I’ve finished my second lolita JSK, and had to immediately take photos since the boyfriend is here. I was heavily inspired by the back of this dress:
That lead to this:
I actually had to do a bit of handstitching for this, all of which involved the bows. The big bow was particularly time intensive, by which I mean I had to hand baste for the gathering and then hand stitch it closed and then add the ‘tails’ and then stitch it into place. I’m still pretty happy with it.
I also took tons of pictures of the process along the way! I actually didn’t photograph as well as I should have for a full tutorial, but hey, that’s not what this is. This is sorta a guide to how I went from the first photo design to the final project.
I started by drafting my pattern. I already have a bodice drafted, which I alter as needed for different shapes–check my resources list at the bottom for how to make your own bodice. I also figured out how big my skirt pieces should be. I usually do them 44″ by 24″, 24″ being my preferred skirt length + seam and hem allowance of 1″ (and now you see why I don’t buy brand, since those are around 19.5″). My sleeves around about 19″ by 2″, allowing for .5 inch seam allowance where they get sewn in. It’s probably easiest to cut skirt pieces, then bodice, then you have lots left over for wiggle room. For my size and height, 3 yards is almost exactly enough fabric (allowing for the fact I had to recut several pieces twice). I could probably do 2.5 if I didn’t screw up so much.
I went through about 4.75 yards of lace trim, and 5.5 yards of ribbon for the back panel and front bows. No idea how much elastic for the shirred back panel.
Anyway, I start with my bodice, since it’s the most difficult piece. I french seam the front and two sides together, split the back panel, and french seam it to the side pieces:
Then I pin my lace trim across the front of the bodice and sew it on with a zig-zag in matching white thread:
At which point I trim the edge of the fabric close to the zig zag stitch so that it doesn’t show:
Just pretend I mention doing this everywhere I add lace trim, because I do.
Then I create my shirring panel:
Then I trimmed the panel in lace along where the elastic was sewn down (leaving enough room for my seams) and seamed into the rest of the bodice:
I didn’t thread this with lace until the very end, when I was trying on and adjusting everything, so that’s why it doesn’t show until the final pictures.
Following that, I seamed the skirt sides together. Then, lace BEFORE gathers. Otherwise it’s harder to do the lace.
Gather the skirt and as you do so, pin it into place on the bodice.
Then I made sleeves, attached sleeves, made bow, attached bows, and basically did all the tiny detail work that I didn’t bother to photo because I wanted the dress to be done and was tired of stopping to photograph!
I used a bunch of resources, and here’s a reference guide to all of them:
For the big bow: how to make a medium sized bow
For the lace hem: http://www.burdastyle.com/techniques/pretty-lace-hem–2
French Seams: french seams
Bodice draft: Princess Seam Bodice Generator
Even gathering: Gathers
For the back panel: Shirring Method