PROGRESS! Oh my God, I made PROGRESS!
I made Franziska's ruffle thing. No more ruffles. No more pleats. Never again. Biggest disaster of poof ever. I pleated the fabric and folded it in half, as per Sheik's suggestion. It wouldn't really stay, so I ironed the "inside" pleats, if that makes sense. Basically I ironed the part of the pleat that wouldn't be seen so that it'd stay where it should be. That still didn't work, so I sewed parts of the inner pleats to stay. That didn't work either. So I kinda gave up, haha. Then I sewed the sides of the poof together so that it would be folded over and make the bottom loop. Well that kinda screwed over my pleats a little. They still look alright, but the fourth one is hecka tiny. I messed with it and then decided to leave it. I'll be going to JoAnn's soon, and I'll look for more of the fabric that I used. If it's there, I'll buy more and re-make the whole poof.
To make the poof, umm.. poofy, I followed foxberry's advice and added some layers inside. Well. One layer. One layer of POOF! I gathered a piece of scrap fabric that was a little shorter than my poof and stuck that inside. Then I gathered the top of the whole thing so close it up. I tried starching it too, but that did absolutely nothing, heh.
To make the part that actually goes around my neck, I measured the actual height of my neck (as opposed to guestimating the height the neck piece should be) and then gathered the ends of that. On the gathered ends, I added a hook and eye to attach it in the front.
Then I sewed on the poofy ruffle to the neck piece. This took two tries. The first try, at 10:00 at night, just didn't go well. At all. It just.. No. We won't talk about that. The second try went a little better and gave it some of the volume it needed too. It's sewn upside-down on the inside of the neck piece and falls over the top when put on correctly.
I also made the buttons for the vest. I'm kinda kicking myself because I realized too late that there should be 5 triangles and 5 buttons, one is hidden by the ruffle. It's too late to fix this now though, so I ended up with 4 triangles and 4 buttons with one covered by the ruffle =/ Anyway, I used FIMO Soft modeling clay to make the buttons. It's an oven-hardening clay, similar to the very-popular Sculpey, but a lot cheaper. The clay came out of the package a little hard, but that may have been my fault for waiting so long to use it. Once I kneaded it in my hands some, it softened up and was fairly easy to work with.
First, I measured how large I wanted the diameter of the buttons to be and drew it on a piece of paper. Then I started taking chunks of the clay (it comes sort of pre-cut into pieces) and rolled them together into a ball. Once I got the ball almost as big as I wanted the button to be, I used a plastic knife to cut it in half. This messed up the shape a little, but it was easy enough to get it back to where I wanted it. Then I smooshed them down into slightly flatter half-spheres. I used a toothpick to draw a rectangle on the flat side and then cut slices of the clay off around it so that I had the rectangle sticking up in the middle of the flat side of the button. I then used the toothpick to poke a hole through the rectangle. At this point, I wish I had squished the rectangles down flatter a little to make the backs of the buttons more even. This happened to one of them on accident, and it's not my favorite button. (It's it's also the button that's covered by the ruffle. >_<)
I then baked it in the oven, following the directions, for half an hour at 230 degrees. After they were done, I sanded them with wet 400 grit sandpaper and sprayed them with (wait for it) furniture polish. The polish was supposed to make them shiny. It didn't, but it did get rid of the scratch-like marks from sanding, so I'm pleased.
i then tried on all the stuff that I have completed. I don't have leather gloves like I thought I did, but I found some well-fitting cotton gloves, so they'll have to do. If I can make it to the Halloween store, I'll search from some well-fitting leather gloves, but I have the feeling that they'll be hard to find anywhere but a specialty store, and they'll be really expensive. I have a pair of white jeans that I can use, since white dress pants are hard to come by and I don't have the money for fabric to make them. Plus, after the bloomers incident, I don't think I'm ready to make pants just yet... The boots I also already had.