It’s a known issue that I tend not to strictly recreate historical portraits. I also have a tendency to goth-ify my costumes, no matter the historical era or fantasy genre. Sometimes, this leads to greatness, sometimes … well, it’s a challenge. It can look rather weird in progress, & this ‘chemise a la gothique’ is a prime example.
I had the concept of the gown in my head as soon as I bought the fabric two years ago. Even though print chemise gowns are undocumentable for the 18th century, afaik. Sure, there are printed cotton gowns, & there were colored, possibly striped, gowns & black gowns. I even found a lovely white gown edged in black lace & with a big black sash at the waist like I wanted to style this one. But what I wanted to do wasn’t really historical & was really just made up out of my own head.
Still, I thought the construction would be more historical. Yet even there, I took a million weird turns. I’ve tried to blog the gown in-progress for weeks now, I’ve taken pictures & written posts again & again, but honestly, there’s no good way to describe how I made this dress. The less said about it, the better. It’s a franken-process of historical elements, modern over-engineering, a shocking amount of hand-sewing for me, & a lot of mis-estimations of WTF would work & how stuff should go together. It looks OK on the outside & even on the inside, but much like making laws & sausage, the process for getting there wasn’t pretty.
The dress is basically done now, thank goodness. I still need to make a petticoat, preferably out of white taffeta, but I don’t have any in The Stash. I’d like silk, but may settle for poly due to budget. We shall see. I did make a poufy little rump so the back has more oomph. Kendra’s Late 18th Century Skirt Supports article is a great resource — I essentially made the 1785 crescent shape from the caricature of ‘the bum shop.’ Easily done from materials on hand, took about an hour. Plus, I can use it under other gowns.
Won’t get any pix of the dress on me until France!