Apr 152011

The skirt

Looking at the picture I can see that the double box pleating is very deep:

This image clearly shows (hopefully!) that the skirt is double box pleated; meaning instead of one pleat, there are two pleats over one another.

This means that I can use a straight strip of fabric, length must be from waist to floor plus some inches for hemming; and the width must be at least four times my waist circumfence.

This would – in my case – be about 28 inches / 70 cm. If I multiply that with four, I come to about 112 inches / 280cm, which I personally consider a little small for such a skirt. I will therefore add some inches to come to a width of about 137 inches / 350cm and make even deeper pleats at the backside of the dress.

Additionally, I will flat line the silk satin with crinoline netting – a stiff, fine nylon netting – to reinforce the thick but rather soft draping satin.

Now – on to the fabric I’m planning to use…
(I’m writing this before having laid my hands on any of it, basically it’s planning…)

About a year ago, I’ve bought a large amount of extremely heavy, thick bridal silk satin. It was supposed to be used for this gown, but as I have by now found a different fabric for that one, I’ll use some of the bridal satin – of which I have fifteen yards or so – for this particular gown.
The fabric was originally 60 inches wide; 58 after washing (but not dyeing) it.
137 inches (the width I have calculated above for the skirt) divided by 58 is… about 2.36. I can’t (or rather: won’t) cut 0.36 from the breadth of this satin, so I’ll basically make a three-panel-skirt (from three lengths of fabric).
This makes my skirt even w-i-d-e-r, 174 inches or about 440cm, to be exact – and I’m oh so happy with that 🙂

So… considering that a single length must be about 50 inches / 125 cm long – hem on upper and lower side of skirt included in the calculation – and I’ll need three of those lengths, plus one more yard for the bodice, I’m getting to the conclusion that I should cut 4,75m / 187 inches from my fifteen yards of satin and dye them before I start anything.
Better a little more, so I won’t get into trouble if the fabric should shrink during the dye (even if it’s pre-washed) – 5 meters (that’s about 5.5 yards) should be sufficient and is about the same amount of fabric as I have used of the velvet for my Pelican gown.
(I’ve written that before I started anything, as I’ve said – so – if the bodice in this costume diary comes *before* this skirt, please forgive me – I’m tending to work on these pages a little in advance…)

And after writing the calculation above, I hurried to my satin stash, cut off the appropriate amount and threw it into the washing machine for dyeing 🙂
I didn’t have enough of the cobalt blue dye, though – just one packet, which is just enough to give five yards of fabric a light to mid blue tone.
This is why I have added two packets of Dylon’s “Arabian Night” color to the dye bath – it’s a bit darker than cobalt blue; I hope it will turn out nicely. At this moment the fabric is dyeing, and I’m patiently waiting for it to become blue…
I’m currently reminded of a discussion I’ve recently read on a costuming board about dyeing satin; I think I’ll add something to my “Fabric dyeing” tutorial page… done.

…one day later…

By now the satin has dried. It’s much more a mid-blue than a cobalt blue – much likely to the color of my “Maria di Medici” gown. I’m still contemplating to re-dye the fabric to achieve a more cobalt blue color…

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