Only occasionally do I follow costumer trends. Usually, when everyone else wants to make chemise dresses or venetian gowns, I’m not convinced & wait 5 years until they’re all bored with the idea to create my own weird little take on the concept. Unless someone has a really really good idea. That’s easy. And comfortable. And I have stuff in The Stash that’ll work. So when Loren suggested lazy draped gowns based on the Starz TV series “Spartacus” for the Costume College poolside cabanas & then upped the ante by christening it “Bitchy Roman Loungewear,” well, hells yeah, I was in!
She put together this Pinterest board of images from the show (which I’d never seen, but who cares), & I loved how the women’s gowns are all drapey things made in bright silks with barely a nod towards historical accuracy. Also, note the faaaaabulous hair & bling. My kind of costume. I had some thin pink silk on hand that was nixed from an earlier project, so that became the basis of this project. Looking through the images, I most liked the two-layered copper & cream outfit of Lucretia’s. And then I decided to overcomplicated the project. As I’m wont to do.
I decided on a separate undergown & overgown, both fully sewn — that is, not just pinned or held in place by a belt — so I could wear this again at super-hot SCA events like Purgatorio later in August. I also wanted everything washable for when I sweat like crazy at said events. I began by prewashing the silk, which made it extra-drapey & gave it that ‘sand-washed’ texture. I bought some super-soft & drapey combed cotton lawn from Dharma for the undergown (& note to self, get more of that fabric to make ALL your historical undies from, omg, is that stuff soft against the skin!!!).
Then I used my standard rectangular-construction smock pattern for the undergown, but sleeveless (which I like to do anyway) & used the full width of the fabric for the front & back pieces. Then gathered it across the front & back of the neckline, tacked it down, & bound the neckline & armholes with bias tape. That gave me a nice, full undergown.
That went on my dressform, & I began to drape the pink silk over in, essentially, a big, loose, kimono-sleeve bathrobe shape. I used a full width of fabric for each side, folded over at the shoulder & sewed up the side, leaving a generous armhole opening. Using my fabulous new sewing machine, I made one eyelet on each shoulder, through which I ran a bit of gold cord (scrounged from my holiday wrapping supplies) to tie the excess fabric up on the shoulder in a pleasing fashion. I pleated the waist & sewed the pleats down. Lastly, I sewed the center back seam. It’s mostly done now except for hemming.
I had bought some wide pink/red/gold Indian sari trim that I’ve started making into a belt to go just under the bust. I originally thought I’d sew that along the edge of the pink overgown, but that might weigh it down too much. Could do it at the hem. We’ll see.
At West/An-Tir War, I bought a simple brass circlet to wear w/this outfit, since so many of my accessories are silver. I have a set of gold & garnet Indian bridal jewelry that I might wear with this, & I may try to attach the tikka (I think that’s the name for it), the jeweled dangle that lies on a woman’s hair center part, to the circlet.
The whole thing has a hell of a lot more fabric than that slinky Lucretia gown, but y’know, I probably weigh 100lbs. more than her anyway. This is supposed to be comfortable, & if I look more Gaia than Aphrodite, so be it!