Sprucing up my Standard gown - sewing questions!

For future projects yes, good idea. For the show next week, no time for shipping twice then sewing.

I may try a fishing line hem instead, like in the pink underskirt in my photo. I have spools of fishing line leftover from a previous project which I abandoned when I realized how slow and tedious it is to sew that with my old sewing machine.

However, the fishing line hem seems to gather the hem, making it more poofy (adding volume) but also less effective circumference because of all the doubling-back loopyness. That works great for acres of underskirt planned that way but may not work for this particular skirt Im trying to spiff up.

While googling for answers about crinoline I found a site "seems sensational dot com" which may be useful to those of us brave or foolish enough to attempt sewing our own gowns.
 

FancyFeet

Well-Known Member
The kind of crinoline horsehair braid we use on hems of standard gowns, is that "soft" or "stiff"? I'm ordering online and do not know what they consider soft/stiff. It seems stiff to me but maybe there is a kind that is more stiff for heavier fabric? Obviously underskirts are lightweight fabric. So maybe the kind we use is what they call soft? (To clarify, I'm modifying an existing skirt, so ordering just the crinoline braid tape stuff, not ordering a skirt or gown.)
Soft. The stiff stuff is quite heavy, and is way more than you want for a ballroom gown.
 

Sania

Well-Known Member
Bumping this, as we have another opportunity to perform our showcase routine and I want to fix the costume.

the short version:

how do you add a miniskirt / underskirt without creating a bump? the dress is princess seamed. can I pink the edge and topstitch it to the bodysuit?

Thanks!

Sania

I am making a new latin costume - princess seamed, six panels, with six quarter circle godets inserted to flare out the just above knee length skirt, all trimmed with 2" crinoline (what I had on hand)

I wore it for last weekend's showcase, and find that the skirt was pretty, did not have as much flirt / movement as I had hoped, so I am planning to add an underskirt.

I am thinking a fitted miniskirt with a circle cut flounce the depth of the godet and worked out to equal total circumference. Thinking about 1" crinoline on this as the 2" was stiffer than expected with my lightweight fabric.

Questions:

1. How to attach the miniskirt to the bodysuit without creating a bump visible from the outside? I am considering trimming the edge with pinking shears and then simply topstitching it to the leotard with no hem at the top - maybe two rows of zigzag 1/4" apart. Thoughts?

2. General comments and suggestions are welcome

Thanks!

Sania
 

Sania

Well-Known Member
one more question on crinoline: is there a good way to finish the edges? That is, when I join the 2" crinoline together to make a circle to finish the hem, the raw edge is very scratchy and wants to fray.

Is there a way to seal it or bind it?

Thanks,

Sania
 
one more question on crinoline: is there a good way to finish the edges? That is, when I join the 2" crinoline together to make a circle to finish the hem, the raw edge is very scratchy and wants to fray.

Is there a way to seal it or bind it?

Thanks,

Sania
Maybe a rolled hem on a serger? It's what I've used before on tulle.

As far as your skirt issue, I'm not sure if adding an underskirt is going to get the effect you want - I'm reading your issue as the skirt not being reactive enough / not whipping as much as you'd like or stated another way, the movement it had was softer / flowier than you wanted for a latin skirt. Another approach to get a whippier effect might be to add a slit along one of the princess seams (assuming it's not too risque for your taste) and add weight to the hemline - I've seen this done by encasing crinoline or interfacing in fabric and attaching it to the hem. The relatively higher mass at the hem will help create more of a pronounced swishing effect.

It's also possible that your topskirt doesn't have sufficient volume for the visual effect you want - if you use the design again you may consider deeper godets, additional godets (i.e. add more seams or slits at the bottom), or godets larger than a quarter circle - I've used 120 degree arcs before to squeeze more skirt volume out of a design.

I believe you'll be able to pull off the attachment without a bump with your plan, just obviously stretch the fabrics as you're sewing the zig zag. If it ends up leaving a bump, do you have a sash / belt or stones you could add to obscure the bump?
 

Sania

Well-Known Member
Maybe a rolled hem on a serger? It's what I've used before on tulle.

As far as your skirt issue, I'm not sure if adding an underskirt is going to get the effect you want - I'm reading your issue as the skirt not being reactive enough / not whipping as much as you'd like or stated another way, the movement it had was softer / flowier than you wanted for a latin skirt. Another approach to get a whippier effect might be to add a slit along one of the princess seams (assuming it's not too risque for your taste) and add weight to the hemline - I've seen this done by encasing crinoline or interfacing in fabric and attaching it to the hem. The relatively higher mass at the hem will help create more of a pronounced swishing effect.

It's also possible that your topskirt doesn't have sufficient volume for the visual effect you want - if you use the design again you may consider deeper godets, additional godets (i.e. add more seams or slits at the bottom), or godets larger than a quarter circle - I've used 120 degree arcs before to squeeze more skirt volume out of a design.

