The next Historical Sew Fortnightly challenge is “Fairytale.” I was originally thinking that I would finish my Edwardian tea gown and do “Sleeping Beauty”, but then I got totally uninspired and realized I made some mistakes in construction when I started it last year. That, and I had about a million pieces of insertion lace to cut the back out of and finish, and I don’t like the fabric.
So my second thought was “The Midas Touch”, and making a gold 1920’s evening dress and cape. But the event I was going to make it for was last night, and we didn’t go, and I obviously didn’t make the dress in time.
So then, I looked on this lovely Indian imported dupatta shawl (bought at Queens Club on Etsy). I had bought it to make a 19-teens evening dress for, but when it arrived I wasn’t enthralled with the poly content and little painted gold dots on it. But the trim on the edges is GORGEOUS, and, the next idea that popped into my head was more costumey, which would allow a little more wiggle room for authenticity than my original plan I had purchased it for, so it was sort of serendipity.
One of my fashion design icons of all time is Paul Poiret, and he had lavish parties themed “One Thousand and Second Night”. PERFECT theme for the HSF challenge!
Denise Poiret, 1911, at one of the “One Thousand and Second Night” parties (found via Pinterest).
Did I mention I love roses, so I bought it for the rose pattern and then realized not only did Poiret LOVE textiles of this sort, but his signature rose was similar in design to the one on my dupatta. Serendipity! Meant to be! And it’s coming together SO quickly. Love when that happens.
Poiret Dress from FIT (found via Pinterest)
One of my main inspirations are the “lampshade” dresses that Paul Poiret was incredibly well known for. This one is a classic. Katherine of The Fashionable Past actually made a great 19-teens evening gown inspired by the existing black and white version of this dress.
I started with an original vintage pattern, circa 1912, but changed it quite a bit in the muslin mock up stage to accommodate a bodice that would cross in front and in back and have a slightly different sleeve than the original, which was tighter fitting and had gussets.
I pinned the bodice and skirt to the dress form to get an idea of the length of the lampshade skirt. I did end up shortening it, and decided I wanted it to have a slightly longer length in back than in front.
The dress it’s over is the dress I made for the Cordelia skirt pattern sample of the evening train. I have never worn it, so chopped off the sleeves, removed the trim, and am making it work as an underdress for this outfit. I also will have to let out some of the seams, since I’m not the same size I was a few years ago. But still, better than starting from scratch!
I have decided to make the underdress and overdress separate, so that I have the option to make harem trousers for this at a later time.
After I cut the right length, I assembled the underarm seams, the back seam, and decided on a center back closure. The original was most likely a front closure, as is normal with period gowns, but I decided the back closure would be easier to construct (though it means I’ll need help getting into it). After a little thinking, and remembering how period dresses are made that I have, I decided on the inner waistband, with the skirt and bodice gathered to it. All seams are now encased between the inner waistband and the rayon seam tape. It will lap over at center back and fasten with hooks and bars and snaps.
And on the form, ready for the next step! I will have a waist sash cover the waist where the tape is visible, and I have to sew the inside casing for the hoop wire next. It’s coming together quite quickly, considering I only started it yesterday afternoon!
I have a board on Pinterest I started as inspiration for this project, with Poiret images, examples from the Ballet Russes, and other period inspirations.
Hope you had a fantastic weekend!