The Gold Gown

The Gold Gown

Before I even finished the french gown, I was at Joann's picking up god knows what, and I wandered into the fabric section.  I found a fabric that I really loved (mostly because it was so lightweight and cool compared to the heavy french gown) and took a few samples.  The more I looked at the gold, the more it grew on me.

I blame the actual gown creation itself on my sister. She sent me money for Christmas, and instead of doing something useful with it, I bought the damn fabric.

I just had to pick out a gown design, and a coordinating fabric, and then make it.  All of which is the hard part. :-/  I decided that after having done the 1545 gown, I wanted something from later in the century. I also no longer cared if I could make it after a portrait, I wanted the ability to design it with the features that I wanted. Which turned out to be a bit of a mistake - I then couldn't decide how to do the shoulder treatments and sleeves, which meant I wore it to the first faire with neither. : )

One more visit to Joann's and I found the perfect coordinating fabric for the forepart and sleeves:

For as much time as I spent designing, cutting, and sewing and resewing the french
gown, I have to say it was time well spent - this gown went together in hours.  I designed the bodice using the corset pattern, adding shoulders and changing the shape slightly. I lightly boned it for shape, but cut it with the intent to wear it with a corset.  I also designed it for back lacing, which looks nice, but makes it a giant pain to get dressed on my own.

The first night:

The design fabric was then hand stitched to the interior.  I left the garment unlined out of laziness, and also because of the heat of faires in Southern California.

Quick fit on the dummy after the first volley of work:

I also threw together an underskirt with a forepart - I used four panels of white cotton; tacked on the forepart material, added a waistband, and tie closures. I was all proud of myself until I realized the bottom circumfrence of the skirt wasn't QUITE wide enough for the farthingale, and it pulled in underneath the last hoop, so I had to take the waistband off, undo a few seams, add in one more panel of white cotton, and then resew the whole damn thing back together.  I'm guessing this is one of those asinine mistakes you only make once.  :-/

During a flight to Seattle, and 2.5 hours of forced containment, I hand stitched trim to the neckline, tacked down the shoulders, and also added all the hooks to the placard on the brown gown.  I seriously should fly more often, I got some work done!  In order to wear it at this point, all it really needed was the buttonholes in the back for lacing, and an over skirt.  I hand stitched all the button holes in an evening, and it was quick work to make a knife-pleated skirt; I wore the ensemble as it was to a faire in May.

I then made sleeves, shoulder puffs, and added hooks to attach the skirt to the bodice while wearing it, as the shifting around drove me batty.  I have readjustments to do, yet, but I am finding these gowns are always a work in progress. : )  I need to fix the line on the front of the bodice; the under layer appears to be wrinkling underneath the design fabric, and I'm not sure why. I also need to pull up one of the shoulder straps a bit, and move the hooks on the skirt around a bit, but all in all, I am pleased with the outcome, and I adore the gold color. I am looking for just the right trip to trim the opening sides of the overskirt, and the top of the bodice. I'm also thinking to handsew pearls or even pearl clusters onto the trim, it will be very fancy and all that.

I think next, though, I will do an earlier 16th century Italian gown, or I will depart from that century altogether and do a 17th or 17 century gown, just for fun. : )

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