THE SEWING DIVAS sewing, design, fashion

December 31, 2007

Evening wear, bustier and skirt

Filed under: Closures,couture sewing,Els,sewing — Els @ 4:06 pm

My last post for this year is about a bustier and 8 gore godet skirt I made 2 years ago, one of my nieces is the model so the patterns are drafted on her measurements. 

The fabric I used was stretch polyester satin and viscose embroidered tulle,  polyester habutai lining. Interfacing a lightweight woven stretch for the top, bustier interfacing and soft tie interfacing for the extra bust padding. Petersham ribbon for the skirt waistband,  Rigilene boning and spiral steel boning. Invisible zippers for the skirt and the bustier. Because there are no instructions or pattern to review I add pictures so you can see some details for those who are interested in some techniques I used for this outfit.
The skirt was easy to sew I used a 60 needle and alterfil thread which prevents puckering, due to the coating of the thread .

To read more about how to use the alterfil coated thread see AlterFil®S Sewing Thread for Pucker-free Seams

Pressed the seams open and used a 3 thread serger to finish them, just as the lining skirt.
The skirt and lining are sewn together at the waistline, pressed a fusible stay tape just above the stitch line for the waist and I used petersham ribbon for a facing at the waistline.
Since I only had brown petersham ribbon in my stash I covered the ribbon with a bias cut fabric after I pressed the petersham outer edge in shape.
The cover is pressed open by using the edge of a wooden paint spatula since this was narrow enough to get inside the fabric cover. I thread marked the waistband for corresponding seams and stitched the facing at the waistline of the skirt.


Turned the waist face band under and pressed in place. Attached the waistband to all the seams with invisible hand stitching.  

The bustier is supported by an inner bustier made of a special heavy bustier woven interfacing. The bust padding I used is to add some more “body”, but also can help as a support for a more voluminous bodytype.

 I used a soft tie interfacing for this padding and this is stitched onto the inner bustier interfacing, see diagram pattern.

The stitching line is a sewing foot away from the previous line. Start and finish the padding 3/8 inch( 1 cm) from the centerpart and side panel.The depth depends on the bust depht. 


To prevent stretching out I used strips of bias cut lining which I steam pressed first.This so called stay-tape is sewed at the upper and bottom edges of the inner bustier.I marked the measurings from each panel at the seam allowance.

The rigilene boning is stitched over the bust seam allowance till under the bust there I split the boning and removed the covering partly and cut off the center plastic tubes till I left 2 tubes at the left and right side.

Those tubes were sewed by using a zigzag stitch but only at the seam allowances (left and right side).

Piping filled with a tiny cord which is sewed at the bustier around the edges.

The excess wide of the lining stay tape is cut off later.


Tulle lay out using the already interfaced fabric parts as a guide. Hook and eye tape which I used but covered with lining fabric.

I did cut 2 additional panel parts to use as a tightening piece of strength, so the invisible zipper would not have to hold the body tight on its own with the risk that the zipper will separately itself.

The extra panels are cut from a sturdy cotton covered with lining and sewed at the inner bustier  panels.

 The invisible zipper is too long but needed to get dressed, to keep the extra length of the zipper inside I used a snap . The “male “part is sewed at the end of the zipper and the “female”part is sewed just besides the zipper start at the lining.


On the next picture you can see that when the zipper is closed and the hook & eye tape panels are not closed yet, they are smaller in wide about 3/8 inch (1cm)  because when this is closed they have to hold the body tight and not the zipper.


To keep the lining snug under the bust I sewed a small fish eye dart.



  1. WOW!!!! That looks amazing!

    Comment by Tara — December 31, 2007 @ 5:01 pm

  2. Sigh. Wonderful. Thank you for showing the insides and the way you did the cups – I’m always interested in different methods of making the inner framework for these sorts of bodices.

    Comment by summersetbanks — December 31, 2007 @ 5:32 pm

  3. That is gorgeous. I love all of the inside details.

    Comment by erica b. — December 31, 2007 @ 6:36 pm

  4. I really admire your sewing skill, Els and I’m just wondering how you covered the hook and eye tape, since you would have to stitch over the metal???? Or maybe you did it by hand? I have to admit, I probably wouldn’t have bothered with it, since it is not visible – but then that’s the difference between a pro and a hobby sewer.

    Comment by KayB — January 1, 2008 @ 6:23 am

  5. Els I think you have ESP – I’m just about to start my niece’s prom gown, and this will be very helpful!

    Comment by phyllisc — January 1, 2008 @ 8:45 am

  6. Els,

    What a stunning outfit! Your niece is model-beautiful as well.

