Thursday, May 19, 2011

1820s Dress

So I think I may have mentioned a while back that I was making a dress for a project. We went on a weekend trip to Charleville Castle (supposedly haunted) and were to get essentially free run of the castle. Only thing was, we had to have a project that we were working on while there, instead of just running around looking for ghosts!

I decided, as soon as I heard about the castle, that I needed to wear a dress while there. I mean, what's the point of being in a castle if you can't pretend to be a princess?? So I did some research about the castle, and decided the appropriate time period would be the 1820s. I then did a whole lot more research, about patterns, and modern versions of period dresses, and what was wrong, what was authentic, etc etc.

Let's just say that I can now pretty much tell you the fashion of any given year from 1800 to 1825 or so.

Through all this research, I decided to not use a pattern, because there weren't any in existance that I liked, or that were properly period. I figured the dress was easy enough to figure out, since there shouldn't be a lot of panelling anyway. It's not like Victorian dresses, with the super fitted bodices.

I found some awesome fabric when we were in Berlin, for really cheap, and then proceeded to spend approximately four hours a night for about three weeks cutting out pieces, basting them together, figuring things out, and then sewing it all by had. All while watching whatever strange shows came on Irish television at night!

I also had to make a corset, in order to have the proper shape under the dress. Which was actually easier than it sounds, because corsets at that time didn't pull in the waist much, they essentially acted more like a modern bra, just with a different profile.

Anyway, now that I've bored you with the technical stuff (which I find extremely interesting, so if you want to know more, let me know!), I'll get to some photos of me at the castle. All of these are taken by other people, since my photos were with pinhole cameras, and so it's harder to see the details of the dress.

Here you can see the back, and the lacing (no zippers back then!). Also, it's meant to be a ball gown, thus the shorter length for dancing in. Day gowns would have been a little longer, and evening gowns not meant for dancing would have brushed the floor, and might have had a bit of a train.

1 comment:

  1. oh my gosh that is GORGEOUS. Caitylin, you are so stinkin talented. I'm in love with it. I want one just like it. Also kudos to the photographers; the picture of you on the couch is just haunting. I miss you so much!