Red Queen-To-Bea Part 2

For some bizarre reason, I decided to give up sugar at the start of this week. It was hell, and I gave up halfway through yesterday and heaped a sugar into my tea. This dress wasn’t helping me out at all! It seemed like nothing fit, and crazy stupid things were going wrong – hence the sugar, I needed it for my own sanity if nothing else!

The Shoulders
These were annoying. I used the shape of the shoulders from Simplicity 2442, with the amazing shaped neckline ending at a higher point on the shoulders, and tried to turn that into a whole shoulder piece by drawing out the shape I wanted for the front, and then measuring the length of my back from the top of my shoulder to the zip in the middle and roughly sketching from there. I made up a muslin and pinned it to the bodice front and back in order to make adjustments and finally ended up with a pattern piece about an inch smaller the whole way around! I cut two from the satin and then another two from the liner fabric that I recycled from the balldress, stitching all except the armholes where I was planning to insert sleeves.


I thought it would be an awesomely quirky feature that you can only get with home sewn garments, to cut a heart into the back. The zip stopped high back, but left the rest of my back exposed, and I didn’t have the time or patience to sew buttons or poppers along. And so, the Heart was born! I love it! I think it is my second favourite feature of the outfit.


I then machine stitched the front to the bodice on both sides, then sewed the liner over the top of that so that when I turned the liner to the inside, I would have a lovely smooth line across the whole bodice, with the shoulders set. On the back, I simply layered the shoulder so it sat behind the back piece rather than sewing RS-to-RS.

And herin I encountered a problem that sent me running to the kettle for a sugary tea. My needle snapped. Never before has this happened to me! I was just sewing the back of the shoulders to the back of the dress and my machine makes this most HORRIFIC noise! turns out the needle snapped clean in two. It took me a while (I don’t have a screwdriver, so it was sheer persistence) but I managed to switch my needles, setting me back even more than I already was!


The Sleeves
I changed my mind many times about the sleeves. Should they be black lace? Should it be sleeveless? Should the sleeves be sleek three quarter length in red with black trim? Or should I have little ‘Snow White esque’ puffball sleeves?

In the end, I opted for the puffball sleeves, despite only having forty minutes to make and set two sleeves. Set the clock! I used the sleeve pattern from my Sew Simple #001 Brigette dress, folding the pattern up to my desired size which was restricted by the amount of fabric I had left anyway. Then, I cut the two sleeves into four parts (I don’t have any photos because of my lack of time, sorry!) and cut two strips of black satin for the middle, about 2.5″ wide, and four strips of white satin, again about 2.5″ wide, for either side piece. Then I sewed them all together so it went red-white-red-black-red-white-red, and trimmed them so they all fit. Then I roughly pleated the white and black at the top and the bottom to create the puffball. I machine sewed along the seam, and set both sleeves in before realising I hadn’t hemmed either sleeve.

Drastically out of time, I used the same ribbon from the bodice as bias binding. Turns out, I had miss-judged the circumference of my upper arm, and the right sleeve was far too tight, so I had to adjust it by sniping through the ribbon bias along the hem and adding some more ribbon to fill the gap. So there is a tiny hole in my sleeve that is hidden, but there!

The End Result
I was hoping to add all sorts of extras, I wanted a ribbon set down the back with the other card decks on, and I wanted a crown. But, alas, the crown I cobbled together looked silly and wouldn’t stay pinned in my hair. I did have a rather marvellous red glass heart necklace from when I was in Venice that I added.

The Back of the dress with the heart detail cut in

The Back of the dress with the heart detail cut in

The front, with the lace up bodice and black insets in the skirts.

The front, with the lace up bodice and black insets in the skirts.

You can’t really see the sleeves properly, but all photos I tried to take just looked silly! the best one, showing the sort of style it was is this one (apologies for the terrible photography skills)

I think I needed to adjust the bodice a little more, or maybe I just needed to stand better! Either way, this project is finished, and I am not going to lie, as nice as it looks, I am really upset with how I handled this project and how it turned out. I had such a picture of what I wanted it to look like in my head and it just didn’t turn out like that! Oh well, it’s still a nice dress 🙂

Bye! Bea


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