Friday, May 1, 2015

The Great Dickens Christmas Faire... In Costume!

So I do love an excuse to dress up... particularly if said dressing up involves a corset and a hoop skirt.  Because of this love, I left the 2013 Great Dickens Christmas Fair bound and determined to attend in 2014, but this time in period costume!

So after recycling some undergarments from past costumes, I sat down to plan out my own Dickensian dress.  I ended up mixing and matching pattern pieces from a few different sources including:  Simplicity 2881 and 3727.  I also referenced patterns of Fashion 2 by Janet Arnold which provides a great sense of the shape and seam placement.  Some day I'd like to try to scale something from that book up to person size but for now it mostly serves as inspiration for my own (franken)patterns.

So without further ado... my great Dickens Christmas dress!

This thing was both fun and a bit of a chore to wear.  The corset was actually pretty comfortable (who needs abs when you have an exoskeleton!) but the hoop was HUGE.  I had to sit in the back of the car by myself.  (I also didn't get the front of the skirt quite full enough for such a large hoop so I wound up with a little bit of pulling across the front.)  It was just so much fabric!  

That said, wearing that much fabric is somewhat freeing... My actual shape was irrelevant when compared to the overall shape of the dress. Thus, a total lack of self-consciousness. (Welł, other than when we were walking to and from our car that we parked on a random side street in Daly City... That bit felt odd.)

My favorite element is the green shoulder... flaps? This detail was borrowed from 2881 but utilized in a slightly different way as I wanted to make a winters day ensamble rather than a light evening gown.  So I borrowed the shape but used them as a decorative rather than construcural element.  However I thing this shape along with the heavy fringe helps create that sloped Victorian shoulder and the placement and sea lines in the back accentuate the waist.

My only real disappointment is that I didn't have time to construct a bonnet...  I guess I'll have to plan ahead for next year!

Enjoying some Great Lakes Christmas Ale after the fair!

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