    You mentioned alterfill thread which I have never heard of. Can you tell us where you got it or the brand name? Does it go by any other names?

    Comment by Glenda — January 1, 2008 @ 11:17 am

  7. Thanks for posting this! Wonderful techniques. I would never have thought of covering the hook & eye tape. And a beautiful garment too! :))

    Comment by Vicki — January 2, 2008 @ 6:04 am

  8. Els.-
    Wonderful to be able to appreciate this work which I commented on my blog, remember?. The technique is perfect and tissues bustier and skirt are precious. I am passionate about this work, with interior construction. And I will send you a photograph by e-mail that I can not post to my blog, I have some sewing model for other designers. Some time ago I did a similar model to a friend who is married and lives in Andover (Kansas), skirt dupión gold bustier of tulle and lined with dupión. Congratulations on the excellent work and thank you for sharing with us all. A big hug. Paco

    Comment by Paco Peralta — January 2, 2008 @ 8:04 am

  9. My god, that is simply stunning. And as always, you did a perfect job at explaining it (and making it!). Gorgeous, simply gorgeous!

    Comment by Gorgeous Things — January 3, 2008 @ 6:02 pm

  10. I remember this dress and find its construction process a fabulous example of couture sewing. You did an outstanding work and it’s a privilege being able to appreciate it and learn from you these techniques. Thank you!

    Comment by Tany — January 3, 2008 @ 7:19 pm

  11. Thanks for all your flattering comments.

    KayB, I did cover the hook & eye tape by hand sewing slipstitches around the metal is the way to do it.

    Glenda, I did add some more information about the Alterfil thread.

    Vicky, in couture sewing the garments must be beautiful on the outside as well as the inside.

    Comment by Els — January 4, 2008 @ 8:50 pm

  12. I’m speechless. Beautiful inside and out. Great review of the process. I’ll definitely try your technique.

    Thank you,

    Comment by Cennetta — January 5, 2008 @ 10:13 am

  13. Thanks for the link to the fascinating article which describes your thread. I also loved reading about all the other very specialized machines and tools for garment sewing. Who knew there a machine just for attaching a moon patch to a polo shirt? 🙂

    Comment by Glenda — January 5, 2008 @ 1:36 pm

  14. Your Evening wear is beautiful and I appreciate all of the detailed instructions as I’m a new sewer. Thanks so much for sharing and again this is just beautiful work.

    Comment by Phyllis T. — January 10, 2008 @ 10:54 am

  15. I have never seen the bust done like that before, it’s fascinating. Thanks for showing us!

    Comment by dawn — January 10, 2008 @ 7:52 pm

  16. Hi, The info is exactly what I needed. Thanks a lot, I can now make more b ustier orders with your tips. Thanks a lot. Just in time for the remaining wedding gowns I need to cut

    Comment by Jocelyn — January 15, 2008 @ 7:44 pm

  17. Els, that is indeed as beautiful on the inside. Thank you for all the detail documenting the process. I find the technique of splitting the rigilene under the bust very interesting, and have never seen that done before.

    Comment by Marji — January 30, 2008 @ 4:15 am

  18. This dress is so pretty. I’m making my daughter’s prom dress and she is large busted (36 D) she wears a size 8/10 dress size. The top is exactly like the one you made. Im using muslin first to fit it to her, it fits perfectily except that the top gapes open at top of her bust ( it doesn’t lay flat on the top of her chest). Can you please tell me what I can do to prevent this or where I can go to find out.

    Comment by Lynda — March 28, 2008 @ 11:02 pm

  19. Lynda I sent you an email.

    Comment by Els — March 30, 2008 @ 5:30 pm

  20. Hi Els
    this is beautiful craftsmanship. Your blog is so helpful. Do you have more in-depth examples of how to make the inner bustier? Are the cups a separate pattern piece or are they just shaped by the rows stitching?

    Comment by Nathalie — December 11, 2008 @ 2:42 pm

  21. Really nice work, makes you understand how much work it really is behind each bustier.

    Comment by Bustier — October 10, 2009 @ 8:30 am

  22. Hi ,
    Looking for a skirt and bustier to match poss a shawl or something to go with it , Its for a party but also want to wear for a wedding size 14 ? I used to go to a shop in paisley called play so i think your stuff is the same

    Thanks for your help
    Susan x

    Comment by Susan Milligan — June 10, 2010 @ 5:30 am

  23. Wow! Amazing posts!
    Thanks very much, this will most definitely be bookmarked! posts very nice.

    Comment by Babydoll — June 11, 2010 @ 12:17 am

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