Friday, October 9, 2015

Victorian Mourning Gown begginings

My friend and I are attending an event in Colorado, a Victorian Wake at the Miramont Castle in Manitou Springs in a couple of weeks.  The Miramont Castle is really fun to wander through and I could not resist the chance to attend the Wake.

Of course this means I needed a dress. I have always wanted a Victorian Mourning gown so this was the perfect opportunity.  I have a Pintrest board for inspiration here.  Although I have decided not to copy a particular dress, my favorite is this dress from the Met Museum here.  I love the false front/split skirt look and decided I need this for my dress.

To start with I needed patterns.  I am using several from Truly Victorian that I will modify as needed.  I have always had good luck with their patterns.  I will definitely make the bodice and the base skirt, but I have not yet decided on the butterfly bustle yet.  It would be so lovely, but I worry about the train in the crowd.

The skirt plan: I will make this skirt with the bustled back and ruffle. I plan on only adding the ruffle to the sides and the back of the skirt.  The front of the skirt I plan to make in different silk to appear as an underskirt and will add narrow partial front pieces of the main silk as a false opening. 
TV261-R 1885 Four-gore Underskirt
 If I have time, I would like to make the detachable Butterfly Train.  I just dont know if I will have time before this event and again trains and crowds are bad together.
TV361 Late 1880s Butterfly Detachable Train
 For the bodice, I really wanted the triangular neck opening, so I have decided to use the 1883 Tail Bodice.  I plan to use the short tails and 3/4 sleeves for this particular dress.
TV462 1883 Tail Bodice

For fabrics, I bought silk from Dharma Trading company.  I had originally wanted  to use silk velvet, but they were out when I went to order.  I settled on the 19.5mm Black Charmeuse as a substitute.  Although this is one of the heaviest silks they carry it is still super light weight!  More light weight than anything I have made Victorian with before.  This makes me nervous but we will see how it goes.  I also rummaged around in the stash and found some other silks for accents that should work well.  For example, this sheer silk below to fill in the false front in the skirt.
Sheer silk with lining
To start with I cut the front panel of the skirt out of some of the stash silk.  This silk is see through so it is lined with black cotton.  I treated the sheer silk and cotton as one  piece and darted it as per the pattern instructions. I then prepared some double sided Charmeuse silk pieces for the false opening.  I then stitched all these pieces together to be treated as one for the front of the skirt.  For the start of the decorations, I made tubes out of the black Charmeuse and made bows.  The bows are hand stitched to the skirt to keep them from moving, but the tubes are left free  until they meet the false sides to give the impression of being separate pieces.  Here are a couple of pictures so far!  I took pictures both with and without the flash.  No flash is truer to the colors, but the details or lost.  The flash image shows the details much better.

Skirt front no flash

Skirt front with flash

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