Italian Renaissance Returns!

Remember this?

Nearly a full year later, I've gotten around to making the rest of that project! I did finally fix up the back. I wanted to make that panel in the upper back smaller so the top straps of the sleeves would stay up better on my shoulders. It is a much better fit now!

Since the last time I took pictures of this I was still using my laptop to do so, I figured it'd be good to update some of those images here - the rickrack on the sleeves especially. This was the blouse I made from two skirts: the body of the shirt and the back panel are made from the built-in underskirt from regular store bought skirts. The body was easy enough - I cut out the longest underskirt I have, from a long yellow skirt and simply attached the rest to it, nothing else changed. The best part of it was that all the hemming and side seams were completely done, no extra work, this way.

The back panel was the remainder of an underskirt that had ripped. It's really very flimsy; I've no doubt the first thing to go on this would be the back panel!

The sleeves are made of one skirt, the top portion of the same skirt that the back panel is made of. It was a very flared skirt, and I thought I might have enough for two sleeves out of it. I cut off the waistband and used that as the straps, cut the skirt in half lengthwise to form two separate pieces, and simply gathered the wide lower hem for the cuff, nearly at the end so that it would leave a bit of a ruffle at the hand.

Now for the next stage! I've got the bodice mostly ready, and the skirt is in its earliest stages. I got a fabric specifically for making a mock up, so I don't have to ruin the special fabric I've got for the finished dress. It's not anything fancy, just a heavy red fabric, but the last thing I want is to ruin it!

As you can (sort of) see below, I started with the bodice being a square neckline, but messing around with it today, I found I liked it better with the corners removed. I want to draft the skirt to have a center panel of a different fabric between, though I don't know what fabric that will be, and whether I'll make a separate skirt or just sew in a panel down the front. Nothing but the bodice sides are sewn together, so everything is a little droopy around the pins.

The skirt is very much a work in progress. I have four rectangles pinned together with a hasty gather pulling the back two panels together. I'm going to work from there - I need to relax the lower hem so that the skirt swings full instead of pulling back as it tends to now: that'll mean cutting the panels into more tapered/triangular pieces, with more material at the bottom and narrower where it will join the bodice. I want to gather just the centre back, not the full back two panels, but I wanted to be able to pin it on today and see where I was, so that's how that happened. It won't look like this when it's finished.

I may keep the draft of the square neckline for the under dress, or the panel, as the case may be. As I can only work on this weekends when I have the spare time around homework and odd evenings, this may be a long project in finishing yet!

Thanks for looking!