The Dress, part 1 of Quite a Few.


You’ve probably heard me talking about this on Twitter already, but there’s no point in hiding what has sort of become my keynote project of BookMade. I’m attempting to make Scarlett’s dress (or, at least, a dress inspired largely by Scarlett’s dress, or maybe just something that resembles an article of clothing) from Caraval.

So. Yep. It’ll be an interesting project.

As opposed to other BookMade projects, in which I will have one post to explain how I made whatever it is, this one’ll take a few more than that. At this point, I’m thinking that there’ll be at least four or five posts detailing the process, so settle in for a good, long project.


And no, I have no idea what I’m doing. I have, like, three pictures, the Caraval aesthetic board, and a basic understanding of hand sewing to go off of*. I am not attempting to make the corset, but rather will find one somewhere to use and add to the whole 1870s-circusy-vaguely-steampunk style.

This is the general shape of it, by the way:

Image result for 1870s fashion

It’ll be very exciting, to say the least.

*I tried using a sewing machine at first, but proved my theory that any sewing machine I touch immediately decides to mutiny.

Anyway, this first portion of this will be the bustle pillow. Don’t know what this is? It’s a special pillow to tie around your waist. Like the corset, it helps create the shape of the dress, but in less of a painful way.


Yeah, I know. It looks bizarre. But hopefully, it’ll look better with the skirt over it.

I was an idiot and didn’t make it properly, either, so it’s rather short and looks even more stupid than it’s supposed to, but it works? Ish?

I used this pattern. It’s wonderful, so long as you read the instructions properly and enlarge it as it asks you to. Instructions for my particular brand of pillow are in italics, but… as aforementioned, it looks very odd. Make it the way you’re supposed to, and it will look far better. 

Before you start, make sure you have fabric enough for the pattern (a yard should be more than enough), at least two feet- preferably a yard- of ribbon (another of my mistakes… I’ll need to fix that.), and some kind of quilt batting or stuffing. Honestly, rice would probably work if that’s what you have on hand. Don’t forget fun little notions such as a needle/thread and a heck of a lot of pins. One of those magnetic pincushion things is good, especially since pins. will. be. dropped.


First, cut out your pieces and pin them. DON’T FORGET TO ENLARGE THE PATTERN. If you haven’t hand-sewn before, we’re working on the wrong side of the fabric. Make your stitches about a quarter inch from the edge, if you can, and we’ll turn this right-side-out, later.

After realizing my mistake, I cut out two strips of fabic and pinned them to the flat edge of the pillow. It’s kind of hard to explain better, but if you remember making newspaper hats as a kid… if the brim was on the inside, that’s what this is. 


Sew the curved edge.

If you made the same mistake I did (don’t), sew each extra piece to each flat side. Make sure you’re sewing through two layers and not four. 


Another mistake I made: I pinned and sewed the ribbon to the inside of the pillow. You want the stitches and the end of the ribbon to be on the inside, but I had to pull the ribbon out of the stitches later on. Nasty business.



Sew the flat sides, but leave enough room to shove in your stuffing. This is important. Do not forget it. 4-ish inches should do it. I like to leave the needle and thread attatched while I’m stuffing, so don’t tie it off yet. DSC00906


Turn the pillow right-side out, poke it into shape, and start shoving in your stuffing. You want it to be firm but not stiff, so prod stuff around before sewing it entirely shut.

I stuffed each part of my pillow seperately in the hopes that it’d remedy part of my mistake. It didn’t, but it gives it a bit more volume? I’m not really sure what the point was, actually. 

Stuffing the bottom portion and sewing it shut.



Sew it shut as you stuff. You’ll have some visible stitches, but it doesn’t matter in the slightest- not only will they be basically invisible, but this is a purely structural thing.


Voila. Bustle pillow. If you followed the instructions nicely, yours won’t have a seam down the middle, but alas… the good thing is that, as of yet, functionality does not seem to have been altered.

I recognize that from all appearances this is not a very bookish post, but it’s a crucial step on the way to recreating the dress of Scarlett Dragna. Hopefully, I’ll be able to do it justice, but… well, we’ll see.


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