Just recently finishing my first Victorian Corset and other underthings, I've decided to make an inspired Victorian Ball Gown, mainly in black, with some sparkly burnt out velvet, or other colorful fabric, for fun. I'm calling this gown an inspiration, because I am not going to use any commercial patterns or dig too far for documentation, but will rather self draft and drape, not striving for period correctness, but rather aiming to capture a fantasy idea of what I think such a gown could look like. The patterns of the gown will be my own, drafted with the intent to evoke the era, but not necessarily to reflect period correctness. So much for disclaimers. It's play time.
After completing the corset, I started by playing with some black sequined and embroidered dupioni I have, draping and pinning it over the corseted chemise and petticoat. Here are a few photos of the pinned drape. I plan on making it more permanent in the coming days.
Yesterday, I started drafting my bodice, and here is what I have so far.
January 17, 2007:
Brainstorming on ideas of what fabrics to use from my current stash, I decided to take some photos of what I have on hand. These are fabrics I bought after falling in love with them, but with no real plan at the time... something I'm not doing lately. My plan is to use one of these fabrics for a skirt and as detailing to the neckline, but to use the black dupioni of the corset in the drape swag and the body of the bodice. Here are some photos of the three fabrics I'd narrowed in upon...
(You can click the images for higher resolution photos...)
It's funny; I originally thought I wanted to use the third example, but there is no way I'll use that. It is too tie-dyed in the look. I love it, but this is not this project. Then, I was looking at both one and two, and thinking... two... but I will go with number one.
I think I want to use the blue fabric on something like this also; it does look stunningly interesting over the black. But for this, with the black swag drape, and the black dupioni bodice, I want the green... So, think: black ball gown bodice edged at the neckline with green... green skirt, overlayed with the black swag drape... This will be fun. :)
January 20, 2007:
Yesterday I sewed the hitch in the drape swag after oxidizing some silver-pewter toggles I used for the hitch. I will need to sew in the pleats around the front, otherwise they won't stay. Right now, they are folded and draped in place for the photos.
I've got pretty little black beads to adorn the hem of the drape... and I look forward to doing the hand beading.
On the bodice; I'll be splitting out the darts, and creating separate bodice pieces instead.
I've got my concept for the skirt, but need to muslin it out, first. The fabric is washed, ironed and waiting.
I have a few blurry photos of the beads I've sewn into the corset ties. They are silver Bali beads, with chips of Malachite.
I've misplaced my better digital camera, and this is the best the others we have can do.
Back to the Swag Drape, I continued to play with pins, and came to the conclusion I will not stitch down the folds in front in any way, but I will gather up the back more, pulling things up and in from behind, and thereby scrunching the front more. It is a more disheveled look, but I like it. ;D
So, I pinned up the back more, and discovered I will need to add seven more toggles to the hitch. I have exactly seven toggles left. Before I can start, I'll have to oxidize them.
Photos of the experiment:
January 21, 2007:
Today I finished putting the toggles into the swag drape. I may or may not add the beads as a fringe to the drape, because I'm worried they might pull it down, but then again, maybe not...
Because... I finished the muslin draft of my skirt, and the skirt may add enough substance to hold up the swag drape...
Here are some photos of the muslined skirt, with the drape on top.
The skirt seems to add something for the drape to grip... So, I am thinking, adding the beaded fringe should not be a problem... I may start that after I cut the skirt panels...
Here are some close-ups of the swag drape over the muslin skirt:
January 22, 2007:
Here are two photos showing how the swag drape is hitched... The toggles form a chain ladder going down the back. At the bottom and top there are two extra toggles, to hitch it up higher. The first photo shows the ladder together, and the second is after it's been hitched higher.
Today I did the mind-bending task of cutting out the skirt panels. I don't have much excess of the green fabric, and wanted to avoid mistakes like cutting two sides in the same direction. I avoided that, and have enough to nicely embellish the black bodice, still in the draft stages. :D These next photos show the panels hanging on the form, under the swag drape, just to see how the color works together.
January 23, 2007:
Today I went back to the bodice draft, and replaced the darts with separate panels, and adjusted the ease. It was way too tight, I think. I also needed to widen the amrscye a little. Now it's interesting. I measured the waist measure, and come to discover it is still one inch smaller than my natural waist, in spite of all the layers. The hips... have grown considerably. The chest is a little larger.
I'm going to add to the bodice... a rolled cowl-like edging in the green fabric. This will expand and balance out the top, I think. Here are some photos of my muslined bodice.
On the side panel... I still want to take in, just a tad, the seam closest to the front, at the waist... And I did not set the pleats yet.
January 24, 2007:
I took in the side, and adjusted the front side panels a bit. I also want to reposition the shoulder seam, setting it back into the backside of the bodice.
I plan on trying the use of bones in the bodice, to get a smoother lay.
