Those of you who follow me on Facebook already know that I have a keen interest in vintage and historical fashions. My love of pretty dresses goes back as far as I can remember. When I was a little girl I used to love to play dress up in my mother’s clothes. It seems I have never quite outgrown that! While I have always enjoyed costume parties and even made Halloween costumes for my kids when they were young, I never tried to make anything for myself until I decided to attend two romance conferences this fall, the HISTORICAL ROMANCE RETREAT in September and the awesome IND’Scribe conference in early October. (As a side note, BRETON WOLFE, my first medieval/Viking romance is a finalist for their prestigious RONE Award.)
Since I primarily write in the Georgian era, I decided to look for a Georgian gown to wear to the costume parties. After searching high and low, I thought I found the most perfect gown – until it actually arrived!
The gown that arrived was a hideous parody of what I thought I purchased! Here are the pictures!!
I was beyond disappointed but returning it to China seemed impractical. The only thing it had going for it was decent quality satin and a beautiful underskirt. Although I had minimal sewing experience, I decided to try and salvage what I could so I began LITERALLY taking it apart.
And putting it back together the way I envisioned it!
Happily, my efforts paid off in spades! I ended up very pleased with the gown and wore it a couple of months ago for a costume party at Weekend with the Authors. It was a huge hit!
After my successful experiment, I decided I should just try to make a gown from scratch. I bought a very simple pattern for a Regency gown. The first try wasn’t so great but it was a valuable learning experience so I decided to try again. To my shock, the second gown made in champagne crushed taffeta and lace turned out quite lovely! (Here it is modeled by the beautiful Collette Cameron!)
So I decided to make yet another. Then and another, and another….. Almost as soon as I began posting pictures of my dressmaking on Facebook, I started getting requests from people! This week I finished my eighteenth historical gown and confess that I am passionately and unabashedly addicted! (click images for full size picture with dress descriptions)
I never would have dreamed that my costume makeover experiment would be the beginning of a wonderful journey into the world of historical costume creation.
I hope you have enjoyed my adventure! Please keep me in mind if you ever desire to dress up like a duchess for a day!