I also looked at a few extant garments and was delighted to find that, although my fabric wasn't silk, the colour at least was very authentic.
|An 1860s pink dress in almost exactly the same shade as my fabric! And it even has the moiré effect.|
This was my design sketch:
And, once I had all of the necessary materials assembled, after a few days of very hard work and late nights, this was the final result:
|A nice picture of the dress as it appeared at its first ball - and before it got creased!|
It was also my first attempt at boning. I used finished lengths of steel boning from Vena Cava Design in channels that I stitched from the lining material then attached by hand. It was a bit tricky at first but made a real difference to the smoothness of the bodice and made the whole thing feel very secure when it was on.
The skirt was very heavy to wear due to the weight of all the fabric and the layers and I didn't manage to neaten all of the underside of the petals where the white pleated ruffles were attached before the ball, but that didn't stop me from dancing the whole night long! I had never danced Victorian sequence dances before but I absolutely loved it. I was very glad of the fan though as it got very warm inside there!
I wore the gown with a pair of peach ballerina's demi-pointe shoes, which were the closest shape I could find to 19th century dance slippers, white cotton gloves (the gloves that my Grandma wore to her wedding) and a headdress that consisted of a white lace snood decorated with ribbon to match the dress and artificial white carnations.
All in all, I was very pleased with the final effect and very proud of my very first Victorian costume.