Sunday, February 5, 2023

A Black and Red Print Dress for the Huntingtion


Finally, another event! My last (though you couldn't necessarily tell from my blog...) was the 2020 Jane Austen Evening in Pasadena, with our traditional trip to the Huntington Gardens and Library before the dance. Clearly, I needed a new dress! I had started embroidering a dress in 2021, but it's been set aside since 2021. Even though my favorite part of costuming has always been making costumes, I'm also the type of person who needs a reason to make a dress. Taking pictures isn't enough. I've knit (mostly c 1920s sweaters), restarted knitting projects, had many false starts, two dresses for Halloween (one for work, and the other (unusually) just for pictures), and made a few small things (everything but the skirt to go with my 1919 sweater), but haven't had a true deadline since 2020. I wanted to make two dresses for the Jane Austen Evening, but had procrastinated on the 1922 sweater that I was working on and wanted to finish in 2022. I finished that minutes before midnight on New Year's Eve, but it did delay the start of this dress! I still would have had time for two, but wanted to enjoy making it. I decided that I'd rather have a new dress for the Huntington than the dance, so wore my black embroidered dress from 2018 in the evening. I'm very happy I wore an old dress since I just watched the ball instead of danced. I usually try to dance all the easy dances, but this year was different.

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Onto the dress! It's made of block print cotton from The Block Prints on Etsy. My chemissette is ramie voile from Burnley and Trowbridge. It's lined in linen and sewn by hand. This may be the first dress I've made that I didn't take pictures of while I made it, but the costruction is similar to my Regency Leia dress. Since this dress has a curved neckline and that dress has a square neckline, I sewed the shoulder strap on after the front piece. The linen flaps pin in front and the dress closes with drawstrings.

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The Huntington is beautiful, and I'm so happy we had more time to explore than usual. The bridge in the Japanese gardens was a lovely backdrop! My shawl is silk gauze edged with rayon ribbon that I dyed--both from Dharma Trading.

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Another bridge--in the Chinese gardens--made another lovely backdrop. Not everything was blooming in January, but some of the trees had the prettiest pink flowers. My skirt has no shaping--it's just straight panels. I usually make gored skirts for this style, but lost track of time. Suddenly, the event was in a few days. I really do like the shape of it though, and think it worked well with the slightly fussy bodice!

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The sleeeves on the dress are inspired by my fashion plate, which has a petal sleeve over a white puffed sleeve. After working on the sleeve for three days, I switched and made straight sleeves inspired by the puffed sleeves. They looked right, but I don't like puffed sleeves very much. The sleeve is two layers. The cotton voile has a layer of pleating applied under the slit. The black fabric was cut with a scallop and then I cut it from the scallop to the top of the sleeve and hemmed it with a narrow hem. The penguin is Arthur. His Instagram is @penguins_wear_clothes and this was his first vacation.


The fashion plate I used as inspiration. Despite not liking puffed sleeves, they (and the ruffle) drew me to the dress. When I switched to straight sleeves, I was tried to make it so it was still obvious that it was inspired by this sleeve.

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My dress for the ball--including one taken by my friend @journeyofaphotog in better light in 2018! This dress is pleated over a linen base and is basically made the same way as my diamond back 1790s dress.