I’ve been working on sewing more trim to the skirt ruffles, but I wanted to fix the shape of the skirt to make it closer to the original. You can see that the original dress is narrow through the hips, then flares out, with an extra poof at the hem.
I already reduced the circumference of the top hoop, which didn’t help all that much shape-wise, so I removed it entirely. Still not much effect.
Next I thought I’d add some extra volume at the hem– I bought four yards of stiff petticoat netting ($1.98/yard) and cut it into three long strips. I gathered two of them by hand* (I am SO not willing to go through the trouble of re-attaching the ruffler for this!) and sewed them into a “dust ruffle” around the hem of the skirt. I concentrated the gathering at the sides of the skirt to make it look wider.
Still not enough– I took the third netting strip, cut it in half, and created two pannier-style ruffles that were just attached to the sides of the skirt at the hem, on top of the dust ruffle. That looked much better. Though I’m not sure now how I’ll manage to get through doors without some careful maneuvering…
I stitched the first netting ruffle down with my machine– a lot more difficult than you’d think, because my pins slid right out of the netting as I maneuvered the dress under the needle, the skirt had a ton of volume to try to squeeze under the sewing arm, and the netting kept catching on things. I sewed the extra netting side pieces down by hand to avoid this problem.
You may notice that the tulle overskirt from the wedding dress has been cut off to form the angled top tier of the skirt. I’d intended to make another ruffle out of the voile, but the tulle was already neatly attached to the bodice, and looked fine as a top tier. Besides, it’s hardly going to show once the shoulder piece is attached. I’ll add a row or two of trim to make it blend in better.
*NOTE: The best way to gather long strips of fabric without worrying about the thread breaking as you pull is to instead zig-zag stitch over a piece of dental floss, string, or cord. Then you use the cord as a drawstring instead of the sewing thread. You can pull it back out once you’ve sewn the ruffle onto whatever you’re making.
Annoyance factor: 5 out of 10 just for the netting