This dress is one of those moments, well, a few of those moments actually. The patterns I found first. This is actually three patterns: undergarments, the dress, and the hat. Really they weren't anything that I thought right away, "Oh this is for me!" but they were like most of my amassed collection, I fell in love with them and bought them while on sale...several in fact.
The ribbon on the other hand is something I had coveted for many months before buying it. The soft pinks and tans are not in my usual color scheme, so I struggled with purchasing it. It was also much more expensive than I normally would purchase. Once I bought the fabric, I knew I had to have this ribbon to trim the dress with.
The fabric took a bit longer for me to give in to. Though I was desperately in love with the patter, I just could not bare to pay the near $30 a yard that the price tag held. I pined for months for this fabric. I knew exactly what pattern I'd use, and even had that ribbon in mind, but for months it was simply dreaming.
When I also found the pink fabric, I knew I had to have these two fabrics, I had to create this dress that was dancing in my mind. And this one would be mine!
It was still a few months before I bought the fabric. No matter how much I love it, no matter how much I knew it would be perfect, I just couldn't bring myself to spend the nearly $300 it would cost in fabric to have this dress.
But, as fabric does, it eventually ended up on the clearance rack. When there was a 50% off clearance sale, I bolted right to these fabrics and bought all of it that was left. That night I went online and bought the ribbon to match.
It would of course be another three months before I finished the dress, but as soon as I did, I could not wait to try it on! I knew I wouldn't be able to lace it properly, but I could get an idea what it looked like right? This was a serious miscalulation on my part. Sure the dress went on fine, but 6 yards of brocade, 2 yards of muslin lining, 2 layers of cotton canvas as a middle layer in the bodice and 34 steel bones meant that the dress is very heavy! On top of that, the bodice was so well reinforced, that it would not bend leaving me stuck in this dress at midnight...did I mention I live alone?
Frantic, and fearful of being eternally stuck in this dress, I did what any scared pretend princess does; I called my mommy.
After she stopped laughing, she informed me that she couldn't come to me, as her car was not drive-able, but I could come to her and she'd let me out. She lived with my grandmother at the time who lives a good 30 minute drive away from me.
Well, I had to do it, and the entire drive there I just knew I'd get pulled over and have to explain to some highway patrol officer that no I can't touch my nose because this dress does not allow my arms to move that high!
These pictures where her way of torturing me even more.
After surviving that, I still decided to wear the dress to the local fair, but driving in a farthingale is impossible, so I arrived to fair in my Elizabethan undergarments and proceeded to be dressed in the lot. Which is not an uncommon thing at these fairs...or at least at my local one.
My mother and I also like to stop for dinner after the fair, again this is how I was dressed as we ate at a Big Boy close to my grandmother's house. The waiter went on and on about how wonderful my costume looked. My mother, being my mother, then looked at him and whispered, "She's in her underwear!" making the poor boy blush more ruby than an apple.
I left him a large tip.
With all of the mishaps, longing, yearning, work, sweat, tears, and laughs that went into making this costume it has become my most treasured one. Sure there are improvements to be made (like putting the shoulder rolls on as an applique rather than trying to stuff them into the seam as I did) but the memories in making it could not be more perfect.