I completely revamped my wardrobe this year, and topped it off with a new dress. All pictures are clickable.
To make the period clothes work, you have to have two very important foundation garments. A corset, and a crinoline. The corset was drafted by using instructions at Your Wardrobe Unlock'd
. Made of cotton coutil and steel boning.
The crinoline is what makes the skirts stand out; you simply can't go without a crinoline (a.k.a. hoop skirt). This is a reproduction crinoline, bought as a kit and built by myself. I am not aware of anything closer to crinolines of the day, so naturally I had to have it.
And to keep the skirt from showing the ridges of the steel boning, you need another petticoat to soften the lines. The skirt is attached to the waistband with a method called stroked gathers. The material is gathered with two running threads by hand, and sewn on to the waistband, each little fold at a time. By hand. Twice. Even I think I'm nuts at this point:
And this is the kicker. The dress! There's a story behind it. My friend is getting married this Saturday. The theme is civil war, of course. All reenactors attending have been encouraged to attend costumed. Up until the beginning of the month I did not think I would be able to have a new dress done. The dress I was planning on wearing was stained beyond recognition, and I had thought I would be wearing a dress several years old, and several inches short to boot. Luckily, my manager came to my rescue on June 2nd, and bid me not to come back from lunch. Little did he know that his timing was perfect. I set to work immediately. 9 days later, and this is the result.
Indeed, I am aware that the petticoat shows beneath the back hem of the dress. I need to put an additional tuck in the petticoat, but I had already expected that to happen. The dress, in all respects, however, is done.
There are more things than just the dress though. I have slightly-longer than shoulder length hair, and it's layered as well. Layers + Buns = Rats Nest. But I found a way to style my hair in a mostly period fashion, and it's staying up!
And just one more part you haven't seen. The shoes! If I wanted the best thing to be had in crinolines, I certainly wasn't going to neglect my feet. I got these in the mail yesterday and I've been wearing them all day. From Robert Land Footwear, Ltd.
, I give you the American Walking Shoe. Very nice (with a little 19th century immodesty thrown in for kicks). I might just be crazy, but don't they look shmexy?