Okay, so I’d intended to do sleeves next, but they were such an intimidating prospect that I decided to take a break and make some embellishments instead.
I knew I wanted to embellish this dress with flowers, but I couldn’t seem to find any that I liked. Artificial flowers were too stiff, but ribbon flowers were flat and uninteresting. Finally, I concluded that I would need to make them myself, and turned to the internet for help. Luckily, the internet is great at providing tutorials for crafters like me:
I purchased some chiffon in two shades of purple and started cutting it into strips.
For my first test rose I made the strip about 25″ long and 2.5″ wide– smaller than the dimensions in the video, but I knew I’d want my rose to be smaller anyway. I followed the very clear instructions from the video (really, they’re great, that’s why I’m not posting any process photos or instructions of my own), and ended up using about 20″ worth of the strip for a rose just over 2″ in diameter. It turned out perfectly!
Basically, you’re stitching a twisted tube of fabric, then gluing it in a spiral to a felt backing, using the twist to make random-looking puffs and creases in the finished flower that give the illusion of petals. One thing I did notice while sewing is that while you get a lot of the twisty offset effect near the beginning of your seam (you’ll see what I mean when you try), you need to be careful stitching or the offset will even out as you sew, making for a less interesting rose. Just something to keep in mind.
Anyway, I made roses in different sizes to embellish the 6 bustle points of the skirt– each point had one large, one small, and one bud (the rosebud was just made by folding fabric into a pointy bud-shape and stitching it together).
I grouped the roses together and hot-glued each group to a felt backing with some silver embroidered leaves cut from some gorgeous trim I got on Etsy. I also partially wrapped each rosebud in a silver leaf to mimic an emerging bud. For each set, the large rose and rosebud were the same shade of purple, while the small rose was in a different shade for a little variation. I made three sets of each color combination, mirrored in left and right orientations. The difference in color is subtle, but it’s there.
Once the flowers and leaves were in place on the large sheet of felt, I cut the extra felt away so none of it showed from the front.
Eventually I’ll hand-stitch the felt backing to the bustle points of the skirt– really just tacking the felt (and a few other points) down lightly, since they’ll of course have to be removed and re-attached when I let the bustling down later. I thought about attaching a pin backing to each, but decided that pinned-on things never lie flat and would need hand-stitching anyway, so it wouldn’t be worth it.