Good thing I put that linen toile together for this robe, otherwise I'd be 100% lost. Instead, I'm only 60% lost!
Every tiny thing is a challenge. I realized, once I started working with it, that the taffeta I got was really REALLY stiff, and while it was convenient to be able to fold and crease the pleats, it wasn't so nice to have the fabric not drape, uh, at all. It was so bizarre that I didn't even post photos the first night of work because I didn't want you all to lose faith in me! Luckily I have a base/lining layer of cotton broadcloth to stitch down every little pleats to, and that in combination with the weight of the feathers will pull the taffeta into shape. I not, I'll weight it!!
Tonight, my second night of work, I cut off some of the taffeta and stitched as much to the lining as possible. I have a LOT of hand sewing, tacking, and securing ahead of me. Much of the success of this gown depends on my patience with this. You can see that the poof is still on the sides, but greatly reduced, thanks to the steam function on my iron. I pinned the pleats down loosely and fired steam at them, smoothing the pleats down with my hand after each blast. I will probably have to do this a couple more time to "train" them to take this shape.
I added the hem guard of rich brown taffeta, leftover from another project, to added visual weight to the robe, mark the starting point of the feathers (and keep them off the floor), and to extend the skirt just a little bit.
And lastly, just for pictures tonight, and to get an idea of how it will all go together, I pinned a couple rows of feathers on the bottom, and stuck a few of the bleached goose feathers into the box pleats. This last bit has gotten me very excited to start the final process of sewing on row after row of feathers, and blending them into the pleats...but I have the bodice to finish first!