Ever get a wild hair and decide you need a new outfit in the week before an event? Of course not, because you are sensible costumers, unlike me. With only 5 days to go, I decided make a Lost Hope dress in time for Costume College. I'm a huge fan of the novel Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell (and very pleased with the TV series too), I had the perfect fabric in the stash, and I just couldn't miss the opportunity to make something from one my favorite stories and join in on the group fun.
(Part of our fantastic group of faries.)
I knew I wouldn’t have time to do a proper themed fairy using the wonderfully bizarre descriptions from the novel, so I went for a general stolen by the fairies look. The design and pattern came together beautifully, but then things went a little downhill. I had planned on doing a 1790s Grecian/Merveilleuse inspired dress, but after I cut out the bodice pieces, I realized I didn’t have enough for the skirt. I must have miscalculated when I measured the fabric, so I had to switch to an open front overdress style. Of course I had nothing suitable in the stash for a petticoat and couldn't find anyone who could ship on a Saturday (because I discovered my mistake too late Friday), but Sara saved the day and mailed me some silk from her stash. Good friends encourage you when you stubbornly refuse to give up on a dress.
Originally, I was going to machine sew it and then finish it by hand, but the fabric is just too delicate. It’s a gorgeous silk/cotton voile that runs like crazy when you stitch it on the machine. So I sewed every stitch by hand. Clearly I lost my mind at that point, but it became some sort of personal challenge finish the dress in time!
I used the pattern from my green sarcenet gown as a base, lowering the back neckline and thinning the shoulder straps to try to replicate the almost off the shoulder look you see in so many portraits. Looking at photos, I think I could have gone even thinner, but it’s a start. First I need to cut down my stay straps, though. They kept peeping out all day.
I want to revisit this dress, possibly for Halloween, fixing some of the sloppy construction and details I’m not 100% happy about. The over dress is nicely made (except the sleeves which were quickly basted in), but the underdress is a hot mess of quick machine sewing, and was just pinned to my stays. I also want to play with the accessories, embracing the Fae look a little better. I have a gorgeous tiara, all antique silver, pearls, and flowers, which would be perfect for a ball at Lost Hope, as well as some other fun ideas brewing.
Posted: 8/9/2015 1:11:32 PM
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