I believe you'll be able to pull off the attachment without a bump with your plan, just obviously stretch the fabrics as you're sewing the zig zag. If it ends up leaving a bump, do you have a sash / belt or stones you could add to obscure the bump?
Update:

1. Method to join ends of crinoline on an overlock machine (not a serger): LAP the ends, (do not pin right sides together), and use the overlock stitch with a short stitch length, then cut off the excess

2. I added a sixth godet to fill in the former slit, and when I patched in the new crinoline I had ordered I discovered that it was much softer than what I had on hand (which I had used to good effect on a paso skirt previously)

This explains why the skirt was not hanging properly. So I picked off several yards of crin (salvaged almost all of it) and am pinning on the newer, softer version and hoping for great things. I still may do the underskirt at a future date, once I see how the skirt looks with the new trim.
 

SwingingAlong

Well-Known Member
The last dress I got (Cheap via Ebay) turned out to be 3" too long, so I decided to shorten it myself. My fault, I self measured:rolleyes:. I found that using a spring clamp to hold the crinoline onto the bench (counter top?), and then gently tensioning the hem away from the crin and using a sharp knife (scalpel) to cut the stitching (between the hem and crin) made the job quite fast. I only nicked the edge of the crin once in all 4 layers. I trimmed the hamline using a 3" wide plastic rule and a rotary cutter and sewed it all back together. It turned out quite well, and was good practice for if I ever make my own dress with crinoline!
 
Where did the blushing smiley go? :)

That is a very lovely dress, and the skirts look pretty full, they just don't fluff out when not in motion. Personally, I would add an organza underskirt trimmed with crinoline that is attached to some kind of stretch material attached to the bodysuit around the hips/waist, just make sure it's got enough give/wide enough to stretch out and allow your legs to move freely.
thank you for your little attachment. just what i was looking for. bought a cheap bodycon dress (because it has so much sparkle) that is porno short but would look great with a long flowing skirt.
 

mindputtee

Well-Known Member
For finishing crinoline cut edges what I do is take the part that will be the "top" or facing away from the fabric after any turning is all said and done and measure about 2 inches beyond where it will cross over the bottom cut edge. I fold it back so that there is a smooth folded edge on the outside and the raw cut edge is turned under. Then I squeeze it together (because it will want to kind of fan out when you fold it and I don't want a weird bump) and do a vertical stitch through all three layers of crinoline.
 

mindputtee

Well-Known Member
I attach underskirts using the pinking and top stitch method and find it to be the best way to get a nice smooth lay. It will work best if you put it all on a dress form and hand baste everything in place before bringing it to the machine. You'll have less possibilities of bumps or shifting.
 
I am still planning the actual construction of my first standard dress - I was thinking I might make the underskirt in 3 tiers: top being half circle, middle a full circle and lower one, not sure, but obviously increased fullness. Then adding horsehair to the hem. Has anyone made an underskirt in this way?
 

FancyFeet

Well-Known Member
I would not recommend making the top layer less than 3/4 of a circle - and a full one is better. A half circle top layer might look nice while stationary, but won't look nice while moving... it will just make the fuller underskirts look restricted.

I have made dresses a few ways - 3 layers of 1.5 circle; 4 layers of one circle; top and bottom layer with one circle and a middle layer with ruffle (so like an extra half-skirt) at 1.5 circles. I've trimmed all layers with horsehair, or just the bottom two or 3 layers... sometimes exposed, sometimes folded under, sometimes exposed and folded. I've done just a simple rolled hem on the top layer, and once trimmed it with fishing line while the underskirts had horsehair. They all worked. (And I don't think I've made a dress the same way twice - I'm always using a different design and different techniques.)

For reference, if memory serves (I'd have to check my notes), my avatar picture is a full circle satin top layer with two full circle underskirts made of a heavy chiffon/light georgette, and a half layer at about 1.5 circles. All layers are trimmed with 3" horsehair, the underskirts folded under, and the top exposed and folded in half. It moves beautifully on me, but is heavier - so I wouldn't recommend this much fabric in this weight for a beginner that doesn't move as well or for anyone on the shorter side.

Edited to add: mindputtee and Laura's posts/blogs taught me much of what I know about dress construction - so if they chime in, I defer to them.
 
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Thanks for your response. I did think perhaps half circle was not enough, and might be a bit restricting. I was planning on using crystal organza for underskirts, with the horsehair trim. If I make one layer at a time I guess I can judge weight as I go along. I'm 5'8" so weight shouldn't be too much of an issue I hope.
 
I have a question regarding organza: if I am going to cut circles in crystal organza, will it still need to be hanging for a while for the bias to stretch out as in a heavier fabric?
 

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