As you can see I’m not terribly worried about doing challenges early (although cannot start them before they are announced) or late.  I simply want them all done so as to keep my creative juices flowing and learn some new skills.  I’m also horribly late on blogging about some of them because I have been very busy.

So close to being done.  I eventually spaced out the hearts on the sash more.


This dress was created to be part of the Dickens Fair Alice in Wonderland cast.  As you can see it is a Queen of Hearts dress.  I worked hard to combine a sense of puled from the attic trunks and freshly put together.

The bodice is actually an Elizabethan bodice from a costume I bought from friend. The ruffle and the sleeves are from the skirt fabric of the same dress.  The black cotton velvet skirt and oversleeves are part fabric purchased from a friends de-stash.  The gold fringe was originally left over from the bustle dress (Oh good lord, I haven’t shown you all photos of THAT either…) but I was lucky to be able to source more since I would be needing it.

Long story shortened:

Lots of pins were used…

I started by dying 1/2 inch twill tape black and cutting out and hemming the knife pleated ruffle for the hem of the skirt.  I originally calculated that I would use 3 panels of the black velvet and ended up having to add another panel.  This meant that the red ruffle was 522 inches long and I made it 8 inches deep.  I feretted the hem 18th Century style so the black twill would peak out at the bottom.  Then I pleated the ruffle onto one inch twill tape so it would be removable if necessary.

I used the same treatment for the Black velvet skirt, except that I used white one inch twill to ferret the hem there it was supposed to give a nice pop at the transition – but it wasn’t as dramatic as I had hoped. The skirt is cartridged pleated into a grosgrain waistband (which I may replace).

I added a peplum to the bodice to make it more Victorian looking and add two sets of sleeves and poof! The sash was a trial because I wanted to match/compliment the fringe that I had already added to the dress so I ended up using a brushed twill and the wrong side of gold lamé to make the sash.  I added more fringe to the ends of the sash and stiched it together in such a way that I have one wee little pocket to hold my gate pass and a couple of bills since I don’t carry a bag (what queen does?) and voilà! A fancy Fancy Dress Queen of Hearts!


The Challenge: Literature & Masquerade

Fabric: cotton Velvet (black and red), red silk taffeta, and white silk, brushed twill and some lamé
Pattern: none… o.O, I drafted everything free hand or used a toile I had on hand…
Year: 1850-1860 Fancy Dress
Notions: LOTS of thread, hooks & eyes, twill tape, dye,grosgrain ribbon, three tone Italian tassel fringe… and a lot of patience
How historically accurate is it? I think its pretty good.  The fabrics are correct (except maybe the lamé – which could probably substitute for cloth of gold – but since I’m using the wrong side it makes no never-mind except that it wiggles when you sew… :()
Hours to complete:I don’t think I want to add it up.  I’ve been working at it since early October (evenings and weekends and put the finishing touches on by the second weekend of Fair.   I’d say a good starting estimate is 2-3 40 hour weeks (lots and lots of hand sewing). I’ve a couple of things left to tweak, but it is wearable and beautiful.
First worn: Dickens Fair November 2013
Total cost: somewhere between $400 and $500 for materials, labor?  80 to 120 hours – so a final cost is $1,200 to $2,900 depending on the hourly rate at which I pay myself (mentally that is and NOT including accessories)…. o.O


*** I PROMISE to add photos of me IN the dress and a post about the Bustle Gown is forthcoming… Just look for me on Facebook if you don’t want to be patient.

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