Over the last couple of years I have had the honor of creating a reproduction Queen Elizabeth I gown for a private client. I can honestly say it has been made with blood, sweat, and probably tears (may have blocked that bit out. haha.) I worked on it off and on in between other projects and goings-on at my shop. The client has been doing presentations at the local high school as her royal highness, and we have been adding trims and bits and baubles along the way. I only have two pieces left to make to complete the ensemble.
- Standing Ruff (There’s one on there now, but it is not standing properly. It is missing a supportesse.) I will be using this pattern that I found on Etsy.
- Whisk. This is the part I am having a very difficult time researching. I’m not even 100% positive that’s what it’s called. I am talking about the piece above her shoulders in back that is shaped like the top of a heart, with a grid-like pattern.
My go-to image of reference for the gown has been The Ditchley Portrait. (See below.)
Wish me luck as I try to complete Her Majesty!
Check out this empire waist dress I made out of shantung. Pretty!
In case you didn’t know already, my day job is creating costumes for a [nationally recognized] regional theater. I have made quite a few interesting costumes, but the ones I am about to tell you about definitely take the cake.
Have you ever seen/heard of the play, The Mystery of Irma Vep? Unfortunately I am reporting on this too late for you to see our production. (The closing show was yesterday evening.) I have to say it was one of the best productions I have ever seen in my entire life! The acting was superb! The props, scenery,lighting, paint, costumes were flawless and hysterical! For those who are not familiar, it is a sort of comedy/mystery/suspense -but mostly comedy -show that takes place in a vaguely Victorian era. It is a two man show in which each man plays several characters each. There are moments in the play in which one of the men walks offstage as one character and then precedes to have a conversation with himself as a different character that he then (very quickly!) comes back onstage as. It was incredibly impressive. The show moves so quickly that there were a few little mistakes/line flubs here and there, but the actors were able to recover in such a way that it only improved the comedy.
Now to how this relates to me….. Only two actors, but mostly playing the parts of women! My costume shop made two evening gowns and a dressing gown for one of the men, and a maid’s dress (complete with fake boobs) for the other man. It was so much fun, but definitely a unique challenge. The costume designer chose not to have fake boobs for the “leading lady”, which actually worked out very nicely when he would appear onstage in this beautiful low cut dress with a wealth of chest hair peeking over the top!
Should you ever find yourself creating dresses for men, my one recommendation is this -be sure to label your bodice pieces, as there is no curvature to hint at which piece you are looking at, lol. Also, be sure to fit everything tight enough, because they don’t have the, er, means, to hold the dress in place if it does not have a high neckline.
8/19/13 Here is a link to a video clip, where you can see the red dress and bolero I made in action! Right at the beginning too! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l00Vw36zGJU
10/23/11 UPDATE: I have now added some photos of the finished dress into the slideshow.
9/10/11 UPDATE: Just celebrated Opening Night for “Dial M” on Friday. The red dress was breathtaking – I couldn’t take my eyes off of it. Kathleen L. created a much more full petticoat for this look, which gave the dress an excellent 50’s shape. We created the bolero out of lace. Unfortunately we had to nix the fold-over collar, because the wrong side of the lace was not as pretty to look at. Facing the collar would have added bulk, and lining the bolero would lose the look of the sheer lace. The end result was a round neckline, that still turned out quite lovely. The lace had a beautiful scalloped edging that I cut out and hand stitched to every edge of the bolero. I added a photo of the dress right before the final fitting to the slideshow. Photo of the finished dress coming soon!
8/4/11 Working on a mock-up for our production of “Dial ‘M’ for Murder. It is for a beautiful formal 1950’s dress with a full skirt, and a bolero. It still needs some work to fix that pointy bit on the collar of the bolero, but so far so good! This mock-up was patterned by yours truly, and stitched by Kathleen L.