Monday, April 14, 2014

Violent Violet: More Progress

     This little dress has been lots of fun for me so far! The colors and shape make me so happy. Since my last post on this dress, I finished the sleeves, replaced the plastic back bones with steel bones, and pleated and attached the skirt.

     For the skirt, I had to futz around a lot to get the shape I was looking for. I'm dating my dress vaguely between 1827-1831. It's when the skirt and sleeves are still a bit small (well, small for the Romantic era). It's flat in the front and full in the back. I couldn't find many sources on this style. I found many fashion plates from the time frame I am aiming for.

     I also referred back to the PoF 1827-1829 dress, but I didn't think I had the patience for the shaped panels or the pleating style. But it did give me the idea of the knife pleats point in towards the skirt front and the cartridge pleats in the back. 

     I found Jennifer Rosbrugh's 1830's "Slytherin" Dress. She had the right idea. Leave a few inches at the center front of the skirt just flat, knife pleat to the sides of the skirt, and then cartridge pleat the back of it. I think it looks great. I was anticipating having to shape some of my skirt panels, but I like this method (much easier).
     Here's my process. For the front panel, I played around with knife pleats, figuring out how many I needed and how deep to make them. I ended up with 4, 1-inch deep pleats on each side of a 6-inch flat front.

In progress pleats.

Pleats pinned to bodice.

     To add some support and structure, I padded the pleats with purple cotton. I sewed the front panel to the two back panels. Then, I cartridge pleated the back, also padded with purple cotton. To prevent the skirt from pulling on the delicate lower edge of the bodice, I used twill tape as a waistband that I later tacked to to the sturdier innards of the bodice.

The pleats turned out a little too tight for my taste, but
I made it work. 

     All of that brought us to where we are now! The hem is just pinned up right now, but will be faced with more cotton for support later. Now, I just need to finish the hem, make and sew on the trim, and make another petticoat and teeny bum pad.

Over and out.


  1. Oh my WORD. I love this gown more than I can say. The color, the combination with the plaid and the orange, the sleeves, the whole thing. It's not easy to pull off this time period. I can't wait to see it all completed - I don't know if I'll ever get to see it in person, so please please please take lots of pictures of you in it, and post them. :-)

    1. Thank you so much! That's a huge compliment! It's probably my favorite era right now.
      There will be lots of pictures, but I hope you get to see it one day! Hopeless Romantics reunion!

  2. This dress look amazing! I love the orange-purple combo. I have a "thing" for orange plaid, but the purple really makes it pop. I can't wait to see how it looks on!

    1. Thanks so much! That's a huge compliment. I love orange plaid, too! The brighter, the better.