January 25, 2007:
Last night, I cut out what may be my lining layer, out of scraps from my dear Severus' black silk noil. ;) I added boning tape, and slipped in a few bones to see if this could help smooth out most of the creases, and it does seem to help. Before I continue, I will be trying it on me, to check the fit. The dress form and corset are laced so that the measures match mine, but just in case of any differences, I need to check on me. The bones are not the bones I'll use... These are pre-cut. I have some uncut spiral steel I'll cut to size, and add caps to. If it fits well, I'll cut the outer layer, and hope it isn't too impossible to sew them together, evenly, from the top, and bind the bottom edge.
Some photos of the possible lining layer...
January 26, 2007:
Yesterday and today I fought with the hem. I've bag-lined it, trying to make sure a rand of black shows on the outside. It's as good as it'll get... Some photos:
January 31, 2007:
Over the weekend, I worked quite a bit on the bodice. I have decided to make it all black, because Eric has let me know, he'd prefer an all black version of this dress. He's not too excited about the skirt. I will make a choker in the green fabric, bordered in black, like the skirt, to wear when I wear the green skirt... ;) I may also make a black choker... and I'll be making a black cotton crushed velvet skirt, also... This project keeps growing.
I've sewn the lining to the outer layer, put in the sleeves, cut the bones and inserted them, made 13 black velvet covered buttons, bead-crocheted the gathering tie for the neckline, sewn on the casing for the gathering tie, in black cotton crushed velvet, sewn in the buttonholes, and am currently sewing the buttons in. The photos I have are from when I had the sleeves pinned in, and then, from when I had the casing in the neckline. I'll take more later today, after the buttons are in.
Photos of the sleeves pinned in... And a couple playing with leftover skirt fabric. I may use this fabric to make a shawl type thingy, or I may make a green bodice, so that I'll have two separate outfits when I'm done... Don't know yet.
Here are a few photos with the remnant skirt fabric... I am not sure if I'll make some kind of scarf, or perhaps a whole other bodice...
At this point in the progress, where these last photos leave off, I was for some reason not happy with how things were going. I don't know why, but something was bothering me.
I think it could have been that I wanted it all black... and wasn't sure how to go about finishing the bodice. I pulled out the black cotton crushed velvet fabric, and washed it, and kept going, adding the binding channel to the neckline of the bodice, where I placed the gathering tie underneath. Instantly, I liked it better.
These photos are where the binding is sewn in on the outer layer, but not sewn in on the inside yet...
But first... a photo of Seuss! He loves the green skirt, and is one mighty encouraging friend.
Here, the binding casing is sewn into the inside and the beaded crochet tie is in place. I have it such that the opening in the casing is an inch to the left, so that the beaded strands fall to the left of the buttons... ;) the pins mark where the buttons holes will go...
February 1, 2007:
The buttons are in, and I've added beads along the neckline below the velvet. These add quite a touch in person, but are hard to see in the photos. A couple of the buttons are not exactly where I want them, so I'll be fixing that next.
Currently, I am piecing together the velvet binding along the bottom hem...
February 5, 2007:
The binding along the bottom hem is nearly finished. Some tinkering is still required. In the photo on the left below, it is not sewn under on the inside... On the right, it is sewn under. Yet to do is the beadwork at the bottom and on the sleeves, and the required tinkering...
Over the weekend, I started beading the edge of the drape... Here are some progress photos.
February 9, 2007:
I made a choker out of the green and black fabric...
The bodice is beaded along the bottom binding now, too. I want to attach another beaded crochet tie through eyelets at the bottom front binding... This is still left to do.
I've continued beading on the drape. I've done the fringe beading along the front drape. At the back, it continues with just the solid line of beading, but I'm not done yet.
Here are some progress and detail photos:
Seems Jojo is liking the dress, too... Although I really think he just wants me to set up the ironing board...
Once I've finished beading the drape, I'll take the dress outside for a few outdoor shots...
I've been researching gloves. I want to make a pair in the black velvet that go all the way up the arms, allowing for some scrunching, with buttons... lots and lots of buttons... ;D
February 13, 2007:
Glove work. I've put up the muslin process of making my glove patterns on my King Baldwin Construction Page, because his costume is the first costume I've had on my list with a glove, so I felt the muslin-work belonged there. After my third muslin, I decided to try one in black silk noil, to be trimmed in green, like the choker... So far, I have the body of one glove finished...
February 22, 2007:
I'm still working on the gloves...
But today I cut out the other skirt... The black one. ;D Now, the panels are hanging. I cut this skirt differently. Less full, five panels with a back gore.
March 9, 2007:
I've nearly finished the black skirt. Still needs a button, ironing, and finishing of internal seams. I also have photos of the black choker.
March 12, 2007:
Over the weekend, I made a hat in the black crushed velvet, lined in silk noil, trimmed with beads and feathers. I also finished a pair of gloves in the crushed velvet, lined in habotai, and trimed with beads.
Recent photographs were taken of me wearing the black parts of the gown, without the drape... I've put them on my Victorian Gothic Portraits page...