This is one of my first real build instructional posts, and I'll do my best to detail each step. Please comment or email me with any questions or missing steps.
- The black dress I'm using for the actual structure of the dress.
- First I tried it on, to design where the tentacles should start.
- It was a little tough finding a balance between maximizing tentacle length and my desire to maintain some modesty.
- The dress length I was happiest with started just below hips (and butt).
- Marked the front, back and sides, while still in the dress, we'll call these "modesty marks".
- Then, once I had the dress off and back on the table, I made the real marks, measuring 25" up from the bottom hem, making sure I was a falling below my "modestly marks" from the fitting.
- To get more length and width for the tentacles, I let out the hem and closed the back slit to maximize the material available. This gave me a perfect rectangle of 42" wide, by 26" long.
- Cut out a rectangle of pattern paper, 42" wide, by 26" long.
- I knew I wanted eight tentacles, so that means 42" / 8 = 5.25" at the base. With a 0.25" seam allowance, this will give me a finished width of 4.75" - I cut out an example tentacle from scrap paper, and found that I was pleased with the result.
- Then divided my pattern paper into eight, 5.25" tentacle "templates", to show me the spacing.
- Alternating straight-ish and curly tentacles, I designed each one to be unique and full of life!
- Cut out the pattern pieces and labeled them tent-1 to tent-8
- The front of the dress will have tent-2 centered on it, and the back will have tent-6 centered on it (rather then having the slits between tentacles centered).
- The purple dress I am using for material only.
- Cut the top bodice off first (which I might use for a later project) and set that aside.
- Then I cut out the liner from the skirt and and set that aside too (I will be using this later in the project).
- Laid the pattern out and tried so see if I could make them fit without having seams running across them, that's when I noticed that if I split the seams and pressed the pieces flat, the pattern would fit perfectly!
- Carefully ripped the seams to separated the seven pieces of the gore skirt, then I presses them open to give myself seven pieces of fabric.
- I was very lucky that all eight tentacles fit on the fabric, with tent-7 and tent-1 sharing seventh, wider segment from the skirt.
- Cut all eight pattern pieces out, and saved the larger pieces of scraps ( like everything else I don't discard, I may use them later in this project).
- WARNING: The purple fabric frays so easily! Crap… I might need to use an overlocking stitch, or some hem glue to keep if from falling apart later.
- Did a zig zag stitch framing the sides around the top 5" of each tentacle (to prevent fraying)
- Created a little pocket, so that when turned right sides out they would keep the tentacle stuffing from coming out
- Before I started sewing, I wanted to make sure my idea worked with a tiny curly proof of concept. It worked! But was distorted in the process because I skipped the zig zag sticking. Yikes.
- I also did a quick test to see if I would like the look of using the skirt liner as ruffle detail on the tentacles. I love it!
Purple skirt liner:
- Cut the existing hem off at about 3" and cut into short 4"-8" pieces, these will be used for ruffles.
- Then re-hemmed the liner with a tiny hem, and repeated the previous step to get lot's of pieces for ruffles!
- I was quickly reminded why I hate doing baby hems, and vowed once again never to use them in a project… after this one.
- Laid out and traced all eight tentacles (Yay, they fit!).
- Before cutting, I put some tight (basting?) stitches (one back-stitch) at the top of each division, to prevent the cuts from ripping up into the dress.
- I may also put thread lock on it, this fabric worries me too…. i'm pretty sure I "FRAY CHECK"
- I marked 1" and 4" down from the top of the tentacles. I will stop sewing at this mark so that I have wiggle room to turn the tentacles right side out later.
- I cut out each tentacle up to the 4" mark
- Keeping the dress right side out, I pinned the purple pieces (right sides together, to the black dress tentacles.
- Anywhere there was gathering, I pinned like crazy and did a basting stitch to make life easier for myself. It always seems like more work, but it saves me headaches later!
- Once all of the tentacles were sewn into place I carefully turned them right side out with a fasturn, and stuffed them with upholstery batting.