Even though sewing errors doomed my attempt to finish the 1890s dress in time for last weekend's ball, I still wanted to go. Trouble is, I didn't have anything from the later end of the Victorian spectrum, so I decided to dig out something from the closet that was similar to what I'd been working on (sari fabric! giant sleeves!) only from the opposite end of the Victorian era. It's a good thing PEERS isn't overly picky about sticking to the costuming theme!
Remember this old pink romantic thing from two years ago? Turns out that it was such a rush job, I never showed you what it looked like after I finished it! I originally threw it together in a week, and it shows. While it will never be anywhere near decent quality, I was able to patch it back together enough for another outing.
|They look great before you try to move in them...|
The fancy pleated sleeves were one of my early (failed) experiments to recreate those glorious origami confections from that pink romantic era LACMA dress we know and love. These days (and many, many iterations later) I'm much closer to a viable repro sleeve, but at the time this was as close as I could get. They're not full enough, they collapse and pull weirdly, and there's some funkiness with the shape of the underarm portion, but unless you've got your nose in my armpit they look decent for a first wearable try.
Of course, the damn things ripped right out at the underarm during the original wearing, so I sewed in some hasty gussets to give me a little more range of motion. I also mended some other tears, tacked down some bits that never got properly sewed in the first place, and patched the areas where the fabric had frayed so much it had disintegrated.
|By range of motion, I mean my right arm can|
go about two inches higher that this, tops.
I added a silver silk taffeta sash and bow- something that the original outfit sorely lacked. For whatever reason, the sash takes it from eh-just-some-random-nonspecific-fancy-dress to 1830's hell YEAH.
While the pink dress is fun to wear but is still a bit of a hot mess even with repairs, my hair game for the ball was SPOT ON.
|This is the end of night somewhat squashed|
version, and it is still EPIC.
Mind you, just before I started my hair, a big storm blew out our power. This was all done by the light of a camp lantern!
To make it even more challenging, I had to find a way to take this towering monstrosity through ferocious rain and wind to get from the house to the car, and car to the venue. The paper bag I used as a shield wasn't quite up to the task, but my hair made it mostly safe and sound. Shoes, not so much...
My front curly sections were quite high and bouncy to start, but after wind, rain, and hours of dancing and sweating, they lost their buoyancy. After the ball I experimented and discovered that I could pin up the bottom-most tails to revive the original look, so that's something I'll keep in mind for next time.
|Sad, floof-less curls by the end of the evening.|
All in all, the dress was a sparkly, fun bit of nonsense to wear again, the hair was a great conversation piece, and the night was a success. I love the ridiculous 1830's, so you'll be sure to see more floofy sleeves here in the future!
One last thing before I bail- I've got another bustle article up at Your Wardrobe Unlocked, and this one comes with a free pattern! It's a complete how-to on making a lobster tail bustle with removable bones. Even better, the pattern is not just multi-sized, it's also designed to let you swap out the bustle pattern piece so that you can go bigger or smaller as needed. Go have a look!