24 January 2014

Sansa Stark: Wedding Dress Patterning and Bodice Construction

EDIT: For a comprehensive look at how I patterned this dress, I wrote about it HERE.

This is Sansa Stark's wedding dress, amazingly beautiful considering the ugly circumstances in which she was forced to wear it.

In working on this costume, I have quickly come to realize that this seemingly simple dress is anything but, and that it eats fabric like no tomorrow.  It's used all 6.5 yards of damask that I ordered and could have used more if I wanted the train to be as long as the original!  As it stands, I think my train is quite respectable and only a few inches short.

The dress is made of a kind of "illusion" fabric that likes to change colour depending on the light.  It's given me a lot of trouble for reasons I'll get to later on in this post.

...another colour?!

...And another?! (this image comes from costumer Michele Carragher's website, which is worth a look-see: http://www.michelecarragherembroidery.com/index.htm )

And just to give you an idea of the general silhouette of the dress:

I wish I could say I designed something this beautiful!  That embroidery is to die for...and it may very well kill me before I am done because I intend to give it my best go so as to maintain accuracy.

I spent a long time on the interwebs searching for the right fabric.  Believe me, fabric like this is damn expensive.  Unfortunately I'm a college student who doesn't make much and has to buy food, so I settled for something a little less fancy.

What a pity that the fabric I received looked nothing like the photo.  It was much more yellow and the pattern was, like chenille.  It's a pretty weave, but the colour reminds me of the godawful couch we had when I was a kid that had a curved back that you couldn't rest your head comfortably on.

Ewwww.  The fabric is also polyester.  I didn't expect it to take dyes.  And so I had 6.5 yards of useless fabric lying around.

Fortunately I experimented with dye anyway.

It turns out that, while dye does not work well on synthetics, it does stain a little.  A little was all I needed to get that purple-y colour, and it turned out that the dye adhered very well to the chenille parts and not so much to the satin-y parts.  Two-tone fabric the easy way!

Let's pop this sucker in the dyebath.

If this fabric weighs a ton when it's dry, think how much it weighed when it was wet.  I almost couldn't lift it.

This was the result.  It's not perfect.  But it's pretty close, and I can say that the colours match the photo from Michele Carragher's website.  So that's something at least.

I patterned the bodice in nine pieces: two fronts, two side fronts, two side backs, two square skirt panels, and one back.  The front and back are full-length, while the side front and side back join with the skirt panel slightly below my hips.

The skirt panels were pleated to fit the side fronts and side backs.  That's about 54 inches of fabric gathered into just over ten inches!  Wow!

The skirt panels were too thick to stitch by machine so I went ahead and basted the pleats, then used buttonhole thread to stitch them to the side front/backs.

That's what we have so far!  It's very heavy, but I love how swishy the train is.  I enjoy dresses with trains despite their impracticality.  I'm a little bummed I didn't get better fabric, but I guess you work with what ya got and since I just bought some chainmail I couldn't really afford I'm trying to not spend too much until I start getting paychecks again :/


  1. Okay, I have been receiving an enormous amount of what I presume to be SPAM comments on this post.

    These are not permissible and are the reason why I default all new comments to a moderation queue.

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    To those who want to leave a sincere comment, I apologize for the trouble, but I promise that your comment will be published just as soon as I get around to checking out the moderation queue ;)

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  2. Love it , this dress is gorgeous !