Creating the Handmaid’s dress

This is the third post in my series on my Handmaid’s Tale cosplay. See  Why The Handmaid’s Tale and Researching the Costume for more details.

To make my cosplay, I started with the Christine Haynes Emery dress pattern and then made a list of things that needed to be changed.

First up was lengthening the skirt to the floor. This was relatively easy but I would suggest not following the hip curve if you do this yourself. You need A LOT less room in hem circumference than you think you do. Mine puffs out funny (image below) because I made it too wide at the bottom.
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Second was reshaping neckline. Oh boy was this one more complicated than I thought!  For my first attempt, I converted my v-neck pattern piece to a high round neck and then drafted facing pieces.
Once I attached this, I realized that it was WAY too high at the center front. I felt like I was suffocating! I marked where I wanted the neckline to hit, ripped out the facing, and cut down the neckline. Then I redrafted the facing with several key differences.
  1. 1 piece for the front vs. 2 pieces. I realized that the neckline needed more stability and so I drafted the piece to be all in one.
  2. I extended the front piece by 3 inches. Moving the neckline down necessitated 1 inch, but I decided I wanted another inch to be ‘open’ at the neckline. The final inch was because I realized it need a LOT more support under the center front point. I also interfaced the facing to give it stability.
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Old facing in white, new facing in brown. So different!

 

I sewed on the new facing, clipped into the curves, trimmed seam allowances then cut down the center front. Cutting into your fabric is ALWAYS terrifying. For more details about creating a ‘yoke’ like facing, see the True Bias tutorial for her Colfax dress. The concept is the same.

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Next I constructed the front and back ‘modesty’ flaps. These were 3 inches shorter than the width of my front and back skirt pieces. I hemmed both sides of the flaps and then pinned them to the skirt pieces.
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Next up my series is how I made the obi belt!
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