One of the very first forays into non-Renaissance faire costuming I made was my Stanzie gown. For our first Famous Dead Person’s Ball in 1992, my then-boyfriend Thomas wanted to be Mozart, specifically as in the movie Amadeus. He had Tom Hulce’s laugh down pat, and of course, being a musician and composer, Mozart was always one of his idols. His stepmom graciously offered to make his costume, so I decided to try and make myself an 18th-century gown.
My first try was a disaster. Wearable, but really screwed up. I refused to take any pictures of it, although I did wear it at the Halloween party.
The next summer in 1993, the GBACG decided to hold a Bastille Day Fete. I was on the Board of Directors by this time, and I was determined to attend more events, even if that meant sewing more and more different costumes. I set out to create a proper Constanze gown, recreating what she wears in her very first scene of the movie.
This was long before the Internet had movie stills everywhere, heck, it was before DVDs, so I had to watch my VHS copy of the film over and over again until I practically wore it out! Today, a mere image search turns up the same pix in a flash (which is what I did for the movie images on this page).
I lucked out by finding a blue and white floral drapery brocade on the sale table at the fabric store. I hacked away again at the Pegee of Williamsburg Colonial dress pattern again, this time changing the front side opening to the center back for a smoother line in the front. I got my mom’s help for the very tricky hemming of a skirt over pocket hoops. Then I trimmed the thing like there was no tomorrow with lace, ribbon roses, and bows. My work didn’t go in vain either. At the fete, I received a little award for Best Recreation Costume!
The following year, the Guild had another Bastille Day event, this time a dinner in San Francisco. By then, I’d added a white wig to the outfit, which definitely looked more the part. I’d bought the wig on Halloween day at a drugstore for a couple bucks to wear with the gown to a nightclub. The wig was totally plastic, but it looked decent enough, IMO. We went to the banquet and had a lovely time. We even read some of Wolfie and Stanzie’s love letters aloud. I’m sure I wore the outfit a few more times before retiring it and finally selling the pair of outfits at a Costumer’s Guild flea market. They served us well.