Friday, May 23, 2014

2014 Conference Fabric - Fabric for the Ladies

One of the annual highlights of the Ladies & Gentlemen of the 1860's conference is the Saturday morning reveal of the "conference fabric" - each faculty member receives a piece, a dress length for the ladies and a different fabric for the men, typically enough to make a vest. It's always amazing to see how different the same fabric can look made up, depending on the choice of trims, placement, etc.

I always have both a sense of excitement and apprehension when I open up the package- like it or not, it must be made into a garment and worn. I'll admit u front, this is not a fabric I would have chosen for myself, but it has grown on me a bit as time has passed.

The fabric is a fine Italian cotton, with a lovely hand. I felt the colors would have been more typically used on wool or silk in the period, which was confirmed by Carolann when she described the fabric during the "Reveal".

With a fabric this bright and bold, there's only two options: attempt to tone it down or embrace and enhance the color. Most participants went with the tone it down option.

But when I went through my fabric stash and found this perfectly matching length of silk poplin, my choice was made: Embrace it or as a friend described it, "you bear- hugged it into submission".

I used a fashion plate (the lady on the left) and a sleeve detail from an original garment as inspiration.

My approach with the fashion plate was not to create a duplicate, but instead to interpret the details into my garment; I believe this is more the way fashion plates were used at the time, as opposed to being literally copied.

I did not have fabric to create the double skirt, but did have enough to place trim with the same dagged shape - I did not have this done for conference but added it later.

The bodice has a slightly pointed front and is trimmed with fancy buttons. I'll be posting more about the buttons in a subsequent post.

The sleeves are bishop style, with a twist - ending in points and brought back together at the cuff. The require a full undersleeve to hang properly, in this case, made of black spotted netting. Yes,I combined plaid and polka dots.

It wasn't clear in the fashion plate if the jacket was a true jacket or trim applied to look like a jacket. I decided to go with a true jacket, to give a little more versatility.

So there it is, the "diamond dress" - I'll be wearing it at Greenfield Village this weekend, see you there!

1 comment:

  1. Oh, I saw your dress and didn't realize it was you! It was very eye-catching! :)