Monday, September 28, 2015

Swirling Thoughts

As you probably know by now, I get really excited about new projects. Right now, I am just bursting with excitement, and also a little anxiety. Anxiety, because I haven't figured out what to do next. The possibilities are just so overwhelming I don't know what to do.

My next personal goal with this new dress is that I want to reproduce something. Be it fashion plate, original, or CDV.

Here is what I have to work with:

Isn't it great? It's a very large scale green and cream silk plaid. Actually, it's more of a very large gingham, but I never think of gingham as anything other than tiny checks. At first I thought it might be a good opportunity to try a different era, but then I decided that the plaid was way too huge to work well with anything other than a hoop skirt. In terms of what to reproduce, well....I have a couple ideas. At the very least, the skirt will be worn with a fitted blouse, but I have enough to also make an actual dress. So....what kind of bodice?


 Even the colors and scale are pretty close! Well, not exactly; the original has a very small pink stripe worked in, but at a distance it's similar. This ball gown is in the MFA in Boston.

Now I'm stuck; we attend a Civil War ball once a year, and I already have a ball dress, so my first thought was that a ball dress was out of the question.  Except, it's made out of dark red polyester with a double skirt. The skirt is about the heaviest thing you've ever felt, and it was not made to go over a corset. I probably could modify it, but the thought of dealing with my early sloppiness makes me shudder. Also, my face gets pink when I dance a lot, especially in a heavy man-made textile dress that is dark red! So probably also not the best color choice.

After experimenting with dancing in my corset, it wasn't terrible; I was worried that during a ball, I would not handle dancing well. But it wasn't too bad; I couldn't be as crazy as I usually am, but that isn't exactly a bad thing. So a ball dress fitted over my corset is not out of the question.

Pinterest has proved to be excellent; so many dresses in almost the EXACT SAME COLOR. Not many have the same huge scale, but enough to give me some ideas. As a rule of thumb in my personal replicating goal, I'm not going to worry about the color being the same, but the plaid scale of the original should be at least a little similar; I've found that a lot of trim just doesn't work with large scale. It's almost too large to incorporate any bias-cut trim, although based on a lot of pictures I really like black contrast.

And then I had a thought: exactly how many day outfits do I need? I only attend between 3-4 events per year, and half of that has to be spent in a wash dress as a laundress.

So now I'm left with two options: MFA replicate, or a day bodice. I'm having a hard time finding a specific picture or original that I love for a day bodice, although I'm guessing that it'll probably be a picture because I've spent much time looking at other original plaid day dresses and none are popping out at me.

Which would you vote: ball gown, or day dress?


  1. I think your fabric would make a fabulous day dress!

  2. Thanks for the feedback; I think I've decided on the day dress. At first I was in raptures about the ball gown, but then I realized that the original really took advantage of the small stripe in the plaid for the bodice to break up the blocks, and I don't have any small stripes in my fabric.