After playing a lower class character at Dickens Fair and lusting after the fancy ball gowns all season, I decided to make my own for the Gaskell Ball. I decided this about two weeks before the ball and, as such, threw all of my free time into making this dress. I finished last Tuesday, put it on, and realized the skirt would look so so nice with proper underpinnings. So I made a hoop skirt too!
Eight hand-sewn buttonholes! They don't all look this even...I photographed the best two.:
I didn't realize how well the fabric would match the bird in my tattoo until I tried on the bodice for the first time:
I also made a braided hair piece, as my short hair isn't exactly period accurate. I braided some fake hair, sewed it to a headband, and made a bun at the back. I don't have any good pictures of the back, but you can see part of the braid here. I decided to make the hair piece hours before the ball, as I couldn't get my hair to look nice... So glad I live a block away from a beauty supply shop!
Details on production:
For the bodice, I drafted a corset pattern with 10 pieces, reduced it to three pieces with darts, and extended the top lines to sleeve holes. The sleeve holes and sleeves I drafted without too much planning and without looking at any other patterns, so I'm quite pleased they worked on the first try. I drafted the collar basically by tracing the neckline onto a piece of paper and making the pattern from there. I wanted the dress to have a sense of being off-shoulder without actually being so, which I feel I accomplished with the shape of the collar.
I used this tutorial http://steamfashion.livejournal.com/791377.html
as inspiration for the skirt, but honestly I have no patience for following a tutorial step-by-step, so I looked at the basic construction and went from there. I ended up making the skirt wider, didn't add the ruffle (I tried, but it looked a bit too flamenco), and did a waistband.
I used this tutorial http://www.deathbychutney.com/hoopskirt.htm
for the hoop skirt and did follow this one to the letter. I made the bottom hoop about 130" circumference (I don't remember exactly, but it started out at 145" and I cut it down a fair amount) and just cut each consecutive one a bit smaller, cutting more as needed after trying it on.
I'd love to answer any questions or read any concrit you might have! Thanks for reading.