Leafeon – How It’s Made – Parts 5 & 6

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Photo by Ben Gibson

Welcome back! This week we’re looking further into how my leafeon cosplay was made. Part 1 can be found here, part 2 here, and parts 3 &4 over here. This week we again get two parts looking at the shirt and overskirt. Part 5 is a direct excerpt from a project I did in university for my costume history course, and both part 5 and 6 are from my leafeon make-book. Let’s stop dillydallying and jump right in!

Part 5: The Shirt

 

The bodice would normally be worn over some sort of shirt, or even have a clip-in collar and false sleeve ends, with decorative trim showing at the neckline and long sleeves showing beneath the shorter bodice sleeves. The model at the V&A museum wears a linen colored shirt with a ruffled collar. I decided to try and copy the appearance of this shirt for my own dress.

Without a pattern, I had to improvise and make my own. I decided to use the top half of the jacket pattern and extend it into a typical dress shirt pattern. This ensured that the top half would fit snugly underneath the bodice and would not wrinkle, yet it would be long enough to tuck into my skirt. I drafted my own sleeve patterns by hand, including a simple cylindrical cuff with no decoration. For the collar, I ripped a strip of fabric and satin stitched one side to a smooth finish. I gathered it at the other end into a full ruffle, and stitched it in place as a collar. I then hand stitched buttons down the front of the shirt and finished all seams and edges cleanly. I made the shirt out of cotton sheeting. Slightly thicker than the cotton used for my bodice outside, but not thick enough to make this dress excessively warm to wear. (edit: ha, joke was on me, it was definitely excessively hot to wear.)

leafeon work in progress
I gathered a strip of cloth to use as the collar.

leafeon work in progress
Simple, cylindrical cuffs

leafeon work in progress

leafeon work in progress

Part 6: The Overskirt

 

Initially, I believed the overskirt would be the most difficult part of this costume. The draping was intimidating, and unlike anything I had ever done before. However, in the end, the overskirt ended up being the easiest part of the whole project.

The base of the skirt is made of three very large pieces of fabric sewn together. This made one very large, flat piece that was difficult to work with. To begin to shape the draping, many pleats were put in along the top and side edges to help gather the fabric together. These pleats were put in identical to the original dress, according to the specifications in Patterns of Fashion 2.

leafeon work in progress
The very large sheet of fabric that made the body of the drapes.
leafeon work in progress
The pleats pinned in place.

 

leafeon work in progress
After pleats & gathers, the overskirt starts to take shape.

 

Once the pleats were in place, it was time for the magic of draping the fabric. This was achieved by a set of twill tapes, pre marked according to the specifications of the original pattern. I marked the joining points on both the tape and the base fabric with a penciled ‘X’ mark. I hand stitched the tape to the skirt base, which created the gathered drapes on the back of the skirt.

leafeon work in progress
Marking the distances on the tapes.

leafeon work in progress

leafeon work in progress
The tapes sewn in place.

Once the fabric was gathered, it was time to turn it into a skirt. I first added green strips of cloth to the bottom back edge, and then a green revers on each side of the skirt. These revers were made by sewing two identical green triangles together and then turning the shape inside out, and finishing the edge with bias tape. A button decoration was added, and the whole shape was sewn to the skirt. As soon as the decorations were finished, I added a waistband to the top edge, and the overskirt was finished.

Later on, I added a small lace flounce to the back of the overskirt to gap the distance between the edge of the overskirt and the edge of the skirt.

leafeon work in progress
Sewing the revers
leafeon work in progress
Outlining the revers with bias tape
leafeon work in progress
The revers and green stripes sewn in place.
leafeon work in progress
The back of the overskirt falls nicely thanks to the twill tapes.

 

[1.] Arnold, Janet. Patterns of Fashion 2. London: Macmillan, 1977. Print. [2.] “Day dress, 1873-75. Museum no. T.112 to B-1938. Given by Miss M. Eyre-Poppleton” Victoria and Albert Museum. Web, March 1st 2015. <http://www.vam.ac.uk/users/node/5672> [4.] ArtStor. Web, < http://www.artstor.org> [7.] Armstrong, Helen Joseph. Patternmaking For Fashion Design, 5th Edition. Pearson Education Inc., 2010. Print. [8.] Reader’s Digest. New Complete Guide to Sewing: Step-by-Step Techniques for Making Clothes and Home Accessories. 2002. Print. [9.] Tortora, Phyllis G. and Eubank, Keith. Survey of Historic Costume, 5th Edition. New York: Fairchild Books, 2010. Print. [10.] Reader’s Digest Association (Canada) Ltd. Complete Guide to Needlework. 1979. Print.

 

That’s all for today! Part 7 will be posted next week on August 10, 2016.

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