How to Make a Princess Serenity Dress

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Creating costumes for your favorite fictional characters can be a rewarding activity, both in terms of fan enjoyment and sewing skill gain. One source of costume ideas is the classic anime series Sailor Moon, which depicts a wide variety of female characters to choose from. If short-skirted superheroes are not your style, however, you can always choose to picture yourself as the series' tragic, romantic figure of Princess Serenity in her iconic empire-waist ballgown.

Things You'll Need

  • Measuring tape
  • Dress form
  • Muslin fabric
  • Scissors
  • Thread
  • Sewing machine
  • Pins
  • 4 or more yards dress fabric
  • Zipper
  • Zipper foot
  • Circular patterned trim
  • Bead strand
  • 1 yard sheer fabric
  • Safety pin
  • Elastic cord

The Skirt

  • Take your own measurements. Adjust a dress form to your size.

  • Cut 2 pieces of muslin that are at least as long as your bust-to-floor measurement and twice as wide as your waist measurement. Gather-stitch the waist edges.

  • Choose a gathered muslin, then pin the waist edge of it to the underbust of the dress form, where an empire waist would be. Do the same to the other piece of muslin, on the back side of the dress form.

  • Pin the muslin pieces together at the sides of the dress form, hugging close to the form at the underbust, then gradually fanning out into a bell shape. Trim the excess fabric to 1/2 inch.

  • Trim the hem of both skirt pieces to floor length. Cut open the center of the back skirt piece all the way down.

  • Remove the skirt pieces and take out the gather stitches. Pin them to your Princess Serenity dress fabric, then cut, adding an extra 1/2 inch to the top of both pieces and the sides of the back seam, and 1 inch to the bottom of both pieces for seam allowances.

  • Gather the top of the skirt like you did on the muslin and sew the side seams of the skirt together, 1/2 inch from the edges. Sew the back seam together, stopping 7 inches from the top. Fold the hem up 1/4 inch, then another 3/4 inch and sew it down.

The Top

  • Cut 2 rectangles of muslin that are long enough to fit around your bust. Pin these rectangles to the front and back of your dress form, making the top of the dress.

  • Pin the muslin pieces together at the sides of the dress form, hugging close to the form. Put the skirt back on the dress form and match the waistline. Trim any excess fabric from the top, leaving seam allowances of 1/2 inch.

  • Cut the top apart at the center back, creating a back seam. Unpin the top from the dress form and pin it to your dress fabric. Cut 3 top pieces, adding 1/2 inch seam allowances to the back seam sides and neckline.

  • Sew the top together at the side seams, then turn the neckline under 1/2 inch and sew. Pin the bottom edge of the top to the top edge of the skirt, matching seam lines, and sew 1/2 inch away from the edges.

  • Fold the center back edges under 1/2 inch and sew the zipper to them. Sew together the remaining seam allowances.

Sleeves and Details

  • Add trim to Serenity's dress. Choose a gold circular pattern trim and hand sew it to the top edge of the dress. Sew a strand of gold beads at the waistline.

  • Create a large bow for the back of the dress out of your sheer fabric. To do so, cut 2 large rectangles, at least 12 inches long and 6 inches wide, and sew three of the edges together. Turn the rectangles right-side out and sew the remaining edge closed. Gather stitch the center of the rectangle, and pull the gathers to create a bow shape. Pin the bow to the dress with a safety pin.

  • Measure around your upper arm and cut two pieces of fabric that are twice as long and 5 inches wide. Fold the long edges under 1/4 inch twice and sew them down.

  • Cut 4 pieces of elastic cord that are as long as your upper arm measurement. Pin each piece of elastic cord to the fabric, 1/2 inch in from the long edges. Zigzag stitch all the way across the fabric at these 4 lines, stretching out and encasing the cord in thread.

  • Adjust the cord through the casing and sew the ends of the cord down. Sew the short edges of the sleeves together, 1/2 inch away.

References

  • "New Complete Guide to Sewing"; Reader's Digest; 2002
  • "Sewing for Dummies"; Jan Saunders Maresh; 2010
  • Photo Credit Junko Kimura/Getty Images News/Getty Images
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