I briefly set aside the Romantic stays & gown project to throw together a quickie outfit for another event. PEERs hosted a Downton Abbey ball recently, so of course I needed something to wear!
|Not my usual ball attire.|
Since Curtis and I just happen to live in what may have been the servants quarters of a 1913 house, and our friends and neighbors live a floor above us in the fancy parlor of said house, we decided to combine forces and floors to throw a pre-ball Upstairs/Downstairs Downton shindig. We left the elegant clothes and manners to them, and prepared to attend an event dressed down for once. There was just one issue- I only have fancy dresses!
Rummaging around online, I came across the Ladies Treasury of free patterns; specifically their 1912-1914 Ladies Custom-Drafted Skirt in 3, 5 & 7 Gores. Following their instructions, I was able to quickly and easily draft up the 5 gore version to my measurements. Since I found a pretty stripped cotton fabric I wanted to use, I did change the suggested grainline to run down the center of each piece so I would be able to pattern match the stripes in a more pleasing manner along the seams.
I wasn't able to start the skirt until about 10pm of the evening before the party, but I did manage to knock it all out in that one late night session. It might have gone quicker had I not had to stare at my pattern layout for a good forty minutes trying to recall how to properly lay the pieces to ensure the stripes matched.
I wanted the bottom edge of the skirt to stand away from my feet a bit, so I added some stiff crinoline fabric behind the wide facing I used to finish the hem. It's actually a bit too stiff, and makes the skirt have more of an earlier line, but I still like it. I figure this skirt could end up working as a casual skirt spanning the 1890s through the early teens, especially if I'm pretending to be behind in fashion a bit.
|A 4" band of crinoline tucked 'tween the skirt edge and its facing lends support.|
The back of the skirt swoops out just a bit, which I love. Cat alert on the left!
In the rush to get it done, I didn't have time to add hooks and eyes, so the skirt back was pinned closed for the party and ball. Once I get around to sewing them on, the closure should be nearly invisible.
I couldn't find my pin-tucked shirtwaist the day of, so I wore a striped shirt meant for a man. With an apron over it and the sleeves rolled up, only the collar gives it away, and I don't care for this event. With a scarf to cover my hair, I think I made quite a lovely kitchen maid!
It was pretty awesome wearing this and not having to worry about getting my nice clothes dirty. I felt perfectly comfy bustling about the kitchen baking bread and prepping food in costume. If I got some flour or whatever on me, no worries, it just adds to the character!
Never fear, this quickie outfit didn't derail me from my Romantic gown project. I won't likely have the stays finished in time (let's face it, as complex as they are, I was never going to get the stays done on time). However, I will have a ridiculously over the top 1830s gown done in time for the Gaskell ball. Here's a few sneak peek photos to tide you over!
|Corded side panel of the stays.|