Wednesday, January 25, 2017

HSF '13 #18: Re-make, Re-Use, & Re-fashion: The Inspiration

Part of my 2017 goals that I didn't mention was that I want to clear out my backlog of posts! There aren't a great many, but my draft folder is taunting me. Here is the first.

Summer, 2013

The Historical Fortnightly's 18th challenge is due on September 9. This one of the only challenges I knew exactly what I wanted to do, and possibly the first one that might be done on time. (hahaha that didn't happen!)


Some 8 12 years ago, when I began to express interest in making and wearing Victorian clothing, my mom gave me this gown. She'd made it in the late 80's or very very early 90s (certainly prior to 1991) and had never worn it herself, or only worn it a couple of times. She commented that she'd made a bustle pad to wear with it; I remember the pad very well, as it made an excellent pillow that my siblings and I all fought over the chance to nap on it. She gave it to me with the hope that it would fit me, or if not, that I could remake it so that it would.

It didn't fit me. I've gained weight since then, and it still doesn't fit me. I had only been seriously sewing for a couple of years at that point, and I had no faith at all in my ability to alter it so it would fit me. Now, nearly 14 years and several outfits later, I think I can do it.


I'm not really sure what to do with it, though. There's something about it that's so quintessentially '80s. The jacket is made from a thin poly lining, and what I'm pretty sure is poly "silk". The skirt is the same poly "silk". The skirt's overlayers and the jacket's "blouse" are embroidered net over lining. It was hard to photograph, but the back part of the skirt's overlayers had two layers of net/lining. I don't know what pattern was used, if any. My mom is a much better patternist than I. The shoulder seams are placed squarely on top of the shoulder, and not behind as was period.


After I ripped it apart, the skirt was made from a continuous loop of fabric, gathered along one selvedge, giving me a large 4 yard piece. When I thought about it a little more, I remembered some dresses from The Voice of Fashion and Edwardian Modiste that have lace or net overlays on bodices. If I use the lining material as the basis for the dress, the "silk" for the outer dress, and some of the net as an overlay, I could probably get a lovely gown out of it :)

2017 Update: I'm not sure where the fabrics from this dress ended up when I moved in November 2013, and I still don't have a solid plan. I'm pretty sure I didn't keep the bodice as trying to recut it and account for the shoulder seams was too much work, though a part of me regrets that decision. I could have used the smaller pieces for something, surely! The other part of me is yelling to declutter and good riddance! It's a struggle sometimes...

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