|Photo: Virginia Urbach.|
Anyway, this costume was began a few years back with research, continued with the purchase of the fabric and patterns (I combined a few patterns for the bodice), but stayed in hypothetical form until last fall. I cut it out, intending to wear it to the Dickens Fair in San Francisco, but that didn't happen. I started hand-sewing it together earlier this year, while backstage at the Montgomery Theatre, as costume crew for Lyric Theatre's Carousel. Then I put it away until earlier this month, where I mostly finished it, intending to wear it in a school presentation (I wore something else). THEN, I was cast in a historic fashion show and put in a Gold Rush-era skit. I stayed up late and worked on it all weekend, fixing the major fitting issues that cropped up, and got it to a wearable state in time for the show! It still has some fitting issues, and I still have to put the trimmings on, but it's wearable, so it's basically done!
Fabric: tropical wool in a woven plaid pattern. Bodice lined in 100% cotton; skirt and sleeves unlined. Self-piping on bodice filled with 100% cotton kitchen twine.
Pattern: bodice based on Past Patterns Darted Bodice and Laughing Moon #114 Ladies' Round Dresses. Sleeves from the Laughing Moon Round Dress pattern. Skirt just a few widths of the fabric, hemmed and cartridge-pleated (by hand! argh!) to the bottom of the bodice, just behind the piping at the bodice waist edge.
It's worn over my chemise, old 1860s-style corset (made for me over 10 years ago! I need a new one!), a soft bustle pad, and one huge flounced and heavily gathered petticoat. The petticoat is pretty full, so it adds almost as much width as you can see in original photos from the 1840s, so I've held off on making more petticoats for several years, but I think I need a few more.
The bonnet is a felt bonnet blank purchased from Amazon Drygoods several years ago. It's trimmed inside the brim with pleated white tulle, gathered ivory china silk (was in a ribbon embroidery kit from Michael's a few years ago) pinked at the edge, and burgundy and ivory paper/fabric roses. Outside trim (which you can't see in the photo) is vintage ivory crocheted lace around the edge of the brim, a diagonal line of pleated olive green velvet ribbon from the top of the crown to the edge of the brim at the sides, and plaid ribbon ties.