Feb 202012

~Please also have a look at my other Star Wars costume reproductions! ~

Queen Jamillia – the crushed taffeta overdress, sleeves and collar

The overdress

I’ve started to make the overdress by using the Patterns of Fashion Loose gown.
I cut the pieces for front, side gores, back and an additional gore for the center back out from sturdy cotton fabric.
Then I laid those pattern pieces of cotton fabric out on crushed black taffeta, pinned them to it, and basted the black taffeta to it by sewing it down on the cotton along the length-wise crush.

After I had basted all the cotton pieces to the taffeta, I cut the pieces out and just assembled the overdress. Surprisingly the only thing I had to change compared to the original gown was to tuck approximately 2-3 inches of fabric under at the front opening; other than that, it immediately looked like the Jamillia overdress. To „overcome“ the „back-pulling effect“ of the large back gore which I added to make it look more like the real Jamillia costume, I added a waistband on the inside of the gown, which I tacked down on the side seams. That way the sides of the gown lie smooth along the body while the back with the gore can flare out.

Here are some pictures taken outside in the sun. Note that I had to lighten them a bit since the black crushed taffeta is SO black that, well, otherwise the crush effect wouldn’t have been visible. The overdress is worn over my Pelican gown farthingale; the triangular beaded piece is just pinned to the dress mannequin:

Now I need to hand stitch the front edge and the hem, which are just pinned in these pictures.

Here’s what it looks like when finished; worn over the finished, embroidered underdress:

Front of overdress Side of overdress Back of overdress
Overdress closure.
There’s a snap hidden behind the embroidered strip.
I’ve sewn pins to the sides of the overdress front, to be able to attach them to the underdress (the places where I have to attach those pins are marked with black thread on the underdress).
This is to prevent the overdress from slipping backwards when I walk (which it does because the back is lying on the ground and pulling on the front).

The sleeves

The sleeves, and that part I’ve studied pretty closely in the exhibit pictures, seem to be more like some kind of ‚cape‘. That means I’m not sure if the wing-like sleeves are attached to the overdress or not.

I’ve started on them by drafting a pattern, then cut that out in a sturdy cotton fabric, and lay those cotton fabric pieces of the cape / sleeves out on the crushed taffeta.

The original sleeves do have a certain direction into which the crushed taffeta runs; so I tried to imitate that the best I could by laying them out in precisely that manner:

Sturdy cotton fabric sleeves / cape pieces laid out on the crushed taffeta.
And yes, the cotton fabric has a pattern on it. I bought it years ago and made something else from it; so these are basically just remnants. I need the cotton fabric to stabilize the sleeve ‚wings‘, so they won’t collapse.

 After pinning the cotton pieces to the taffeta, then sewing along all edges and basting the taffeta to the cotton fabric, I assembled the sleeves / cape. Here’s a first test fitting of that cape-like winged sleeves over the overdress:

There’s still no lining in the sleeves. Also, of course, the embroidered trim is still missing; and so is the collar. But I have the impression that this is the correct shape for the sleeves / cape.

A picture of the sleeve trim embroidery in progress:

The first of four frames of sleeve trim being embroidered. The fabric is on the bias (at a 45 degree angle from the weft direction) so I can basically use it like bias trim on the curved sleeve.

Here is another pic of all the almost-finished pieces pinned to the dress mannequin. The trim on the sleeves isn’t sewn down yet:

You can see where the embroidery basically ’stops‘ at approximately mid front.

Also, collar turtleneck on the collar still missing; and the trims on the sleeves aren’t basted down yet, just pinned.
As I said – just to see what it looks like so far… and I like it 😀

More pics of the finished sleeves, worn over the embroidered underdress and the overdress:

The sleeves „cape“ closes with two snaps a the front. I think this is one of the few pics that shows the velvet piping along the sleeves trim really well.

The Collar

Collar embroidery in progress. You can see the connector stitches (black thread), which I have to cut manually – while embroidering. For that I have to pause the machine 10 times per frame, on average.

Cutting the aforementioned connector stitches.
Most people prefer small scissors for that job, I like to do it with large scissors simply because they allow me to reach farther on the embroidery hoop.
Why DO I have to cut the connectors while embroidering and not afterwards, when everything is finished?
Because otherwise, the machine might embroider over them again, making it more difficult to cut them in the end.

Here’s the first half of the collar trim. It still needs to be sewn to a velvet base and I still need to cut some of the connector stitches that the embroidery machine leaves behind but I guess you get an impression. Since the collar trim has to be embroidered in a curve, it’s pretty difficult:

First glimpse at the first embroidered half of the embroidered Jamillia collar trim

And here’s the finished collar embroidery (still not attached to the velvet; or the stiff interfacing base. I am using ‚Decovil‘, an interfacing often used to create stiffer handbags, by the way. This will be sandwiched between the layers of velvet / trim and satin lining of the collar.

To make the comparison between my reproduction and the original easier, I’ve prepared pics that show both. Note that the pictures of my embroidery were taken outside, in the sun; so they’re more beige-ish and not as bright as the original embroideries (of which the pictures were taken inside, with a flash – in case of the back view, obviously from a greater distance).
In the picture of the original collar from the front, you can see the satin lining that’s inside the collar very well (right side of picture; collar towards the back of the shoulder).

The embroideries aren’t 100% in the places where they are on the original collar; but other than that I think I got the pattern pretty well nailed on.

Here’s the collar with the trims and the black velvet base sewn down to the stabilizer. Also, the satin lining is in place, too – just that you can’t see it. The collar doesn’t sit so well since it’s just pinned. The trim on the sleeves isn’t sewn down yet, which is why it looks weird:

Some more pics of the finished collar:

Collar front Collar side

Collar back

The collar attaches to the sleeves cape in the back with a snap.
The turtleneck is closed with velcro at the back.
I’ve made the brooch with polymer clay, a real piece of abalone shell and black and golden paint.
Also, I’ve attached a safety pin to the back so I can pin it to the collar.

Continue reading the dress diary by going to the embroidered underdress.

~Please also have a look at my other Star Wars costume reproductions! ~

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