I am so far behind on posting this. After two months of sewing off and on (almost three), the OP Walking Dress and Skirt for my Jacquard series is finally done.
Originally I planned on debuting this at Fan Expo, but I ran into some real life issues that needed to be dealt with, which left me little leeway in finishing it on time. My OP was close enough to being done that maybe I could have pulled it off, but I would have had to rush it. And then I just got distracted by other things. Career and moving, mostly. I have a legitimate excuse!
Below, side profile and back detailing:
The Jacquard Walking Dress is technically an OP, but it’s more versatile than that. The under dress is a skirt that can be detached and worn with a blouse for a more casual look. The outer dress of the OP can be detached as well, but its so fancy that I’m not exactly sure what I can coord it with besides the rest of the outfit.
I based the design for my OP off an illustration I did, from a series of prints and comics I’m working on collectively titled All Dolled Up. The prints were available at Toronto Canzine this year, and will be available again in August 2014, along with my zines and paper paraphernalia.
To guide me through the design process for the outer dress of the OP, I used Butterick Pattern 3640 as a template for the sizes. The pattern has been out of print for a while now, but I think you can still buy copies of it through places like Ebay or Etsy. The pattern for the Jacquard Walking Skirt (the under dress of the OP) was designed by me.
Below, side and back profile of the skirt, along with detailing on the bows and clasp:
The reason this dress took so long to complete is because I hate, hate, hate seams showing up on the inside. I know people will probably roll their eyes at this, but I like everything looking as neat on the inside as it does on the out. It’s almost compulsive, I think?
The skirt part of the OP is almost entirely hand sewn, as well as the pleating (hand tacked) and all of the lining, to hide the edges. I also had to hand sew wedding lace onto the sleeves, and construct the flat lace myself by stitching lace against a strip of ribbon.
The satin ribbon Duchess Bows are also made by hand. I think I’ll probably post a quick tutorial on how to make them later this month or the next.
The entire outfit is made from Jacquard linen, and the bodice and sleeves of the OP lined with Bemberg. The skirt of the OP is lined with a polyester blend as it doesn’t go next to the skin (slightly cheaper that way).
The bodice is semi-corseted, reinforced with spring steel boning and a busk, but its not adjustable, so if I gain or lose a lot of weight, the dress won’t fit. This wasn’t necessary, but one of my biggest pet peeves is seeing Rococo-inspired Lolita dresses that don’t have any boning.
You don’t need a full on corset/stays (too much, I think), but Rococo bodices have this distinctive shape – a relative flat front, with the chest pushed in and up – that complimented the look of skirt and sleeves much better than a bodice without them. But corseting is expensive and it requires tailoring, so I understand why it isn’t done often.
Overall, I’m mostly pleased with how this dress turned out. I made a couple mistakes along the way, but I think I did okay for making my first OP in five years. I was really out of practice.
Once I finish my accessories/coords for this series, I’ll take more pictures. I used to wear EGL only, back before I had to quit Lolita for a time, so like… I don’t even have a full classic coord yet. I don’t even know if this can be truly considered Lolita? I kinda got distracted, and went off and did my own thing (this happens way too often).
All supplies were purchased in Toronto, with the exception of the corset boning and busk. Details can be found below.
COST: $300 CND
DETAILS: Sax blue Jacquard linen with triple-stripe detailing, blue satin ribbon bows (Designer Fabrics), steel boning and busk (Farthingales), sax blue Bemberg lining for bodice, periwinkle blue polyester lining for skirt (Affordable Textiles). Flat lace, scallop lace, wedding lace for sleeves (Sussi’s).
Measurements: Bust 85cm (33.5in), Waist, 80cm (31.5in), Skirt Length 56cm (22in). Waist has been made 2.5cm (1in) larger to accommodate for the skirt underneath.
PRACTICAL USE: Medium. The dress is very sturdy, and because it’s been tailored to my size it’s relatively comfortable despite the boning. But it’s extremely fancy, so its only good for certain events. The steel boning and the wedding lace also mean that the OP must be dry-cleaned. So there’s expenditure there, as well.
TIP: If you’re making an OP/JSK that needs to be predominately hand sewn for tailoring purposes, give yourself 3 extra weeks to complete it (especially if you’re out of practice like I was/don’t have a lot of sewing experience).
Also – Jacquard is a pretty heavy fabric. It looks great for draping skirts, and works well for tailoring, but it’s a pain to gather because it’s so thick. Use Canvas-grade needles if you do.