Monday, March 25, 2013

How To Make A Daenerys Qarth Gown

This post has been a long time coming! I will make you wait no more :) For the purposes of showing you how I made this costume, I made a second dress in the dark blue fabric. (The original dress was made in the same fabric as used by Michelle Clapton in the actual show.)

How to make a Daenerys Qartheen Gown

(but not the filigree parts!)

You will need:

Approximately 6 metres of fabric
Approximately 25cms of 1"in wide elastic
Needle for hand sewing
Sewing Machine
Spool of thread to match

Dress form
Roller hem foot** (highly recommended! Practice first if you've never used one before)

See how I painted the golden pattern on the fabric learn and why I did my pleating why I did.
Contact me or leave a comment if you want to know who I commissioned the filigree pieces from.

My dress is made from four rectangles of fabric. The fabric widths that I am going to share with you are what worked for my dress. I am happy to share with you the sizes of the rectangles, however the good news is that it is not necessary for yours to be identical!

My measurements are as follows:

And that is my pattern! Easy as, 1-2-3-4! The dark blue fabric that you see in this tutorial is a polyester chiffon, and as such it was very easy to put the fabric to size. Just a small snip and then tearing and it did not warp the fabric and remained on the grain. 
The silk chiffon fabric I used in my original dress (the same fabric as used in the show) was the devil to cut, and I hope to not have to go through those terrors again!

Once I had the pieces at the sizes I wanted, that is when I printed the fabric with the gold paint and sea sponges.

For the sewing the edges of the fabric, I cannot recommend highly enough investing in a rolled hem sewing foot. This gives the fabric a professional edge (think hems of white business shirts or sheets!)

Rolled hem as it is being sewn
I was fully expecting to pay $25+ dollars and was pleasantly surprised when it only cost approx $12 from my local Janome sewing centre (the former price was one I saw on eBay... It does pay to shop local!).

All of my exposed edges of fabric have had the selvedge's trimmed away and then sewn with the rolled hem foot. The side seams of the dress were sewn as french seams.

Onto piecing the dress together...!
The front two panels were sewn together approximately 34cms from the top of the dress. I sewed then a 2cm seam allowance to the hem of the dress. The larger seam allowance allows the rolled hem to be unseen when wearing the dress. I can elaborate on this further if need be, but I hope it makes sense.

Note the centre front seam as discussed above.
Next I pleated the fabric at the shoulders. I did this first by determining the width of the shoulder pieces and then pinning the pleats in place before securing them with a 1.5cm long stitch.

As you can see from the pictures above, I wasn't overly concerned that the pleats did not all line up at the top edge (I put it down to it being a lot of fabric to pleat and that I don't think it is that big of a deal). For the dark blue dress, I was working with a very narrow strap; but for the faithful reproduction of the dress had a wider width so it was not as difficult to get the pleats to look decent.

Next some hand sewing is in order!

Preparing to hand sew...
As above, the seam allowance was folded once over and then hand sewn to the shoulder pieces.

... and hand sewing all finished!

Now the back of the dress happened a little differently. Because I didn't want too much bulk at the back of the dress for the cape, I used only one width of the fabric, and created a split. What made the decision easy was that I only had 6 meters of fabric to work with. I might have completed this the same as the front way if I'd had an extra two meters!
So you can chose to do it the same way as the front if you wish. And so if you do wish, repeat the above for the back!

If you are like me and had to use the one piece, read on...

First I carefully* (*read: cheated a bit) cut down the centre of the fabric to the depth I wanted and used the roller hem on the raw edges.
Then I pinned the wrong sides of the fabric together and sewed a dart, catching the raw edges from the split. I also trimmed it back a bit. Next I pinned the right sides of the fabric together and sewed a 2nd dart being carefully to fully enclose the first one. This is what it looked like when finished:

This is hopefully how the back of the cape will look when done
Now you can sew the shoulder pieces to the back of the dress. I thought I was being really careful until this happened:

I know. I can't even.
I had to unpick and try again. Luckily this did not happen with the first dress! This is what the dress looks like at this stage from the side:

A little revealing if you stopped here!!
Next, a think casing was made in the piece that would become the skirt or back of the dress. In my version of this dress, the back of the skirt is attached to the front of the dress at a height where it will cover your backside - creating the actual dress. The cape is then sewn into the seams of the dress. I will talk again on this shortly...

I chose to use a nice thick elastic for this waistband. A length of elastic was then cut (approx 25cm) and threaded through the casing. I secured it with machine stitches at the sides to ensure it was not going to slip out.

The below picture shows the back of the dress being pinned to the front. in order to line things up to my liking, I first sewed these two seams before going back to sew the cape into the sides of the dress with a second seam atop of the original stitching.

But Sonia, will you please tell me what a French Seam is?
If you are not familiar with a French seam, you might be wondering why the wrong sides of the fabric are being sewn together. It's because a French seam is sewn in two steps. The first is at approximately 1cm, then you trim the raw edges to approx 5mm. You then turn your garment inside out (don't forget to press!), and sew a second seam that captures your raw edge. 
What you need to be very wary of is making sure you do not capture any of the first seam's raw edge in your new seam. Because if you do it will stick out the sides of your dress once you've turned it back the right way and trust me that this will not look very pretty!
With that in mind, you might like to do a 6mm second seam. Give yourself a larger seam allowance if you are concerned with the finer details.
French seams are recommended on fine fabrics that will fray if not finished or to avoid using an overlocker which doesn't always suit your fabric choice.

Back to the dress.
When sewing the cape's seam, I wanted to make sure that it joined into the dress a few cms below the top of the back of the skirt. I hope this illustration from an earlier post can better show you what I mean:

See how it joins in below where the belt actually sits?

From here - eyes on the prize! You're not far off the finish line!

Once the side seams are finished, try on your dress - preferably with your belt, so it cinches in and will sit on your body like the finished garment. From here, determine the length the dress will be. As I used my dress makers dummy set to my height, I didn't need to do this to get the garment length. (But I did try it on and grin like a champion! haha)

From here, make any necessary adjustments to your hem length. I then sewed the hem of the dress with the rolled hem foot. With the cape, I left the ends square (ie: no rounding into a curve or anything) and sewed the edges again with the rolled hem foot. The train drapes out behind the dress approx 35cms. You can opt for this to be shorter, or even the same length as the dress itself if you don't want to worry about it dragging on the ground (I was constantly carrying mine and let it down for photos).

And there you have it; this is how I made my dress! Are there things I would do differently? Yes, I think so. At this stage I have made 3 versions of this dress, so I've changed things up slightly along the way with all the new things I learnt along the way. 

I hope I have been nice and clear for you... But if you have any questions at all... Please do not hesitate to ask and I will do my best to answer for you!

Finally... Some photo spam! ;)

Because I would like to know if this tutorial has helped you at all, I would love it if you leave a comment! Please be kind to this old girl (hey... I just turned 21 29.)

PS... WINTER IS COMING!!! (Woo, 6 more days and counting :D)
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