The Sewing Place

Mermaid gown

elisep

Mermaid gown
« on: April 11, 2022, 13:42:33 PM »
So you may have seen my post over in the Costume section, but I'm posting here for a little more visibility on some questions I have.
I'm making a version of the below dress;



I'm using a pattern for a mermaid gown that I bought off etsy.

My question pertains to the skirt. It's a full circle with a slight train. The pattern suggests you need 16 layers to get the correct shape. 16! But in her sew-a-long on youtube she uses "8 layers of tulle, 2 layers of fibreglass mesh (mosquito netting) in lieu of proper crinoline, a layer of lining and a layer of lace as the top fabric". The video wasn't clear on which order they should be put together, either.
I'm curious for those who have sewn something similar, looking at the red dress, how many layers would you use, and in what order?

I bought some stiff nylon tulle/net the other day which is quite stiff and the store also had "bridal tulle" which was very soft polyester tulle. It's all on sale there right now so I'm trying to work out how much of each to buy. I'm assuming my top layer (the red tafetta) will crush the soft tulle down somewhat should I have 2 layers of the stiff net with ? layers of soft tulle between them?

I'd like something dramatic but still able to move and dance in. I may need to omit the train?

Appreciate any thoughts!
Stash Busting 2021
Goal: 50 metres
Used: 4 metres

Missie

Re: Mermaid gown
« Reply #1 on: April 11, 2022, 13:48:54 PM »
I'm not sure how many layers of each to do, I would probably have to play around with it to get the look I wanted, but I would definitely have a 2-3 layers of soft tulle as the next layers under the skirt fabric to soften the look.  I think I would also consider putting in horsehair braid in the underlayers at some point to help with supporting the skirt, possibly in the lining to help hold it away from your feet and so support the layers on top of it.

Edited to add: I am no tsuggesting that you need only 2-3 layers of soft tulle only.  Just that I would have that directly under the fashion fabric and then would play from there.  You will also need stiff net, but as I said, I would play to see what it looks like.
« Last Edit: April 11, 2022, 19:42:34 PM by Missie »
A measly 2.5m of stash used so far!

Ellabella

Re: Mermaid gown
« Reply #2 on: April 11, 2022, 14:48:18 PM »
I can’t offer any advice about construction but just wanted to say I an very impressed you are considering dancing in it :faints: :faints:

HenriettaMaria

Re: Mermaid gown
« Reply #3 on: April 11, 2022, 15:31:44 PM »
I made a fish-taile evening dress many years ago.  I used three gathered layers of net under it.  One of the Yorkshire lasses I worked with opined that it 'looks like you've got a ferret up there'! 

Bumblebuncher

Re: Mermaid gown
« Reply #4 on: April 11, 2022, 16:25:35 PM »
16 layers seem excessive for that much poof!  I made very poofy 50's petticoats just by gathering up dress net and they outpoofed the poof at the bottom of the dress.  I have also made tutu's without that many layers and they lay out flat (I think it was five layers I used. 
I am not sure if you will be gathering any of those 'undernettings' but if you are the best trick I learned was to zig zag fishing wire where you intend to gather, pull it to the required tension and then sew it into place.  It saves many hours of gathering I assure you.
As it neared the top of the grade, it went more slowly. However, it still kept saying, "I—think—I—can, I—think—I—can." It reached the top by drawing on bravery and then went on down the grade, congratulating itself by saying, "I thought I could,  I thought I could."

Kwaaked

Re: Mermaid gown
« Reply #5 on: April 11, 2022, 17:06:24 PM »
I'm another that would play with it.

I'd start with the heavier net, and use horsehair on the bottom layer, then softer to balance it out.  So...generally, 2 layers of the stiff net, then 2 softs.  So base stiff, with gathered soft on top, then they whole lot on top of that...make sense?

Add another layer soft as needed.


elisep

Re: Mermaid gown
« Reply #6 on: April 11, 2022, 22:54:00 PM »
Thanks for the thoughts everyone. I was hoping the answer wasn’t going to be, play around and see! Ha ha.
Might just pop back to the store and buy enough net for a second layer, and enough soft tulle for 3-4 layers. I’m making my toile this weekend so will do it with full skirt with the plan to unpick the tulle and use it on the final dress.

