Drafting an Evening Gown and Couture Sewing, Part 3

Well… it’s been a bit longer than I expected it to be to get this post done. But as life is, things got busy all at once and now I finally have enough of a break to write again! So, here we are at Part 3, moving on to the making of the inner foundation and the last finishes of the dress. Catch up with Part 1 here and Part 2 here if you missed them.

The next thing I got to work on, before the inner corselet, was the pleated sash. I wasn’t entirely sure how to get it to hold all the pleats without them opening up. I wound up pleating it and fusing some interfacing to the back to keep the pleats, well, pleated. I added a backing and got to work hand stitching the sash to the waist of the bodice. I attached hooks and eyes where the two short ends meet at the back so it could be opened and closed as needed for passing the zipper through.

Now my favorite part! I think this will work best as a whooole bunch of photos with captions! Enjoy!

The first step was to cut the pieces of the corselet. I used my same pattern pieces as the dress, cutting one set from the lining fabric and another set from a strong, stretch mesh. The mesh pieces were cut about 1/2″ smaller on the sides so that it would pull everything very tight. I basted the two layers together along the top.
I tried these bodice pieces on to determine where I should put the underwires and foam cups. I purchased the cups, underwires, and casing as pre-made items from a few online shops. I first got the cups sewn in place, using a zigzag stitch all around the edges. I then added the casing and slipped the underwires inside. Not shown: I used a wide hook and eye tape as my closure at the back. You will notice it in the next few photos.
I determined where I wanted to have boning: At each seam, at the back close to the zipper, and at center front forming a V shape with the ends close to each cup. I used twill weave tape as my casing and got those sewn into place along the sides and top.
Here is what the final distribution of boning placement looked like. Notice the eye tape on the right side. The hook tape is on the left underside.
To insert the boning, I first added the cap to one end of my spiral metal boning. I wrapped it in some tape to prevent any edges that could poke through the casing. I slid the boning inside the casing and marked where it should be cut. I cut it with some strong wire cutters, then added the cap and tape to that end. I pushed the boning inside the casing and sewed the bottom closed.
The next step was to attach the waist stay. This went on the lining side of the corselet. I measured on my body the length it needed to be. Because it is made of grosgrain ribbon with no stretch, this needed to be precise. I tacked it in place at each boning placement and left it free on the ends.
The waist stay was finished with a large hook and bar set as a closure.
I finished the corselet by binding the top edge with the outer dupioni fabric. I then tried it on with the dress over it to confirm the placement on the dress itself. I then handstitched the corselet at the top to the lining of the dress.
These small slip stitches hold the corselet securely in place. It is attached to the dress lining only as far as the armscye.

I hope you enjoyed following my journey of making this dress. It was a great learning experience for me and I get to apply these techniques in other gowns and learn something new for each of them. I am happy to answer any questions you may have, to the best of my ability!


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