Waisted Efforts

My Victorian Wedding 12.3.2010

My Attendants(and sisters) :-)

In case you are not an expert in Victorian costuming, I am setting the date for our dresses for 1877, early Naturalform.  There is still some bustle, but the skirts are getting close in front, much less hoop like, and the bodices are elongating and very fitted.

  I will try to document this more fully than my usual projects(-sigh- I tried but...).  One, because I will only get married once, : )  and two, I am thinking about submitting the dresses for the Double Pattern Project on Your Wardrobe Unlock’d.  It will be a fun adventure either way!

My favorite colors are gray, green, and blue.  I have liked these since I was a kid, and I really wanted them in the wedding, but I did not want to make these girls dresses, that they would hate or just not really be interested in wearing.  So keeping with a traditional Victorian theme, each girl's dress has some similar elements, but is generally different and one of my colors.  MaritaBeth (Matron of Honor) is gray, Ginger is blue, and Delaenya green.  The similarities:  All the dress are designed for evening or dinner, with open necklines and shorter sleeves.  All have a "vested" front.  All of them have the same underskirt with trains and balayeuse.  The veils for bridesmaids were also a tradition in Victorian weddings, and I had little orange blossom pieces made for them as well.

They are also three different visual textures, matte, patterned, and shiny.  MB's dress is mostly velvet mixed with moiré and taffeta, Ginger's is a patterned silk, with velvet and taffeta, and Delaenya is solid faille, with velvet and taffeta.  It will all make more sense soon.

Finally finished the journal for my dress, and it is here.  I am going to keep this one all about the girls!

Matron of Honor: MaritaBeth Caruthers

I know I mention MB all the time.  She and I do so much together, even when we aren't together. :-)  She is also a costumer, and does really lovely things for Scarborough Fair and elsewhere from her business A Wardrobe in Time.

This is my sketch and the inspiration fashion plate that led to her dress. Her dress is entirely gray.  This took some convincing, but I knew it would look terrific!  The bodice of her dress is velvet with a "vest" of bias moiré, buttoned with mother-of-pearl buttons.  The real unique design part are the tabs at the side with all their matching MOP buttons.  I will tell you that MaritaBeth put on all those buttons!  :-)  Her overskirt is moiré trimmed in embroidered satin ribbon and beaded fringe. The underskirt a two-tone taffeta with a pleated frill and more beaded fringe.

I was actually really worried about MaritaBeth's dress, because of the tabs.  I wasn't exactly sure how I was going to pattern them, and sewing for another costumer is always a little more pressure.  The patterns that I chose to combine went together well, and I was completely amazed it worked on the first try. 

This was also her first chance to play with the balayeuse, and she pranced all over, it was very amusing.  We also had the first inkling of, "What do we do with these things while dancing?" So we practiced that, too.  I also surprised her this weekend with her overskirt.  All that beaded fringe makes a great sound when moved.

The next week I had her bodice done, and she was thrilled.  I knew she was going to need time to get all her buttons, so that is why I had her stuff done first.  Of course, she is a costumer, and got the buttons on the day before the wedding.  -grin-

There are also more pictures of MB and the dress process here on Flickr.

I would also like to say here, that the entire wedding was her doing.  She found the venue and made that happen, she orchestrated everything...and I MEAN EVERYTHING!  It would never have been as beautiful without all her hard work.  Thank you MaritaBeth! :-)

Bridesmaid: Ginger Burkholder

Here are the inspiration fashion plate and my sketch for my dear friend Ginger.  Ginger is a new convert to the wide world of blue, and I really wanted to put her in it.  She has this pile of luscious blonde hair and light eyes, that I just knew would be ravishing.  Her silhouette is fairly simple, so I wanted hers to be the pattern, and I went looking for a silk brocade.  Blue is just NOT a color people are decorating with or using much right now.  It was really hard to find trim or anything else in the right shade of blue, so we ended up adding some navy in there, just so we could find trim. I finally found a patterned silk, and they called it a brocade(riiight!).  It ended up being unbelievably gorgeous and very charmeuse-like.  Ugh.  I flat lined it in cotton, and just went with it.  It fought me every step of the way, too.  Her fella wants a matching vest, I might need more scotch. Let me tell you though, she glowed!  The color is incredible.  Every time I heard a, "My god, that blue!"  I knew I had found the right fabric. -smug-

The underskirt is two-tone blue taffeta with an added tail, to match the fashion plate, trimmed with beaded fringe, and chenille braid, and a small ruffle across the front.  The overskirt is TV's Square Overskirt in silk with velvet tabs.  All of this is trimmed in the beaded fringe, bullion and the chenille braid.  The bodice is the silk with a double-breasted "vest" in velvet buttoned with glass buttons.

