Tree Gown in Action + Another James-Inspired Dress

It only took about 6 months, but here’s my reproduction Tree Gown in action!

IMAGE-HEAVY POST WARNING.

Photos were taken by my long sufferingly-devoted friend Stephan at the Royal York Hotel in Toronto – Thanks Steph! ;o)

Not the most inspiring backdrop for these two, but the lighting caught the details of the draping well.

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Now that’s classy.

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The MAC artist who did my make-up deliberately matched my lipstick to the colour of the dress! lol

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There were a lot of silly photos along the way. I call this face “Mrph”. You know, like the sound villagers in Minecraft make, lol.

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Sooo…… not only did I take on the insane challenge of reproducing a Charles James gown, but I did another one for my friend, Jill!

Her’s is very loosely based on this James gown:

~Rose Clover dress c1953. Designer: Charles James 1906-1978 Medium: Pink silk taffeta, silk satin, and boning~

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I made her a little capelet with the leftover fabrics too.

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Jill had some pretty great expressions during picture-taking. I hope she doesn’t mind me posting these, heehee. Hey Jill, lemme know if these are too undignified for you.

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I love this pic of her so much.

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You can get a sense of the “swoosh” of the Tree gown in these. I’d intended to get some video of its movement, but completely forgot.

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Swoosh

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I really wish this one was in focus, oh well, the movement still looks cool.

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Jill captured wonderfully during a phone conversation, lol.

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And then there was the random lime saga. See the lime beside Jill’s hand in the photo above? We noticed it shortly after taking this photo – see below.

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Yeah, okay, enough with the lime.

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We didn’t get many photos from the ball itself, it’s easy to forget once you get there.

But here’s a photo of my husband, Andrew, and myself taken for the Globe & Mail (I knew my big pink dress was going to clash with Andrew’s dress uniform. I didn’t care) – we got onto the society page! lol

Unfortunately, there are no pictures with my superhero cape :o( There was a little snafu and it didn’t make it to the hotel in time for the photos. I did have it for the evening, but like I said, it’s really easy to forget taking pictures once you’re there.

I guess this means I’ll need another occasion to wear this!

27 thoughts on “Tree Gown in Action + Another James-Inspired Dress

  1. You and the dress look absolutely incredible! I can’t believe you tackled both of these, and with such success. I’m also super envious of the fact that you not only made Tree but you also have a place to wear it.😉

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    • Well, they are both Fairmont hotels, also like the Chateaus Laurier and Frontenac, etc! I love that we have a string of these old-world-elegant hotels across the country!

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  2. what a work of art! These dresses are so incredibly impressive. Congratulations on completing such a masterpiece! I was wondering two things – what was the rough yardage of fabric that you used in the pink dress? It looks like a lot! And my next question is how much did the dress weigh – did it feel heavy compared to contemporary garments? I often wonder how women were affected by wearing the much heavier clothes of the past – especially the Victorian era.

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    • For my dress I used at least 12 yds of 54″ wide pink dupioni. But there was also a lot of other materials and fabrics that went into it too. If you scroll back through my blog you’ll see the different steps of construction and the different materials that I used. It is quite a heavy dress. This is largely because everything all attached together, the layers are not separate pieces. However, there is a simple but clever way to deal with the weight so it doesn’t feel like it’s dragging you down – take it at your waist. There is some distribution at the shoulders and through the bodice, but a lot of the weight rests at the waist by having a waist stay – like an inner waistband. This is how the weight of historical clothing was often managed as well.

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  3. wow! Both dresses are amazing, but your red one makes me speechless, really stunning, I’m in awe! I don’t even want to know how much fabric went into this😉
    love, ette

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  4. Came over here from We Sew Retro — both the dresses are gorgeous. Am I right in thinking there’s a “sub lime” joke going on in one of the photos?

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    • Thank you so much! I really hope it may encourage other people to feel something like this could be within their reach too, if they were so inclined.

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  5. what a pity you can’t make a pattern of the dresses and sell them. I know I’d get one of each. just the idea of making them from drafting is impressive and mind boggling. and you both look breathe taking. Congratulations on dresses well done indeed

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  6. I’m so, so glad I found your series on making Tree. I have my heart set on making Swan (or an approximation thereof, I am a plus size after all) as my wedding dress. I found images of the pattern pieces on the Met’s website, but unfortunately the resolution isn’t good enough to be able to read the few notations on the pattern pieces. This gives me hope that I’ll be able to work it out. The draping really does look like the most complicated part, but seeing your progress makes it less scary. Now I’ve just got to figure out the structure of the underskirt for mine … I’ll definitely be taking some cues from yours! 🙂

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    • Oh wow, that’s quite the undertaking! I still find Swan quite an intimidating design. Best of luck to you (and congratulations on your up-coming wedding!), I hope my Charles James sojourn may be of some help to you!

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  7. Pingback: Illustration Imitation: Vintage Simplicity 5059 – aka – Fall Dress #1 | The Modern Mantua-Maker

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