So, after working on the foresleeves I started putting together the bodice. This has been the most exciting part! The bodice has a very feminine form but (as I thought) the square neckline was too large for me. I noticed it immediately and after cutting front and back panels I shortened shoulders. This process forced me to pleat upper sleeves a little, so my dress looks like a Tudor court gown with...puff sleeves. Yeah. *laughs*.
Anyway, I chose as main fabric for the overdress a beautiful burgundy taffetta which looks sooo period without being too much expensive (5€ at mt more or less). I already faced this kind of fabric with a bought skirt which needed a new hem but this one is less soft and bright, so I think the skirt is made of silk taffetta, while mine is of polyester (reenactors, don't read!). I still have to iron it so don't watch the wrinkles.
The fabric, anyway, is really easy to be cut but be careful when starting to baste it: use a very thiny needle and make small stitches. This works with pins as well so pay attention when pulling them through the fabric because you may risk to torn it! Every stitch is almost visible with this fabric so be really careful and patient. I used pins to keep together skirt panels (but we'll talk about that later) and a normal basting thread for bodice and sleeves.
I'm totally in love with the end of the bodice. I have seen many Tudor gowns with rounded bodice base but this pattern as a pointed base which drives me crazy everytime. I can't wait to attach the pleated skirt to see the effect!
I clean-finished the back bodice before proceeding with the sleeves and my boyfriend/tailor assistant/photographer has been so kind to apply eyelets on the back. The dress should be boned for a perfect shape and even if I decided to avoid them and wear it with a separate corset as underwear (girls, keep in mind corsets or stays are studied to stay under your clothes, not over as in the modern gothic-victorian fashion so don't think to put a corset on your Tudor gown!!), it needs eyelets. It's an important part of the dress because it gives a correct period look and no one will know if your gown is boned or not unless you won't say it. The corset gives a completely different shape to the bodice, it keeps your breast in place and gives you a better posture. I use a normal halfbust corset in burgundy velvet with steel bones.
Now let's talk about sleeves. Upper sleeves are a sort of normal t-shirt sleeves and you don't need more suggestions about them. Lower sleeves have to be discussed a little. While attaching the sleeve you have to work on the right side of fabric, because those big sleeves have to be reversed to show the lining. I didn't have enough budget to buy a contrasting lining so I chose a simple black satin which will be used for the veil as well. It's not so difficult: after sewing the sleeves take the lower edge and reverse it, attaching it to the upper sleeves. The lower hem will be the hem of the new, shining, sleeve. After this process, the upper part of your overdress is done (trims exclused, for sure).
Now, it's time to put the bodice on and attach foresleeves to the dress using ribbons. As I told before, foresleeves were tired to the main dress with ribbons sewn at the base of lower sleeve (where you reversed the sleeve, to be clear). My foresleeves still have to be finished with the inner sleeves so consider them a work in progress.
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