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Caribbean Pirate Dress

This is made in a very similar way to the underskirt.

1. Cut four lengths of fabric this time, with lengths as shown below if you’re about 5’6”. This voluminous amount of fabric will allow you to have a really spectacular billowing skirt, and the longer pieces in the middle will allow you to have a small train (or extra fabric in your bustle-like gathered-up skirt*).

2. Sew the four pieces together as shown, but don’t make them into a tube! Just leave them as a large, flat piece. The top edge should be dead straight, and the bottom edge will have a big step in the middle.

3. Make a matching lining out of four identical pieces of lining fabric, and lay it on top of the fashion fabric, right sides together.

4. Baste them together around the edges.

5. Now you’ll need to make that bottom edge into a nice curve. The easiest way to do this and get it even on both sides is to fold the whole thing in half along the middle seam and pin the edges together.

6. Either cut a smooth curve as shown, or you could “draw” your curve by pinning the shape on the fabric first. Don’t stress too much: when you’re wearing it, it’ll be very difficult to tell whether the curve you drew was 100% perfect!

7. Open the skirt out and sew down both sides and along the bottom edge curve, as if you were making a very large bag! Press and turn right sides out.

8. Baste across the top, and gather or pleat as you did before.

9. Add a waistband as you did before, and a drawstring. This skirt will then tie around your waist with the edges at the front.

10. You may wish to hand sew rings and ribbons on the inside to make various gathered up or bunched up bustle-like* effects. Don’t forget that your stitching will need to go right through to the outside, but that the stitching won’t show when the skirt is hooked up!

* These are very period, but of course were not called bustles in the seventeenth century and did not have the elaborate undersupports of the Victorians! Example 1 | Example 2

Do let me know how you get on, and as ever, don't hesitate to point out any typos, oversights or anything I need to explain better! Next time we'll go on to make the bodice, and in the third instalment of the tutorial, the sleeves. Don't forget to have fun with it!

 

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Cathy Hay  
  The article is now fixed in full, as far as I can see - let me know if I missed anything!  
 
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crimsongypsy  
  Unfortunately, the cartridge pleating tutorial is no longer at that link.  
 
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englishmouse  
maths   Love this tutorial and the dress and i'm really grateful you put it up, but i'm really struggling to figure out the math on these knife pleats withought a clear sum. my fabric has ended up 162" and I need to get it down to 30", I don't know where to even begin to get it to the correct width :/  
 

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