I made a thing. It’s fabulously seasonal, wasn’t at all on my to-do list, and I’m really happy I made it.
The thing is that I have a ton of projects on my to-do list, both smaller things to finish and bigger ones I’ve already got the fabric for. There are enough plans on there to last me a couple of years I suspect.
But after finishing my green 1830’s dress, I mainly wanted an ‘easy’ project, something that wouldn’t require too much thinking, and which would be fun. And finishing old projects is just never as exciting as starting new ones, and the new projects on my to-do list all required more thinking than I wanted.
So instead, I turned to my pattern stash and pinterest. I’ve had this Truly Victorian pattern for a number of years, but I didn’t have plans in which it would fit yet. It was perfect for what I was looking for though, exciting, yet simple enough because I could just follow the pattern directly.
The other thing I’d been thinking about for a couple of years was a black and white striped dress. There’s just something about this type of fabric that the goth in me still really appreciates. I especially love the ones which combine the stripes with solid black, like this one:
So I ordered a pattern for a bodice, which was a little more interesting than the base pattern I already owned. Again: for the purpose of not having to change much, and just being able to make it up as it was intended. I settled on the Truly Victorian Senora bodice:
And I ordered some fabric swatches. I found black/white striped cotton. I wanted to pair it with solid black, to break it up a bit, but the solid black cotton didn’t quite give me the right feeling. While the striped cotton is printed, the black is probably dyed and it makes the color a bit less intense. It also was more loosely woven than I’d hoped. So instead, I went with a black poly taffeta from the same shop. I wasn’t quite ready to use my (much more expensive) black silk taffeta on this, and the poly stuff looks enough like the real deal from a distance. I also wouldn’t be using it for all of the bodice, which means that hopefully it will still be breathable enough.
And then I started to doodle around in photoshop! I wanted to try out which bits to make of which fabric, how to combine the stripes and the black. In the end, I settled on this design:
I cut the pattern and made a mock-up in the first weeks of October, after finishing the 1830’s dress. My fabric arrived half way through the month, after which I immediately started sewing.
I was aiming for about a month to make this, but it went so fast! Starting right after a holiday meant I had quite a bit of sewing energy, and having planned everything beforehand + working from patterns meant I could go full steam ahead, so that I was actually finished with the skirt within a week, and had the bodice ready in another. For me, this really is super fast. It did also really help that I went the ‘quick’ way on almost everything. Not bothering about too much stripe matching, hemming by machine, etc. Spending time on those things definitely give a costume an extra touch, but for this one, the goal was to make something fun, rather than something perfect.
As a final touch, I decided to get some bright orange ribbon and give the dress a seasonal vibe. I made a ton of bows, and pinned them all on the dress. They are all removable, which means I can still wear the dress out in a slightly more subtle version as well. They are quite fun though! For the pictures, I re-styled my 1870’s hat with some other trim (I saved the old one)
I think that after this, I’m ready to tackle some of my unfinished projects. This dress was really about instant gratification, and it did it’s job perfectly.