My friend Suzanne Iuppa, for whom I made a costume last year, was organizing Chester Writers' contribution to this year's Chester Literature Festival; a series of readings on the theme of 'Gothic'. I ended up reading two excepts from classic novels, and dress of blood-red silk seemed not just suitable for this event, but
|Backstage at 'Gothic'|
As this was the third time I'd made up the bodice, it was as time-consuming as ever, but not difficult. I did make a further small change however; reinforcing the back darts and then snipping them open at the widest point, to make the bodice back lie better.
I hadn't made the skirt for the mock-ups, but it was straightforward. There was of course one change. Whether it's a simple day dress or a fancy frock, I'm on a pocket-adding roll at present. (Although I must admit that the shape of this dress makes the pockets oddly far back, but never mind.) Usually the skirts of Vogue patterns are far too long on me, but this one was just right.
Like my version of Simplicity 1777, the skirts are laid over the bodice and top-stitched, proving that this construction method persisted until at least 1952. I finished the completed waist seams with bias binding, as the fabric frays a lot.
|Interior shot, showing bound seam and clipped darts|
The silk is very heavy and stiff, more so than the quality of the weave would suggest, so I suspect it has been heavily treated to give it more body. This gives the dress quite a sculptural quality; as though there is a separate flared coat over a straight dress.Certainly it didn't need a net petticoat to hold it out.
|The dress on Nancy|
One thing I did discover, as I made my way to the event, is that it's not an ideal dress for someone who walks everywhere. I had to clutch the fronts together, and even then I was grateful for the long slip I'd worn underneath. I think that I need to make this alteration before I wear it again.
Whenever that may be, at least I've had a reason to make the dress and wear it once. I love it, and it was perfect for the Gothic look which Suzanne wanted. Hopefully I'll have some more photographs to post soon.
23/10/16 - As the images from the event don't really show the dress, here's a standard back-yard shot instead. It's also a better representation of the colour.