Monday, April 22, 2013

Restoration Gown

My Restoration Gown was the first thing I made using a pattern from a book instead of a paper pattern, back in Jan-Feb 2011. I used Period Costume for Stage and Screen as my pattern, and enlarged it to fit me. It actually wound up being quite easy to fit, and the first mockup only needed a little tweaking. However, the planning stage for this gown was ridiculously long. I found the fabric (7yds of a home dec blend) at Hancocks on the remnant table before I had even graduated college, and had been saving it for a 17th c gown. (though one of a slightly different design - a little more 1640s).

This one was inspired by a few different gowns - namely, the orange gown from Stage Beauty, the silver tissue gown, and this portrait of Suzanna Huygens. One of the things that I love about reproducing the 17th c also wound up making things more difficult - very few people (at least that I know of) have made gowns in this era. (though I did appreciate finding Kendra's gown, and Lauren's gown.) Likewise, while there is a great wealth of men's Musketeer-era patterns available, at the time, there were no patterns or books devoted to women's fashions.

I did not do this particularly historically accurate, besides using a sewing machine, the main thing I did differently was to build the bodice over my fully boned mid-18th c stays, instead of making a boned bodice.  I also was not able to find any information regarding how skirts were connected to bodices, so I made it up! I sewed the back panel of the knife-pleated skirt to the bodice, but pleated the front section to twill tape, so that it could be tied around the waist (under the bodice in back) like an 18th c petticoat. The bodice closes in front with hooks and eyes, and the slashed sleeves are cartridge-pleated into the armseyes. . The bodice and sleeves are trimmed with pearl-and-lace trim and swarovski elements, as well as false chemise puffs around the neckline.

The gown is worn with a very puffy-sleeved chemise, with the chemise cuffs turned up over the bottom of the slashed sleeves, and over a couple 18th c petticoats, my mid-18th c stays, and my petal-shaped bum pad. Of course, although I finished it in February, I didn't actually wear it until August, for the Gala at Costume College. And unfortunately, that's the only time I've gotten to wear it, since it is now too big.

At Costume College
I also made a mask for the occasion

I made the pearly accessories for my hair
With my historical dog

June 2011
I might remake it smaller some day

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