I then faced the dilemma of the pattern. The skirt section didn’t phase me at all. I knew I would be drafting up a full 8 gore skirt. In my research, I was able to spot seams in the skirt. I drafted it as full as I could for the fabric. I wanted the skirt to float. I also cut out a petticoat of some stash cotton which would help hold the skirts out from my legs, giving it a nicer drape and providing a level of modesty if the wrap section opened up. This was especially an issue as I didn’t have enough fabric for an extra overlap layer of the outer skirts.
The bodice on the other hand took 4 drafts and mock-ups to get right. I started with halter vest pattern. I took out the length below the waist and drafted down the front to overlap. I then had to draft out the seams. This is what took the longest. Removing the seams yet keeping the shape intact. The one seam that proved the most difficult was at the bust. The bodice needed to support my bust enough that everything would stay in place. I ended up pivoting out the seam as much as I could. In the end, the piece came out really well and provided all the support I needed.
Then came the sleeves. I had assistance from my mum with drafting the pattern for these. I knew how I wanted to construct them, but we needed to drape them on my body to see how they fit. We draped paper over my arm and drafted the shape by hand. We redrafted the shape a couple of times to get it sitting right. I then cut out my sleeves from 2 layers of cotton velveteen and 1 layer of buckram. I millinery techniques to make the sleeve.
The first step was to stiffen the outer edge of the sleeve. I did so by sewing millinery wire with an overcast stitch along the edge. I then wrapped the first layer of velveteen around the sleeve and stitched it in place with a stab stitch (small back stitch). Next, I pinned the second layer of velveteen to the sleeve and used a whip stitch to sew along the edges to the first layer of velveteen.