Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Southern Belle dress diary - part 3

Always start a dress from the bottom up, especially if your dress needs supporting garments.

So from the skin up:
Chemise - Check
Drawers (or for me, petticote and modern underwear) - Check
Corset - Check
It's rather challenging lacing yourself into one of these.
I can get my waist to a smooth 70cm without being too uncomfortable.

Crinoline - errr?

I've been pondering using my gold silk corset as it was custom made to my measurements so I know I'll be able to wear it comfortably for hours. The crinoline is also from my costume collection. It's come in handy over the years but for this costume it's simply the wrong shape - it's more 1880's (see below). If I hoike it up so the bottom hoop is around knee high, I'll get more a 1848 silhouette. I really want the 1860, but I don't think I have enough time, fabric or hoop wire to make it.

Image from The Pragmatic Costumer who's blog has some great American Civil War stuff! 

The solution: reuse the petticote stuff from the Marie Antoinette dress (gold skirt draped to provide clear indication of shape). The petticote consists of a liner and a knee length skirt with gathered tulle, an tulle overskirt and four bunches of extra tulle, two on each hip. As I'm shifting the waist of this dress from the hips to the true waist, I've got alot of room to take this in. To get the above silhouette I gathered it in such a way that the sides overlapped at the back resulting in two of those tulle bunches in the bustle zone. I'm rather happy with the resulting shape. It's not the giant bell seen in many of the southern ball gowns but I'm not exactly attending a ball am I?

For extra puff I can add this wrap skirt which I completely forgot I had. It's black so may have to go under the mess of tulle. I'll make that call later though.

Things to do next:
Hoike hoops & make new waist band
Gather tulle and work out closure system
Determine if black skirt needs to be integrated (can the hoops stand the strain?)

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