Create canvas/document in the desired actual size and measurement scale (in this case, approx. 44”X24”)
- Scale up reference photo and adjust to fit actual scale (It may be quite blurry, but that's OK as long as there are still discernible edges)
Draw bezier lines around the shapes, dropping nodes anywhere necessary, about 6-8 per curved shape and in all corners
- Curve the lines between the nodes, either by manual click and drag, or with the "auto-curve" tool, which is basically magic
- Fill in any gaps (Unfortunately the green and ivory dress stops 6” short on the top of the motif. I had to make some stuff up)
- Delete background/reference image
Remove slight camera distortion by converting the whole motif to a path, then bending into shape (I think. I am actually not 100% sure on this part—it was complicated. There was a lot of googling and swearing for this step)
- Duplicate the motif and flip it to create the mirror image. Utilize empty sections of the “paper” to print additional motif sections, if needed (I needed extra copies of that specific section up top, for hems)
Convert to PDF and send to local print shop with wide format printer
If I wanted to stay true to the original, I could not alter seam placement at all. In short, the gown was unalterable. I would have to work backwards, adjusting my shape to fit the gown. My plan was to get the basic proportional silhouette and then compare measurements to see what was possible.
The single layer coutil corset is based on the pattern we use for the Redthreaded S-Bends. The bust improver is from the Wearing History pattern. I then added twelve (yes, twelve!) tailoring shoulder pads around my hips, on top of the corset. I ended up with an almost twenty inch difference between my waist and hips (this is naturally about 10”). If anyone is wondering, I laced down just shy of 4”, which is my maximum for a few hours of tightlacing.
I was able to plot out the majority of the bodice using the same method as the skirt. Upon comparison, my augmented measurements came unbelievably close to the drafted bodice. I skipped a bodice mockup and went right to fitting a cotton sateen base bodice.
The only adjustments I had to make were two tiny darts on the base shoulder strap near the armsceye, and an addition of 1/2” at center back. It felt like I'd gotten away with something.
The front bust area of the outer bodice was too complicated to figure out flat. I used the adjusted base bodice pattern to cut a half mockup with extra fabric in front. I drew in the motif, and manipulated the front section on the form until it looked like the original.
Next week, I'll explain the applique process...