Sunday, 3 March 2013

Plan B (part 2)

When it came to adding the streamers and sash to the dress, I worked from the pictures in the Victoria and Albert Museum's online catalogue. Judging from the photograph of the dress on a stand, unless the streamers reached almost to the floor, the main part of the dress must have been scandalously short for the time. There again, the dress's original owner doesn't seem to have been a stranger to scandal.

© Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Although the catalogue only mentions two rows of streamers; the top row being orange velvet and the bottom row peach velvet, the close-up photograph shows a third row, attached to the hem of the main dress.

© Victoria and Albert Museum, London

For my dress I only made two rows; one in a shiny, slightly crinkly orange fabric, and the other in a darker, almost tomato-coloured silky satin. I didn't hem the streamers, but painted the raw edges with gold fabric paint, which limited the amount they frayed, and imitated the beaded fringing of the original.

The sash was made from a heavy orange georgette from my stash. It consists of a band of fabric sewn round the dress, with short and long tapered lengths hanging at the side to imitate a tied belt. One thing which I'm not happy with is the position of the 'knot' of the belt; it is too far to the side, and doesn't really show when the dress is worn.

The dress, with invisible sash tie on the right

When I tried dancing in the dress I discovered that the streamers were too light, and tended to get caught on the sash and on one another when they moved. I fixed this by adding a small gold bead 'tassel' at the end of each streamer.

The streamers weighted with beads

I wanted something slightly different for the ends of the sash, and found some orange glass beads in Minerva Beads in Glastonbury, which were perfect.

This may seem a long way to go for some beads, but I'm currently in Glastonbury for the Majma dance festival, and the dress was worn this afternoon to dance to Jelly Roll Morton's "Grandpa's Spells" at the student show which ends the festival.

The completed dress, with 1920s-style shoes and hair

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