Sunday, December 28, 2014

The Mother/Daughter Dress Project: Success!

Earlier in the month, my mother and I wore our new 1870s dresses to Fezziwig's Ball. We were both fully dressed! Success!

obligatory butt shot!
 I do need to admit that with a crazy work month, I didn't actually manage closures or the ties for the inside of my skirt that will bustle the train and make the underskirt an appropriate length for dancing. It worked out, since I was pretty ill the night of the ball and didn't have much of an inclination to dance, but that definitely needs to be in place for next time. I really cannot stress this enough: please do NOT wear a train to a ball. They aren't meant for dancing, and you will trip someone up! I only danced once (I waltzed with my dad), and I made sure the train stayed up the whole time. I really don't recommend it.

Also, dirt. SO MUCH DIRT. That train needed a major bath.
That said, even ill and not dancing much, this was a really lovely evening full of Christmas cheer. Plus. since I wasn't dancing I was able to take pictures!

My parents in the Grand March--don't they look awesome?
Waltzing with my father

My parents during a galop

Decorating the refreshments room
Although both my mother's and my bodices were both made with the same Truly Victorian pattern, we ended up with very different bodices I think. Mom used the puffed sleeves from the pattern, but I decided to forgo sleeves. I also added a 3 inch band of velvet to the bottom of my bodice, similar to fashion plates like this:

The bodice has a contrasting band of plaid and pleats at the bottom
Of course, the most obvious difference is that Mom's bodice and overskirt were the same blue and gold fabric, while my overskirt and bodice were almost inverse (the bodice is plaid silk with velvet trim, and the overskirt is velvet with plaid trim). Mom also trimmed her bodice with gold lace and antique gold buttons she found (which both looked great!).

My overskirt plans had to be toned down a lot due to fabric constraints: I ended up without velvet I liked at the last possible moment, and my heart was absolutely set on I went shopping at JoAnns. I have to admit, I am really spoiled--they are so much more expensive than my local, independent fabric store! I could only justify splurging on two yards in the end, but managed to end up with three because it was the end of the bolt (hooray, a holiday miracle!). With less material than expected, my side panels are smaller than I think I would originally have wanted. I have some plans to improve the overskirt, though, with a plaid silk bow at the back and turning the leftover velvet into a train. In the meantime, this version worked for the ball!

Like many of my fashion plate inspirations, I trimmed the overskirt panels in plaid cut on the bias, as opposed to the bodice which is cut on the grain. I actually really like the contrast there! Figuring out how to make those work turned into quite a headache (I was tired and not thinking well), but I'm really pleased with the final result.

Fashion plate pose!

I have to say, I think I have the 1870s bug. I felt so elegant in this, and I can't wait to make the day bodice so I can swan around some more. It was also really nice to work on this with my mother, and I look forward to future adventures with her...she's already brainstorming for next year!

Happy Holidays, everyone! No matter what you celebrated (if anything), I hope it was wonderful!

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