I've finished the underskirt for my Steampunk Cleopatra outfit.
The pattern I used was Truly Victorian's 1892 Umbrella Skirt with Train. It's a pretty simple pattern, except for one thing: the size of the pattern piece. Yes, piece, singular. The entire skirt is one piece, with only one seam up the back. With a skirt that used 5 yards of fabric, that's a pretty large pattern piece.
Here's the pattern spread out over the fabric. It's taking up the entirety of the floor space in my living room. (And attracting quite a bit of cat attention. That's Grimmie. She's good. Her older brother had to be locked up while I worked with this pattern.)
As you can maybe see, my measurements were a bit off when I cut this length of fabric off the bolt, and I'm short a couple of inches at the end of the train. I intended to make the skirt with the long train, but as a result of this error I went with the short train. And I'm really glad I did because it's the perfect length.
Here's the front of the skirt on me. Forgive the wrinkles. I'm actually quite pleased with how this looks, although I think it looks better in reality than in any of the photos I got. With a corset it will look better. I'm also not wearing a petticoat in these pictures. I will probably wear my natural form petticoat under this, but didn't feel like digging it out. I guess I should make sure it works alright with this skirt before too long.
The pattern calls for two things I didn't include. First, a lining. I didn't have 5 yards of any fabric I wanted to use for a lining, and I don't see that it really requires one. I'll be wearing enough layers when it's all said and done. And especially since there's only the one seam it didn't seem necessary. But that added a problem: the skirt calls for hem stiffening via canvas or other stiff material sewn around the bottom of the lining. Since I wasn't using a lining, I couldn't figure out how to sew a hem stiffener on without having the stitching show. So I left it out. I don't think it's vital, although I still might try an alternate technique like iron-on stiffener or adding some stiff ribbon to the bottom as trim.
As you can see, the train is lovely. It's exactly what I wanted to recreate the Cleopatra costume. The train will probably limit me to wearing this costume indoors. I intend to add a loop of fabric to the underside of the train so I can carry it off the floor if need be. I might also see about bustling it up, but I think that will interfere with the overskirt.
As for the rest of the outfit, I'm still waiting on getting the right gold fabric before I can start the overskirt. I got two swatches of gold silk dupioni, but one was too pale and the other too orange. I've ordered about 5 more swatches and am waiting for them to arrive. I'm having nightmare visions of never being able to find the right color gold. I didn't think it would be this difficult.
So in the meantime I'm working on the corset pattern. I spent this past weekend working on converting the corset pattern from 1/2 scale to full scale and my measurements. I'll have a post on that probably later this week after I've made the first mock-up.