Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Southern Belle wanna be : Hoop Skirt

So as I've said before we do Civil War reenacting. You can read about it here: Travel back in time. Well as part of this hobby I've wanted to start doing the female part some more than the soldier role, especially if we have reenactments where they're aren't that many other guys there, so that they get a shot at firing the gun. Also, most reenactments have balls to go to, one reason to dress up pretty! :)

My mother-in-law asked me if I wanted a gown and I said 'sure'. So she dug out her patterns and gave me what I wanted and some left over fabric she had for it. I was thinking she was going to make one but I know she's way busy and  I'm totally up for a challenge. Plus, I love sewing. My sewing machine was one thing we HAD to get with our gift cards from our wedding.

So about 3 weeks (give or take) I started the process of making my hoop skirt for under the dress. The hoop is probably one of the most important pieces of the dress, because it gives it it's shape and can help with length.

The pattern of my dress is Unique Patterns of Historical Fashion #863, the style is 1860's Crinoline Ballgown. This pattern contains both the dress pattern and the hoop pattern. The copyright of it is 1989 so I'm not sure where you can find it anymore but I'm sure a quick google search will point you in the right direction, you can pretty much find anything on ebay too. Reenactments are a great place too (obviously) for finding patterns and fabric.

The quick specs for this patterns hoop are: 9 yard of 45" wide fabric, 16 yards 1" wide flat lace, 4 packages of 2" twill tape (I ordered 12 of 1 1/2" Cotton Twill Tape and I'm pretty sure I had enough). You also need "strap steel" for the hoop parts. One roll was enough at 12 feet a roll.
I ordered my lace off ebay and twill tape off of amazon. The hoop bones and fabric I got from 

This pattern was pretty easy to follow and understand. The hardest part is towards the end when you are sewing in the twill tape to make the casing for the hoop steel. It's difficult to keep the other layers out of the way to make sure you only sew to the one you need and not catch any of the ruffles in it.  It was also a little difficult to get the ruffles/flounces ruffled enough but not too much to fit with the layer. I know I have a few places I had to make it work by folding other pieces.
Looking underneath the hoop, you can see the casings for the hoops.

This has been my latest DIY project. I've been putting off starting the dress because I know it's going to be a huge project but maybe this will give me motivation to do it! I've been busy with getting things ready for school as well. I start Nursing school September 4 and am SOOO excited and ready to be back in school. This year off has been great and busy but I love school. :)

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