Sunday, October 13, 2013

Titanically Late Plans

Almost two years ago, when I first found out about the VPLL 1912 project, I got all excited about making an evening gown suitable for wearing on the Titanic. That was when I was at the height of my Downton Abbey phase, and Lady Mary's gorgeous dresses added to the motivation. I went so far as to thrift some pale minty-jade green chiffon drapes and buy some trims, but then life and the lack of new episodes intervened, and the fabric got stuffed into the bottom of a bin, sadly forgotten until now...

The HSF challenge this fortnight is green, and this painting that The Dreamstress posted reminded me about the minty-jade-green chiffon that I had stashed away. While I don't think I'll be able to finish a whole evening gown before the deadline next week, I figured I might as well make some more concrete plans (and release them to teh interwebs for some tenuous public accountability).

Ignore the 43" x 62". It was the dimension of some sheet or other from another project. Can you tell my 1912 sketch was straight off the Sense and Sensibility pattern?

I was torn for a while on what year to aim for. I think the 1916 dresses look so fun and flouncy, but in my heart I knew I wanted the sleeker early-teens look.

I tried more sketches. Obviously I have yet to take the Fashion Illustration course at the college. 

Frustrated by my attempts to draw my vision, I just pulled out my fabrics and trims and started draping things on Cecily.

Attempt #1: so many pins holding everything in place! The chiffon looks blue in all these pictures, but in real life it's more like this green.
Attempt #2: this was several hours later, hence the change in lighting. Not sure if I prefer the crossover bodice or not. 
Closer-up of the beaded ribbon (purchased here). Also, I stole the sash from my Gatsby dress

I'm afraid a real evening gown of the era would have a lot more bling...errr, trims and beading and lace, but mine is the poor (wo)man's version, so a couple of beaded ribbons will have to do. Now that I've kind of settled on a year, I "just" need to make a structured underdress, drape and sew the overdress, and figure out where to hide all the layers of closures...


  1. You sketch better than a lot of designers. =) I like your ideas and it's fun to see the draping you did. Can't wait to see what you end up making!

    To fix the color in your photographs, you can "white balance" them. That's what I do when I edit mine - it makes a HUGE difference. And if you know it's a problem before you take the photos, your camera probably has a setting for white balance as well. (I wish online fabric stores would be sure to white balance the fabrics they are selling!)

    ~ Brooke

  2. I like your firstest attempt the mostest. It looks more 1914 to me, and I'm a sucker for anniversaries. (I know it is currently 2013, but hey!) I also think the drapery of the skirt is more natural and attractive on the first attempt. The crossover on the second attempt looks a bit bathrobey. (I hope that wasn't too harsh/wrong of me to say. I just really like the first attempt and I want you to make it! But I don't want you to not like what you make, so feel free to completely ignore me.)

  3. ooh, I'm looking forward to seeing what you do on this one! I got kind of burned out on Downton Abbey when the character relationships started getting tortured, but oh, the dresses and hairstyles! I don't know how you're going to manage to decide what to do!

  4. I love watching the inspiration to ideation to creation of a dress! Thanks for the peek into your process so far. :)

  5. Absolutely love your sketches. I'm sure either which way you'll make something fabulous as usual!!

  6. Haha! YES! I'm glad I'm not the only one who pins a million things on the dress form because she can't draw! Actually you draw a lot better than I do. Looks like this will be another amazing dress!

  7. It's looking very pretty! I think I prefer the overlap simply because you can wear it without anything underneath and still have it be 'decent'.

  8. gorgeous color combinations...i love the both but maybe the first one best. just lovely

  9. I can't wait to see this when it's all done. I agree with everyone. It's really fun to see your sketches.


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