Monday, January 28, 2008

Answers to questions on the costume

Thanks for the comments and feedback. It's nice to hear from others who know what's involved in sewing something like this.

I realized that I had forgotten to add the trim to the neck edge of the stomacher so I took care of that tonight.
I knew I didn't want to try and machine stitch those thick multiple layers of fabric, so, remembering the multiple times I'd seen glue used on Project Runway, I opted to glue it. I figured if it works for them it'll work for me. The only problem was the only glue I had on hand was this bottle of fringe adhesive purchased years ago when I was sewing a lot of home dec. It works fantastic and dries clear, but I don't think it will hold if the dress is dry cleaned so I'll need to let them know when I turn the costume in.

Now, onto Linda68701's questions.

What does "railroad" mean?
Railroad or railroading simply means to cut the fabric so that the lengthwise grain runs horizontally. (It can be called lengthwise cut also - per M'Fay Designer's Digest and Workroom Manual. ) This method is used to eliminate or reduce the number of seams in an item.

You go lengthwise rather than across the width of the fabric. So, for both skirts I placed the waist edge along the selvage and cut the skirt in one long piece - eliminating the side seams.

I think railroad is probably a term more commonly used in home dec sewing. In fact, I needed to pull out my home dec reference books to locate an "official" definition as I was unable to locate the term in my garment sewing books.

Why did you use the three sleeve types to make sure the arm/sleeve fit was ok? Wouldn't just using another sleeve pattern have worked?
The sleeve pattern provided with the pattern consisted of three pieces. The sleeve itself was two pieces - an upper and an under. The third part was the flounce. Those pattern pieces are the white ones in the photo below. I laid them over the kimono robe sleeve pattern that I found so I could get an idea of how much wider I needed to cut the sleeve.

The reason I wanted to pin the three pieces together and use them as a guide was to make sure the armhole of the sleeve fit into the armhole opening in the bodice and the length of the sleeve matched the original pattern. I'm not experienced enough to know how to draft my own sleeve and I didn't think I could easily find another sleeve pattern that would fit the opening. If I had used this robe sleeve pattern it wouldn't have fit into my bodice armhole opening. Because I wasn't given a finished length for the sleeves I choose to use the length of the sleeve including the flounce as my guide. That is why I pinned the flounce pattern piece over the robe sleeve also.

As you can see, by tracing the armhole edge of the sleeve from the costume pattern and gradually widening the width at the wrist I was able to get a nice fit at the shoulder and still achieve the wide "robe" look they wanted.

Off topic notes
A couple of side notes here - if you're serious about home dec sewing, the M'Fay Designer Digest and Workroom Manual is a great reference to have on hand. It isn't cheap, but it's well worth the dollar investment. Another good resource is A Practical Guide to Soft Window Coverings by Cheryl Stickland - this one carries a more reasonable price tag.

And how do you like my pattern weights? I picked up a half dozen 2-1/2" flat washers the last time we were at Fleet Farm. The edges are smooth, and I find the size and weight work well for almost everything I cut. The best part? I only paid $1.25 for all of them.
Pin It


  1. Ooooh Ooooh! I know about railroading fabric--I did that for an arch window in our old house.

    Sharon you KNOW I want to come party up with you--wouldn't that just be the bomb?! We're wearing our sexy shirts at the roller coaster in the mall though, right?

    Love ya! xo

  2. I love your pattern weights and will be getting some. Thanks!

  3. That trim adds so much to completing the front of the costume! Wow! It really kicked it up a notch...and I am sure that the young lady who wears it in the play will give an inspired performance!



Blog Widget by LinkWithin