The dress is based on a portrait by a French painter Gustave Courtois; in 1880 he painted Anne-Marie Dagnan, his father's cousin and the fiancée of his good friend. I fell in love with her dress and even though I had never dabbled with Victorian fashions before, I wanted to give it a try.
I took the dress pattern from The Fashions of the Gilded Age, Volume I by Frances Grimble. I modified the bodice fronts to match the portrait dress and took inspiration for the front closures from this extant dress. Also, I'm indebted to many of my readers for giving me advice and encouragement during the project; one of my friends even took the trouble to book a study appointment in the costume museum in Bath and photograph a dress from the same era for me! How nice is that?!
Under the dress I'm wearing my late Victorian corset (the pattern of which I took from Norah Waugh's Corsets and Crinolines), chemise and a petticoat. I think I might want to make a corset cover, a balayeuse for the train and possibly some natural form supportive garments for the skirts that were so expertly researched and produced by Festive Attyre.
That's all, really. I'm reasonably pleased with the ensemble, though there are things I'm still going to tweak. Also, there's the evening bodice to make!
Pictures? A word of warning, there are loads. A plethora, if you will. Not for the fainthearted :)
All the photos here by Suvi Saraste.
|Practicing my regal wave. Apparently balconies make me feel very queenly.|
|A gentle breeze caressing my cheeks...|
|Graffitis, very interesting, my dears.|
|On the pier|
|The building with the tall chimneys is the local university, my current place of employment. It used to be a cotton mill from the 1850s to the 1950s.|
|A bit of unladylike galloping|