Friday, August 23, 2013

18th Century Court Ensembles

Because I am a lemming that can't resist a challenge...

Kendra of Démodé has issued the challenge to create an 18th century court outfit (male/female, any country, from any point in the 18th century) between now and Costume College of next year. Seeing as how I'd placed something fitting those requirements onto the "someday I wanna do that" list, I figured, what the hell.

See this beauty:

Something about the dichotomy of this image - the court size of the gown and yet it's only minimally decorated, the dressing table in the background set with, not powders and perfumes but a writing set - it's peaked my interest.  Well, that and the frankly ridiculous paniers required to pull this off intrigue me in a mathematically impractical way.  I imagine myself wearing this and just laugh myself silly.

Kendra was nice enough to break down construction of court gowns a bit and it seems, while not simple, at least somewhat more doable than I'd previously thought.  There will be a boned bodice with 3/4 sleeves, a separate skirt over what looks like an ivory petticoat.  The chemise I already have, unless I make one with a lacy neckline to peak out, and the paniers I'll probably just use the Simplicity pattern that I'm using to make my stays:

Although the paniers only come in the one size and I think I'll have to up the proportions a bit to get that frankly ridiculous silhouette.

As for dress fabric, I'm not terribly sure.  Red silk faille seems like the most proper choice, but that's going to run me over $20/yard.  I'm leaning towards buying the silk twill from Dharma Trading Company and dyeing it up in the washer.  I do like the idea of the fabric having some sort of subtle texture to it, since the only other embellishment is the oddly placed fur.  Speaking of fur...

Mom, if you're reading this, let's talk about all that mohair in your stash.  :D

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