Introduction: Black Burlesque Dress
This was inspired by a Burlesque dance video I saw online and I realized that I had enough spare cloth to make one of those, so why not get into it?
Step 1: Materials
The usual sewing stuffs
1. Sewing machine/ thread and needle
2. Scissors, measuring tape, pins
3. Velcro/ zip
I personally think that the kind of fabric you use doesn't matter, but I used inexpensive black satin ($3 for 1m square) , and decorative shimmering translucent sheer fabric ($1.5 for 1m square). If you are new at sewing and making patterns, I recommend you to have at least 1m of cheap practise fabric, the stiff cotton kind ($1.8 for 1m square) for you to try hand sewing.
I got 2mx1m of black satin and 2mx1m of sheer fabric.
Step 2: Cut Out the Pattern of the Skirt
I usually start with the patterning of the skirt first.
I wanted the Burlesque Bustle skirt to rest on the waist area and start poofing (??) out at the hip area. As such, I took the measurement of my waist and added 2 more inches (30").
For the ruffles, I took the measurement of my waist and multiplied it by 1.5 (45"). As I wanted 3 layers of ruffles at the back, I had 3 different lengths of ruffles (5", 10", 15"), the longest ending just above the back of the knees.
The main skirt, the one that goes all around full length will be another piece, 3 times your waist measurement (90" for me) and the width will be 20".
Step 3: Cut Out the Edges of the Skirt
Take the 3 rectangular pieces (RUFFLES ONLY, NOT WAISTBAND) and cut out a piece from the edge, such that it resembles a letter D with curved-in sides.
Step 4: Hem and Decorate the Skirt
Hem the waistband and only the bottom curved part of the ruffles and leave the top straight one alone. Basically, you fold an edge of the skirt and put it under a sewing machine so that the edges would look more even than rough and cut out.
Now you can decorate the skirt however you like, with lace or chiffon or even spray-on glitter. I used sheer fabric, folded into half and sewed it onto the edges of the ruffles.
Step 5: Bunch and Gather the Skirt
For people with a decent sewing machine:
You are lucky. Sigh. Place the straight edge of the ruffles under the sewing machine and select the long stitch option. While sewing, you can also hem the top part. DO NOT BACKSTITCH. Take the ruffles out and pull the threads on both sides. It would gather naturally.
For people like me without a decent sewing machine:
My parents just didn't want to invest in a nice sewing machine so a 20 bucks from ebay was all I got. It doesn't have the long stitch option, but hand sewing works as well. Thread the needle and start sewing the top part with long, big stitches (fold the top edge down so you can hem it as well) . It doesn't need to be perfect as the gathering later on will hide the stitches. While sewing, pull the fabric to one side, in a way that it gathers and bunches up. Tie a knot and cut the remaining thread away.
Do the same thing for all 3 ruffles.
Step 6: Sew Up Your Ruffles
You can either hand stitch it or use a sewing machine. I couldn't fit the 3 layers into my sewing machine so I handstitched, sewing them together only at the parts they folded in.
Step 7: (Cut), Hem, Decorate and Gather Up Your Main Skirt
Make the big main skirt the same way you did the ruffles, only this time, you have the choice to leave the main skirt as it is, or cut the front up so that it is way higher in front.
The cutting part is optional, but if you wish to do so, the pattern is attached.
Hem the skirt by folding in only the bottom curved parts.
Decorate the skirt the same way you did your ruffles
Gather the main skirt, but this time, make sure that the skirt can fit around your waist snugly.
If you are sewing a zip into the skirt, do NOT sew up the sides together first!
Step 8: Sew the Waistband on With the Main Skirt
It's good to get elastic waistbands, but if you only have zips, place the zip at the side of your body, fold the edges of the waistband in and sew it up. The remaining zip will go down at the side of the dress, so you might need to cut the skirt up a little and sew it back with the zip.
For people who wanted to cut the skirt from the previous step, the pattern included is just right for inserting a zip at the side.