Saturday, April 27, 2013

My Dickens Dress

     So, I participate in the Great Dickens Christmas Fair in the San Francisco Cow Palace. It's a bloody good time. This past season was my second and I had a new character, so I had to make a new costume. I was originally going for late 1830's, but it just ended up being a frickin mish-mash of eras and styles. The costume directors want us to keep our costumes to the bell-era (roughly 1842-1864). My deviating dress style kind of bothers me, but I'm proud of the learning experience and still had a great time.
     I found a decent bright red cotton sateen at Joann's and set to work. I had limited time and I hate working under pressure, but that's how it went. I got all this inspiration for the sleeves from late Regency fashion for the puff sleeves, but I wish I'd just stuck with the slopping shoulders of the mid-Victorian era. I used Laughing Moon's Early 1860's Day Dress for the bodice pattern, but altered it a lot, obviously. For the skirt-the basics. Just two panels of fabric cartridge pleated onto a waistband. I really do like cartridge pleats. I padded them a bit with just a layer of cotton folded under them. Dunno if I like the effect still. It does give me some nice hips, seeing as I lack in that department in actual anatomy.
     Through the run of Fair, I switched between wearing a weird modern crinoline-poufy-thing, a small hoop, and a corded petticoat under the skirt. The crinoline was crap, kept getting weighed down. I think my material is a little heavy, though. The hoop was nice, but I don't like how much room it takes up backstage and for sitting and such. I only got the corded petticoat done like halfway through the run, so it didn't get as much use, but I like the effect best. I didn't starch it, so it did cause my skirts to droop a little bit, but I plan to supplement that next year by making a bum pad and starching and maybe a ruffled petticoat in a stiff fabric on top of the corded. I really like the shape of skirts in the 1840's, so that's what I'll go for.
                            Enough talk, here are the photos. I decided to use this dress for my Concentration, because, what the hey, might as well. One less dress to make.

I fixed the hem shortness later.

Me want my skirt poufier...

Period-correct faux-button closure. Hooks and eyes!

What lies underneath...
                      That's all for this little dressy for now, folks. All in all, good learning experience!

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