tales from the orient, another alice (2)

I realized that almost every single project I work on involves bias binding, which I call the ragequit of sewing. Especially since I usually end up making my own bias binding, I always have a ton of scraps leftover I can't ever use for another project since the colors I choose are always so damn obscure.

On this project especially, I had to use bias binding to finish all the edges of my silk pieces... which is basically the entire dress. Overlocking the edges of a silk piece is blasphemy. Never do it. Merrow edges are ok but those are mostly decorative anyways. I just think overlocking the edge of a silk piece lessens the quality of using silk in the first place (or maybe I just like to torture myself). I used bias strips cut from the lining fabric, which was a soft acetate. Still very difficult to sew considering my silk was stretch silk and the lining is very thin as well. The hem of the skirt is finished with self bias binding (the silk). You can imagine how long this took me, I pretty much wanted to call it a night after sewing the entire hem.

One of these days I better take a picture of all the damn bias binding I cut in one year.

Bias-bound edges for the silk pieces.

Lining pieces are overlocked ^

There is 1 zipper along the side of the dress as I did not want to put a zipper along the center back--I thought it would look cheap and gross.

For the cuffs, I pinned 3/8" width satin ribbon (this costume had a triple whammy-- silk charmeuse, double faced satin ribbon, AND bias binding=ragequit) and stitched these very carefully in place. Yes I interfaced the cuffs. I hand-gathered the sleeves along the cap (not along the entire cap, for a total width of 5", which was reduced to 3") I hand-gathered the bottom of the sleeve to fit my cuffs. Sewing cuffed sleeves are easy unless you have a tiny ass bicep and you have to end up hand-sewing the cuff along the inside because you can't wedge the fabric between the machine arm and the needle. For me it is easier to sew the entire sleeve piece, then attach the sleeve to the armhole because I don't want to have to deal with handling the entire dress just to sew on a damn cuff or something.

You can see that the ribbon does not match along the cuff seam--I didn't mind this because the ribbon is randomly placed in the reference images. Also, unless someone is staring underneath your arms, nobody is really going to notice this.

If you're going to be hand-gathering a lightweight fabric such as silk charmeuse, I highly suggest loosening your stitch tension and gently tugging the fabric while sewing to help the fabric move along smoothly. Or you could buy a walking foot that might make it easier. I will probably need to invest in one as I've been sewing all kinds of different things these days.

The petticoat is shown as below. I overlocked all the edges as you can see. If you sew a lot I suggest you spend the money and buy a serger, this one was about $300-$350 and you can use it for knits as well. I have the option of switching between a single-needle and double-needle option, which is great. Totally worth your money if you sew alllllll the time.

I sandwiched the ruffle as below, and you can see how using these 2 colors creates a cool effect.

Hand-gathered. This piece ended up being about 7 - 8' long, so 
I was sitting here gathering fabric for quite a while....

The pink layer is on the outside, yellow on the inside.

To finish up the dress, I had to sew the ruffles/pleats--I chose to go with pleats--at the center front. I used the leftover linen from my apron fabric and hand-pleated the trim. I just eyed the pleats as I stitched because I'm lazy and didn't want to mark equal distances on my pleats. Don't be lazy ok?

I sandwiched the pleats between the lining and the self fabric, right sides together. After you turn both inside out, you will have a beautiful clean edge as my photos below. It takes a bit of time and there's a ton of ironing involved but it's totally worth it. I don't even iron my day-to-day clothes on a regular basis.

Aaaaand here's a preview of what I've got so far! Yes the petticoat is sticking out a bit too much so I'll have to reduce it from the waistband area.

The only things left for me to do on this dress are to sculpt the necklace, dye the obi ties, and make the mask to finish the obi. I will be purchasing the stockings and boots.

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