Summer dresses have been the new fashion ‘’must have’’ this season, every lassies making it its first purchase of all the items in store. I have to say, it’s definitely one of the nicest dress currently available in-game! As an amateur dressmaker, I started to think how good would this dress look for real and before I knew it, I found my self scissors and pins in hands, cutting, sewing and adjusting a dress.
But be warned: I’m making dresses for fun, not to create something of quality gown. I’m no professional, I can’t bring myself to follow a pattern and I make everything by trial and error; sewing and unpicking over and over again. I totally skip the finishing part of every clothing I made, so that’s why I stick to Halloween or larping costumes, hehe. This being said, I think the experience demonstrates that even an unscrupulous tailor like me can have tons of fun creating costumes, so go ahead and try it out yourself!
Here are my versions of the Sleeveless, Long-Sleeved and Short-sleeved Summer Dress! The costume has three main pieces: the brown skirt, the green waistcoat and the leather corset. With that, I made a bohemian shirt to put under the waistcoat and used a white country shirt I had to make short and long sleeves. I’m glad I did because it’s now easy to wear outside both during fall and summer. If you’re planning your costume for Halloween, also remember that you might have to put a coat with it to go outside!
As you can see, I made some changes to the initial design. Some I made because it was easier for me to not add them, like the laced part of the sleeve and the belt clips on the corset. Others I choose for personal aesthetic reasons, like the bow in the back and the large number of golden embroideries. It does look good in–game, but I’m not sure it would do the same effect in real life! I think most important point is to create a project you’ll like to do and will like to wear.
Since I had no pattern to give me the general guidelines of the dress, I was literally starting from scratch. When that happens, I usually dig up a piece of clothing from my wardrobe to give me the proportions I’ll need to use when cutting the fabric.
For example, I used this tank top to direct me for the top of the dress and the corset. Don’t forget to cut the fabric half an inch larger around your clothe so when you actually sew the pieces together, the dress won’t be too small!
To create the corset I chose a vinyl imitation of leather. The thickness of the vinyl enabled me to make this bodice without using any other structure (you usually have to incorporate bones if you don’t want the fabric to wrinkle at every move!) making it super easy to put together. Moreover, you can use your sewing machine with vinyl and it’s also a lot cheaper then real leather. I did not even bother making a lining, I thought it was perfect just like that. Plus it’s super comfy!
I did bought a fancy clip and after making sure it won’t reopen ever again with the help of my hammer, I fixed a snap for easier use. Not very pretty from the inside, but the result is great!
The brown skirt is pretty basic. The first secret to a pretty skirt is definitely to have a lot of fabric. Even if you’re aiming for an A shape skirt, I recommend you have it look more like an half circle on your table. When putting it on, it will move beautifully. A second trick is to not sew all the pieces of fabric together. Sew it up to mid thigh, and then do a lining for each piece. The fabric will have a lot of movement when walking, but won’t show the leg, especially if you have a second layer of fabric right over the crack.
Good luck with your Middle-Earth Costumes and stay tuned for more!