Thursday, August 30, 2012

Queen Esther Updates

I haven't done any sewing on this dress in a while, but I realized while looking back in my old posts that I haven't updated with the work that I have managed to get done since my last post.

So, in the last post, I had gotten to this point with the sleeve.

I had finished about half of the sleeve (or so I thought). It was about this time that I started reexamining the sleeve structure before moving on to the next part of it. Now, most people had interpreted the white panels on the sleeves as being panes (strips) like on the upper sleeve, just in a different colour. However, looking at it, I believe that the white/gold was simply the decorated edge of an oversleeve. This would make sense, since the lower half of the sleeve had two distinct layers, a narrow fitted one, and the hanging, draped one with the white lining.

So, I bought another half yard of fabric and cut out an overlayer for the top half of the sleeve. The edge was decorated with some gold brocade that I had left over from my Suh Wang Mo project, which I then added a layer of lace, some gold trim, and some beads. It was a huge hand-sewing project, but I am really, really pleased with the final result.

The next step was to start on the lower half of the sleeve. I wanted it to be semi-fitted, but slit down the inside so the lace from the inner layer would show through. This was fairly simple to achieve, and I set the lace on a white satin inner sleeve that was cut from the same pattern as the fitted sleeve.

There are four layers of cluny lace on the innermost sleeve, which looks almost handmade and gives this wonderful feeling of opulence. The lacing was handled by adding small eyelets every inch or so around the entire outer edge of the sleeve.

The hanging sleeve is pretty straightforward. It's lined in white faux fur and trimmed with gold. The whole sleeve is tacked up at the elbow to reveal the lower sleeve. All in all, this sleeve was a huge project, with tons of hand sewing. All the gold stripes had to be sewn on individually, and there's over 20 yards of that metallic trim for the stripes just in this one sleeve. It was completely worth it, though, since I think it turned out rather fabulously.

One thing I did notice when I pinned the sleeve to the armhole was that the weight of the sleeve kept it from looking as perky as I wanted. So, I created a small shoulder roll out of some scrap fabric and a bit of quilt batting I had on hand. The sleeve definitely looks better over the shoulder roll, so it was a necessary little accessory for this dress.

So, that's where the dress stands right now. Now that my schedule has become a bit clearer, I'm looking forward to getting back on this project. I've let it languish for too long now, and looking back at my old entries, I saw that it's been nearly a year since I started on this gown! Yikes! Definitely time to finish up.


  1. I used to watch Trinity Blood w/my son. I thought it was a great animation series. I think you have done an incredible job with the detail work. Are you going to incorporate the ruff as well? Keep us posted!

    1. Definitely going to have the ruff. :) I'm doing my best to copy the artwork as exactly as possible, though, it is difficult when only part of the dress is visible. I'm a bit stalled right now, too...I ran out of the trim I was using, and the store no longer stocks it, so I have to find a substitute that's close to what I had, which is proving difficult. But, I inch closer to finishing all the time! :) I'll keep updating as I go along. :D