my satin and then out of a pink broadcloth to flat line the bodice. Flat lining, for anyone who doesn't know, is just cutting the same bodice pieces out of another fabric then basting them onto the fashion fabric pieces. It helps strengthen the fabric and reduces unwanted wrinkles.

Next I zig zagged the edges of my satin and broadcloth pieces. After that I basted the flat ling onto the satin pieces.

I had a bit of a "duh!" moment after I finished this. I realized that I could have just zig zagged the lining and satin pieces together instead of doing them separately and then basting them together.

Next I stitched all of the bodice pieces together.

Then I stay stitched around all of the round corners - which were the arm holes and the neckline. Stay stitching is just basting around curved edges. It keeps the fabric from stretching out of shape while you're still working on it.

One of my favorite tricks, which saves time and money, is to use bias tape for boning channels. I just used 1/2" double fold bias tape and stitched it onto my seam allowance on all the seams of my bodice. It works great and you can get it for cheap at any sewing store!

 The completed boning channels.

At this point I cut out all of my boning. I use thick zip ties for boning. They're cheap and I haven't had any problems with them. The pieces are roughly 1/2"-1" shorter than the boning channels plus seam allowance.

After debating on how to finish the edges I finally decided on this method. I traced the top 2 inches and bottom 2 inches of every pattern piece, cut them, zig zagged the edges, then sewed them together like I did my normal bodice pieces.

I ironed the seams flat then stitched the bottom pieces, right sides together, then folded it over to the inside and hand stitched it down with a whip stitch.

I did the same thing with the top, but first I had to add the elastic straps. I needed flesh colored elastic, but wasn't able to find any in the stores that was the right size (it was either way to wide or way to small). After doing some research I learned that a lot of dancers tea dye their elastic. I did a couple of tests with tea's that I had on hand and some extra elastic.

I tried several different types of tea, but the one that worked the quickest and got the best color was Tazo Organic Chai tea. I think I let the elastic "steep" for a couple of hours before it was a good color.

 After the elastic was done I put the boning into the bodice and then pinned the elastic onto the bodice underneath the finishing strip (I'm not sure what this would be called...) and stitched it just like the bottom. I decided this time that I needed to under stitch the top to keep the edge nice and flat. I ended up doing this by hand because the elastic wouldn't allow my machine to sew along the arm hole. At least not very easily. After that was done I tacked it down like on the bottom. It ended up making a big difference!

The finished under stitching. Not very pretty but it worked!

After that was done I stitched my zipper onto the back. I had to use a separating zipper for the bodice, and it ended up looking pretty good but because they didn't have any in pink and I had to get white it's a little more obvious that I would like. Plus it's a pretty big zipper!

Here's some shots of the nearly completed bodice...

 I  contemplated a lot on what to do for the arms. I wanted some type of sleeve or sleeve type thing. I ended up using the shoulder sleeve thing from Anna's dress from Simplicity 1215. After I made it up I hand stitched it o the inside of the bodice.

The pieces, zig zagged, stitched, and clipped...

Ironing makes a huge difference! Especially in something like this. The bottom piece is ironed while the other one is not.

My hand stitching. I did two rows just to make sure it was secure. Probably overkill but I don't hand sew that often so I wanted to make sure it was secure.

Lastly, I had to sew the skirt to the bodice. I did this by hand, with the tiniest stitches I could manage. I wanted to make sure it was secure since the skirt was fairly heavy. When I was finished it was very secure and I didn't have any problems with it.

And that's about it! I had wanted to embellish the bodice and add jewels or something to the skirt, but I decided not to because I was running out of time and didn't want to stress over it.

I hope you enjoyed seeing how I made this dress and hope you learned something! Please feel free to ask any questions.

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