Thursday, May 19, 2011

Construction of The Black Forest

You know how brands are always naming their prints things like Milky Planet, Vampire Requiem, and Creamy Soda Pop. Well my print is called The Black Forest, so my dress is called, you guessed it. The Black Forest!

My you are a grumpy lolita!

I'm really proud of this dress, it's a little unfinished, and there are some construction issues with the bodice, but all in all it just what I wanted. And now I'm here to tell you a little bit about how it was made.

I bought velvet for the bodice, if you can avoid working with velvet please try. It's essentially tiny fuzzy balls all strung together to create a fabric, and those balls will fall apart with the least bit of provocation. If you do want to work with velvet, keeping a few bottles of Fray Check at hand is a very good idea. I used a pattern for the bodice, but altered it of course.

As you can see I cut out the pieces of the bodice, but before sewing them together I hid some red trim in the front so it was just peaking out. Only the first three pieces were sewn together at this time.

Before sewing the back part of the bodice on I sewed on my military style braids with gold thread. Also something you should avoid if you can help it. Metallic thread is incredibly thin thread with the foil-like metallic part spun around it. It snaps terribly easily and it's frustrating when your braiding keeps moving. The patches I had to sew on by hand because they were slightly beaded. They used to be frog toggles and clasps, but I cut the toggle and clasp parts off and used them as decoration. A maroon embroidered lace was added onto the front. After wards I sewed the back parts onto the bodice and added in a lining.

Here's a closeup of the patches. It's a good detail shot of some of the trim I used as well. You can see what I did with the rose buttons from an earlier post.

When I sewed on the skirt I realized it was too long because I wanted to add a fat line of velvet to the bottom to tie the fabrics together better.

So I cut it off.

There, that's better. Then I added more of the embroidered lace to the bottom of the skirt

Close up of the embroidered lace. It's quite soft and silky. I bought 8 yards of this lace, I used 7 on the dress alone.

After finishing up the dress enough so that I could wear it I knew I was gonna need some sort of head piece for the Lolita Fashion Show at Wonder NW. So I threw together a simple headdress out of the scraps left over from the dress. The tree line of The Black Forest makes up the main piece, with a strip of gold braiding running down the middle, and that maroon embroidered lace looks just as nice flat as ruched.

The bows are super tiny and made of velvet. They are possibly one of the most difficult things I've ever made! And you see that little ball trim on the end? You can't really tell from my pictures, but I used that same trim on the part of the sleeves where my arms poked through, and it was HELL to sew into those tiny bows.

You can see in this picture I added some more gold trim to the bottom, but I haven't decide if I like it. I just put it on for the show, but I might replace it with something I like better at a later date.

So far this dressed has cost me around 167$ not counting things like the blouse, accessories and such. A pretty penny to be sure, but well below what a brand lolita dress, or hell even something from Fanplusfriend would cost. Plus I get the satisfaction of people asking me where I got my dress, and I get to tell them I made it^^!


  1. Yay, a sewing post! The dress turned out great. I really love the fabric you chose, and the design's really cute!

    I've never had too many issues sewing with velvet, aside from the fact that top-stitching it can be a bitch. Also, it will make your sewing machine fuzzier than a baby animal. >.<

    But yeah, I feel your pain on the tiny lolita bows and the metallic thread. Making bows ranks pretty high on my things I hate to sew list.

  2. It looks very sweet, in a dark foreboding way! Thanks for showing us your process <3

  3. Maura: I took your suggestion^^ although I still feel like it's not detailed enough. How to explain the sewing process in a blog post.

    I don't mind sewing bows usually, but these were so tiny and kept coming apart. It was maddening.

    Sonia: Your welcome, thank you so much for commenting it's always appreciated. I was trying to go for Gothic lolita, but I think I landed somewhere in between gothic and classic. It's still quite nice though.

  4. I love it! That fabric is so awesome and you did a great job! Love the new shoes too! I only wish I could've seen it in person. I did ALOT of hand embroidery with metallic thread and I definitely feel your pain! Where did you get the lace? It is very nice!

  5. Fabric Depot is carrying a bunch of lace now, which is awesome. One stop shopping you know!

    Okay then we are all in agreement. Metallic thread sucks.

  6. But it's pretty.... ultimate trump card when it comes to making costumes.

  7. I saw this at NW Wonder and it really did look lovely in person. You did some awesome work on it. I was glad to stumble upon your blog and see the details about its construction. And major props for the grumpy poses in the show, I never know what to do but you nailed it!