Once I had all of my fabrics and sketches I decided to start with what I hoped would be the easiest part of the dress– the white underskirt. I started off by simply cutting off the upper portion of the dress’s bodice, leaving a good 3″ of fabric attached to the skirt to make a waistband.
Next I turned my attention to the inside of the skirt– there was already a nice lining and net petticoat layer, but it wasn’t quite poofy enough. Luckily the lavender bridesmaid dress came with a netting layer that was exactly the same length as the white skirt, so I ruthlessly ripped out, gathered, and stitched it just below the petticoat lining. Presto! Poofy white satin underskirt!
Before I went any further I had to make sure the skirt would be the right length on my daughter, but since she hates to stand still (like any almost-four-year-old) I needed a substitute for fittings.
I managed to get her to stay in one place long enough to let me make a rough version of a duct tape double, which I stuffed with a pillow and threaded onto the pole of my dress form. It wasn’t perfect, but it would work for waist circumference and height at least.
So, the lace portion of the skirt: I considered inserting the lace overskirt layer into the waistband to have it look nice and neat. However, that would’ve required a lot of seam ripping, re-gathering, and re-sewing (plus dealing with all the underlayers), all for something that was going to be completely hidden anyway. Instead I decided to simply gather the lace fabric and stitch it to the outside of the waistband.
The lace fabric is 52″ wide with a double border, and I have two yards of it. Happily, I only need the skirt to be 22″ long, so I can cut the fabric in half lengthwise and use both borders, conserving fabric for later projects. I cut the lace to be 84″wide– about 10″ wider than the actual circumference of the satin underskirt, just to allow for some room for it to hang nicely.
I stitched the skirt pieces together with french seams, then ran zig-zag stitches along the top edge to prevent fraying. I had to make a back slit to match the white underskirt, so I stitched an outline of one on the back, then cut the slit itself and zig-zagged those edges as well.
I gathered the top edge of the lace skirt using a wide zig-zag over a piece of dental floss (waxed floss is so much easier to pull for gathering than two rows of regular thread, which often breaks), then pinned it to the white satin waistband before stitching it down.
The final length of the lace was about an inch above the hemline, letting the white satin show just a little.
Finally, I took a short length of 2″ wide white elastic and stitched it to either side of the satin waistband. The elastic left a small gap, but again, this was going to be covered entirely by the purple bustled overskirt so it didn’t matter. I folded the white satin over to the inside and stitched it down, and my white underskirt was finished.
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