No gathering as it’s a full circle skirt. But the top red layer I am planning to have a full circle cut in quarters, with some gathered chiffon in between the red taffeta to emulate what they’ve done on the original.
Stash Busting 2021
Goal: 50 metres
Used: 4 metres

elisep

Re: Mermaid gown
« Reply #7 on: April 12, 2022, 11:52:06 AM »
Popping back in with another question.
I know which grain you cut a circle skirt on determines how it hangs. I’m wondering whether cutting :laugh: each layer of tulle differently will help poof it out a bit more, or whether that’s going to cause issues?
Or should I cut them all the same but off set the grain when sewing the layers together so they each sit slightly differently.
Or am I overthinking it and I should just get on and do it  :thinking:  :laugh:
Stash Busting 2021
Goal: 50 metres
Used: 4 metres

HenriettaMaria

Re: Mermaid gown
« Reply #8 on: April 12, 2022, 12:04:18 PM »
An alternative might be a tiered underskirt, with each tier gathered into the one above.  I have instructions for how to do it that I gleaned from a magazine some years ago.  PM me if you'd like a copy.

Missie

Re: Mermaid gown
« Reply #9 on: April 12, 2022, 12:22:30 PM »
Or am I overthinking it and I should just get on and do it  :thinking:  :laugh:

Definitely  :P 

Tulle doesn't, as far as I am aware, have a grain although it may stretch more in the width so just be careful not to stretch it when cutting out.
A measly 2.5m of stash used so far!

elisep

Re: Mermaid gown
« Reply #10 on: April 21, 2022, 12:48:54 PM »
Thanks for the advice everyone.

I did a toile in cotton drill for the dress and cut all the layers of tulle out and basted them to the toile so I could reuse them for the final version. Unfortunately I forgot that in my first toile I had altered the bottom of the (pencil) skirt portion so my tulle ended up too big  :facepalm: so I had to gather it slightly which was probably a good thing anyway, to create more volume.
I ended up cutting 2 layers of stiff tulle (red below), and 3 of soft bridal tulle (the flesh coloured below). I think I would have preferred 4 layers of the soft stuff, however I miscalculated my fabric requirement and didn't buy enough  :S

The first photo below shows my toile without any horsehair braid in the hem, second photo with my fashion fabric over the top I have sewn the horsehair braid into the very bottom layer of stiff tulle - lining not in yet.
I'm happy with how pouffy the skirt is, and how it moves (i can't help it, every time I try it on I have to twirl around  :dance:) and the horsehair braid makes all the difference to walking in it!

My silk was too narrow - and I was going to waste so much fabric cutting the circle skirt. As I ordered on etsy from india, and the event being less than 2 weeks away now, there's no opportunity to get more, and I still need a lot to drape over the whole dress. So I took a leaf out of history's book and pieced together my fabric to cut the skirt out economically. I challenge anyone to work out where the seam is!

I still have to drape more tafetta over the top so hopefully the extra weight won't hold it down too much, if it does I still have the ability to add more layers of tulle if I need.
As it's got a small train I will need to bustle it up to dance, I'm worried people will step on it and rip the silk. I am also hoping I will have time to make a removable dust ruffle/balayeuse (I learned a new word!) as it will definitely get dirty from dragging on the ground. But my oh my, she is delightfully dramatic!





I'll be putting a full write up in my other post in the costume board, if anyone wants to read any more, however lets just say that I think that this dress will be able to stand up on its own once it's finished, with all the layers in there  :laughing:

oh, and bonus cat pic;
Stash Busting 2021
Goal: 50 metres
Used: 4 metres

Silver Rose

Re: Mermaid gown
« Reply #11 on: April 21, 2022, 13:16:06 PM »
Looking  good, very dramatic.
Still learning

Lachica

Re: Mermaid gown
« Reply #12 on: April 21, 2022, 13:17:05 PM »
Wow! Fabulous! I do hope we'll see a pic of you wearing it?
Mary
2020 stash: not gonna count, not gonna feel guilty.

Bodgeitandscarper

Re: Mermaid gown
« Reply #13 on: April 21, 2022, 13:43:02 PM »
Looking good, and a lovely colour.

Bumblebuncher

Re: Mermaid gown
« Reply #14 on: April 21, 2022, 17:21:46 PM »
Wonderful  :D If I had that on I would be dizzy from all the twirling  :laughing:
As it neared the top of the grade, it went more slowly. However, it still kept saying, "I—think—I—can, I—think—I—can." It reached the top by drawing on bravery and then went on down the grade, congratulating itself by saying, "I thought I could,  I thought I could."