Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Blue Velveteen Bodice/Sleeveless Spencer

I finished my new evening bodice just in time to wear to the RSV Valentine's Social on Sunday!  Barely.  :p  I was so nervous about cutting it out that I kept procrastinating on it, so it's fortunate that it went together as easily as it did.  I'm very glad I made a mock-up of my pattern first!

When I finally did cut out the velveteen pieces, I made sure to lay them out to get the maximum usage out of my very small remnant of fabric.  I wanted to make sure I had enough left over to make a matching hat, you see.

I also decided, after finding the following images via Pinterest, that I wanted my evening bodice to sport what I have affectionately dubbed "shoulder sausages":

You can see the appeal, right?
So next I drafted a pattern for those, based on measurements of the top of my arm and how "tall" I wanted them to be when finished.  I came up with a long tapered curved piece, cut on the bias to give it stretch.

I folded the cut pieces in half and used that as a guide for cutting strips of quilt batting for light stuffing.

I was planning to gather them down into segments which would later be decorated with pearls, so I didn't want to over-stuff them.  Here's a mock-up of the segmented look:

I lined the bodice with a piece of some slinky synthetic stuff that I've had forever, which happens to be the exact right shade of royal blue to match my velveteen and make me forgive its horrible fiber-inaccuracy, but to be safe I flat-lined it with muslin so it wouldn't stretch all out of shape.

I actually forgot to add the extra seam allowance at the front when cutting out the lining (the edge of my muslin pattern is the center front, which I need to correct when I copy it onto a paper pattern), but fortunately this was before I cut out the velveteen.  I was able to compensate by adding lots of extra space on the velveteen, which I then used as self-facing.

I gathered the segments in the shoulder sausages by hand before attaching them to the bodice.

After these were sewn in, I faced the armholes with wide bias tape, tacking it to the lining by hand.

Trying on for fit:

You can see there's quite a bit of overlap in front.  
Shoulder sausages are oh, so de la mode.
Of course I patterned and fit the bodice over my Blue Day Dress, then wore it to the event over my Apron-Front Gown, which has a significantly higher neckline.  Oh well.  I chose comfort on the day, because the sleeves on the blue dress are too tight and I didn't have time to fix them.  I also didn't have time to add the pearls to the sausage segments like I wanted, and I didn't like how plain the front is.  But it was wearable, and I can always make changes to it later.

After these pictures were taken I added gathers to the front at the underbust and attached the waistband to finish.  I was sewing skirt hooks on in the car, so the social was just like any other costuming event!  :p  It was a lot of fun, but that's next post.  I do have pictures up on Facebook, in case you can't wait.


  1. I went on Facebook in Stalker Mode (now with 20% more zoom lens!!) and gawked at your ensemble for a while. First: Them pin curls. Absolutely adorable. Second: Blue is your color. The spencer (sausage shoulder bits and all) looks great on you. Last: when did you make that bonnet? I've been the walking dead for a few months, but I don't remember it.

    1. Awww, thanks! I do like blue. :) I made the bonnet back in September so my mom could come with me to a Regency event properly attired. I only added the blue ribbon to it for the day.