Thursday, October 17, 2013

Victorian Military-Inspired Bodice

     Some time ago, I decided I needed a Victorian Military-inspired outfit to wear at Dickens Fair. Women's military-inspired clothing is popular throughout fashion history. Often seen in riding habits or outerwear, but also in everyday wear.

     My inspiration was a dress I saw backstage on an elegant lady at Dickens Fair of 2012. It turned out the lady was Cait of Curse Words and Crinolines! (I'm a big fan!) 
     She styled the dress after the 13th Hussars tunics (the Hussars are a British regiment). She explains it all on her blog. Check it out!
     I decided I must have one. I covet the red tunics of the Fusiliers. Partly because I wear red at Dickens and I'm now really into red Victorian dresses, but mostly because lovely, lovely Boyfriend wears that regiment at Fair!

The British are coming! The British are coming!
There he is, left front.
copyright Laurie T.

     My Dickens skirt is already roughly the color of the tunic, so that will represent the bottom part. But not my old bodice nor the new one I just finished will cut it for the top part. So, NEW BODICE! Yay!
     I need find the proper shade of red wool to match Boyfriend's tunic. He has already allowed me extensive observation of the garment and gifted my proper regimental buttons, lace, and collar grenades. (Oh, my goodness, I love that boy!) 
     I have decided to stop the garment at the waist, straight in front and a little point in back. This is a feature seen in mess jackets. Look at this picture of Captain Haselemere dancing with the Queen. 

See that little point in the back? That's what I'm going for.
copyright Christopher M. 

     I will be using a heavily modified Laughing Moon Early 1860's Day Dress bodice pattern as a base. The coat sleeves provided in the pattern are a good shape, but a bit big, so I will narrow them a bit. The button placket will be piped with white piping. A little navy wool collar will be added and matching cuffs. The gold lace will go on the collar and cuffs. The buttons and grenades go on last. Here are some photos I got of the tunic for reference:

     It's an original, so it's very old. We think about the 1880's. The wool on these old tunics can survive pretty well if taken care of, but the thread will just rot over time. The thread must be replaced. Boyfriend has done it on his a few times. 
     Oh! I'm excited! I do hope to finish it for Dickens! 

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Anna Karenina

     So, I finally got my @$$ around to seeing Anna Karenina (the 2011 version with Keira Knightly and Jude Law). EVERY SELF-RESPECTING COSTUMER AND FASHION FANATIC MUST SEE THIS MOVIE. It's porn!! Juicy, fabulous eye candy....
     The movie is done pretty well, too, which is a very nice plus to any costume drama. The costumes are not just beautiful, but they express the characters, story, setting, and development of said plot and characters (weather it was historically-correct or not). In my opinion, it's one of the main aspects that makes or breaks a costume(s). Oh, yes, and of course it won an Oscar for Best Costume. Well deserved.
     I could run through what I loved about each of the costumes individually, but I instead will turn your attention to one particular dress. A very simple, yet striking gown (well, simple compared to the other gowns in the movie). A gown worn by a woman whose attire I and many others are quite used to coveting already.
It is the lavender-periwinkle ballgown wore by none other than Michelle Dockery.
     The chick who play Lady Mary from Downton Abbey. Just in case you need reference.

Lady Mary

     Dockery's character is one of the fine ladies that hangs out in "society" and looks pretty with Anna and all the other rich ladies. Her name is Princess Myagkaya, I believe. But now, the dress...

     Try as I might, it was hard to find a decent shot of the full front of the dress, but I found some fun tumblr gifs.

     I just love the dress. Looks very well made, great silk, great color, great fit, great details. And I love the accessories. Unlike many of Anna's gowns, this one is more historically accurate. You can see the curved seams on the back of the bodice, the hook-and-eye hidden closure, the neckline, the little peplum in the back, and the way skirts are drawn up (most likely attached to ribbons underneath). Also notice the way the bodice is set at the natural waist and the straight front bottom edge . Perfect for the super late 1860's and the first 4 or so years of the 1870's. I also love it, because it gives the illusion that your legs are much longer (which is fun for me, because I'm so short and have little legs!).
     Oooh....makes me want one for myself. And I do want a Bustle Era gown....ahh... The bodice would have to be detachable so I could makes a matching day bodice! PREEETY!!!
     Of Anna's costumes, I did love many of them, especially the ones she wears earlier in the film. Dark, but elegant and very fun. This was one of my favorites...

Costume sketch.

     Love it. But, if you haven't, go see it for yourself. It's a good movie. And for me...