Ginger is also a costumer of a completely different variety.  She wrangles stretch fabrics. Eeek!  Her business which makes fabulous tights and dresses is Faire Pair Tights and Such.  Luckily we both like each other's wares. -grin- I LOVE my velvet dresses.

I felt pretty confident about Ginger's dress, that is until the fabric came.  It completely freaked me out!  Unusually for me, I actually took my time flat lining it and except for having to piece it to fit my pattern, it worked well.  On the bodice pieces I had to hand baste to flat line.  The curves were just too extreme and the silk to slithery.  Beyond the super cool silk, the other detail part of Ginger's dress was the double-breasted front "vest".  I actually faked this by making it seperate and then attaching it with the buttons on one side and working buttonholes and buttons on the other side, but the bodice itself buttons up the front under this vest.

If you are curious about other pictures of Ginger's dress you can find them here at Flickr.

This is Ginger and her fella Scott.  I need to thank Ginger too for providing all the flowers for the wedding as her present.  There were hydrangeas, gardenias, holly, roses, and all kinds of greenery, plus our bouquets, that Ginger made happen.  Can't have a wedding without the flowers! Thanks Ginger!

Bridesmaid: Delaenya Stapleton

 Here is the sketch and fashion plate that inspired Delaenya's dress.  The fashion plate is later Naturalform, so I adjusted it to be more inline with the silhouettes of the other girls.  My goal for Delaenya's dress was to finally make her one that would be light-weight and comfortable.  It was a good goal.

My design for her dress was to be plainer, and all the interest was in the different greens and trim.  Unfortunately I chose a lovely green faille.  Faille is heavy.  Oh well, but it sure is beautiful.

Her bodice is faille with a "vest" of green taffeta.  I used two different glass buttons to hightlight the transition between portions of the bodice.  The back of her bodice has a fun detail with pleated decorations and more buttons.  I used the same pleated motif on the sleeve.  The overskirt is faille and velvet with two paniers in the faille.  The paniers, took a few hours of creative draping.  I finally got them to work, but with two layers they really add weight to the skirt. The velvet is a faked piece in front that is van-dyked, and the entire thing is trimmed with some really lovely beaded fringe that I found, and some green gimp that MB gave up to the cause.  The underskirt is two-tone green taffeta trimmed in a deep pleated frill with just a touch of gimp to hide the stitch line.

Deleanya's dress gave me some interesting issues to overcome.  I have never had a class in draping, so figuring out how to drape the paniers was a process.  I worked through several pattern ideas, a whole lot of advice, and plenty of trial and error, but I finally got them to work.  Then there was so much fabric, with the velvet and faille together, that sewing it was really fun. 

Her bodice was a joy as well.  I have never quite figured out diagonals coming together at the front of a buttoned bodice, either.  Luckily I put this together as faked layers on my flat lining, so when it didn't work the first time, I pulled my hand stitches moved the one side over and tacked it back down. Fiddly, but doable.  The back was a lot of fun.  I really enjoyed the little pleaty bits.  This actually had inspiration from a vintage piece. 

Delaenya is a very dear friend, and I am very glad she chose to be in my wedding.  She must have had fun, because she asked me to make her dress, and be in her upcoming wedding.  I hope I can as good of a job as she did! -grin-

There are plenty more pictures of Delaenya's dress, some even in process on Flickr.

Here is a very amusing picture of our backsides.

Thanks for taking this journey with me.  It was a delight being able to make clothing for my best girlfriends.  Only having eight weeks to get them all done was interesting, but obviously we pulled it off.  Glad I don't have to do it again any time soon!