A quick re-cap of the original dress/pattern in Patterns of Fashion and how I modified it:
the original dress has a box-pleated skirt but I wanted the tight, narrow knife pleats so common for this period.
(Also, here are links to my posts on making the bodice and petticoat)
So I used the skirt pattern from another dress in Patterns of Fashion as a rough guide.
Although I still did things a little differently from either. I cut my skirt as two full-width panels of my fabric with a little bit of a train at the back but completely straight along the top. Instead of cutting the waist edge with a curve I just sewed it with one – you’ll see what I mean in a moment.
The style of the petticoat is based off the original one that goes with my primary dress inspiration/pattern in Patterns of Fashion:
Although to make it I simply cut 2 panels of my fabric, with the back slightly longer than the front to help accommodate the false rump that’s going under there. I also pleated mine differently from the original since it appears to have been done according to an older style where the pleats all face towards the side/pocket openings – another clue that the ensemble *may* have been an earlier one altered in the late 1770s/early 1780s. During the later period petticoat pleats tend to all face towards the centre back similarly to dress skirts, although the pleats themselves tend to be larger than on dress skirts.
This dress post is even more belated than the summer ones from this year as I made it back in the spring. However, since I’ve also been wearing it over fall I thought I could get away with still posting about it.
It’s actually one of my overall favourite dresses right now because it’s both so pretty and super comfortable!
It’s made of lovely soft, swishy rayon challis in an aqua/pink/red print, with solid red rayon for the accenting bands.
To re-cap, here is the bodice pattern I was using from Janet Arnold’s Patterns of Fashion:
I did make and fit a muslin first but am not going to bother with that here, let’s get right to the fun stuff!
This is the final summer dress I made this year. It’s also quite possibly the most comfortable, making me wish it had been the first. But at least it was done in time to help get me through the horrors of August heat/humidity. It was also a favourite during my recent trip to Italy in September.
It’s made using the same bodice pattern as the Flamingo dress, just altering it back to be sleeveless (as per one of the options with the original Burda WOF pattern). For reference, the pattern is number 112 from the November 2007 issue of the Burda magazine when it was still Burda World of Fashion, so unfortunately earlier than they started archiving them on the website.
Oh but look, I did just find an image of the line drawing from the Russian site on Pinterest:
The skirt is just 3 panels of the 54-60″ wide fabric gathered/pleated up using the ruffler foot on my Singer Featherweight.
It’s made from a really lovely cotton voile I’d had in the stash for a few years. I love the swirly, impressionistic print of it and the combination of light and dark olive greens with hints of aqua/turquoise.
It also happens to be THE perfect fabric for DC summers – so lightweight and cool, and with just a hint of crispness to it that keeps the surface smooth and cool. I have some more of this fabric in an abstract watercolour-ish print in shades of mauve that I was hoping to make up this year, but it will now have to wait until next spring. Next summer it is quite possible that I will live entirely in these two dresses (unless I can get my hands on more cotton voile of this type).
**Warning: Long and image-heavy post ahead**
A new fashion exhibition has just opened up at the Daughters of the American Revolution museum here in DC, ‘An Agreeable Tyrant’: Fashion After the Revolution. It explores Americans’ various relationships with prevailing fashions during the early Federalist period of 1780s to 1820s. Over the past year I’d been assisting the curator, Alden O’Brien, with the exhibition. First, with some late-stage planning and design, then with drafting scaled down patterns of several of the garments going on display, a little bit of photography, and finally mounting the garments on their mannequins including making adjustments to the mannequins themselves and also making some of the underpinnings needed to properly display the garments. Most of this was on a volunteer basis but I also wrote one of the essays for the catalogue (on fashion and thrift) and that was on a professional level. It was very exciting for me because its the first time I get to see my name in print this way!
FYI: The exhibition runs until April 29, 2017 and the catalogue is available to purchase online here – and they do ship internationally.
A couple of weeks ago I started a new, large-ish historical project: a c. 1780 ‘Italian’ style gown with matching petticoat although. This is very like a robe a l’Anglaise except that it has a completely separately cut bodice and skirt – so no ‘en fourreau.’
The reason for doing one of these now is another Gadsby’s Ball on November 12 that’s 1780s-themed. Hooray for not being Regency! As much as I love it, I’m getting Regency-d out. Most of the balls around here have been for that period over the past year and I recently finished a c.1800 ensemble I still need to post about, so I’m very ready to do something different. I’m pretty excited since I’ve never done 1780s before! Bring on the pouf!
Anyway, my fabric for this is an iridescent rust silk shantung – a very smooth one. I bought it from Fabricmart during one of their silk sales wherein it was described as silk taffeta and looked very smooth in the photos. When it arrived I discovered it was actually shantung – a very smooth one, but nonetheless not taffeta. This had happened once before with a silk purchase from them so I sent them an email to let them know there was an issue. I didn’t ask to return the fabric because it’s gorgeous all the same but wanted them to know it made me wary of ordering from them in future. They sent a kind reply saying they’d gone back and amended all the relevant listings on their site and sent me a $10 gift certificate by way of apology.
So, that’s a long-winded explanation for why I decided to just go ahead and use shantung for this instead of actual taffeta.
It’s pretty scrummy, shantung-ness notwithstanding.
For this ensemble I’m doing a bit of a Janet Arnold mash-up. Essentially, I’ve combined 3 of her late 18th century patterns:
The main one is this 1775-85 gown in the Snowshill collection (now at Berrington Hall). I’ve done research there, pity this one wasn’t on my radar at the time to check out in-person.
Last weekend I hosted my first party at our lovely, historical row house here on Capitol Hill. The idea was for it to be like a mini little version of the Costume College Gala to give local people an opportunity to dress up in periods they may not usually get to (if they were so inclined) and for me to be able to make some new friends and continue getting to know others. As such, it wasn’t period specific, people were encourage to wear whatever took their fancy/don’t get to wear often/made them feel fabulous!
So I thought I’d share some of the photos taken since everyone looked so fabulous!
In keeping with the date of the house (1908) I had been on the lookout for some time for classic-looking champagne coupes and finally got a set of 12 (from I’ve already forgotten where) a month or so ago. I really wanted them in time for this party!
This is a second dress inspired by this vintage early 60s (?) one with the button tab shoulders:
When I finished this dress back in early summer it was actually a UFO from the end of summer last year and who doesn’t love getting a UFO off their hands?
This is the pattern I used for the bodice, only I made it sleeveless and brought the neckline in a bit as I didn’t want it quite so wide. For the skirt I just cut 2 selvedge to selvedge panels and pleated it up into the waist.