Last Saturday I went to the Dickens Christmas Fair wearing my new 1850s plaid silk dress.
The bonnet is one I trimmed during a previous year, and I am wearing Tavistock button boots from American Duchess. I am standing in front of Cuthbert’s Tea Shop at the Fair.
I would like to make a matching blue belt for the next wearing. I also didn’t have time to make some new silk undersleeves, so I made do with the sleeves of a frilly blouse peeking out. I’m also thinking of trimming the skirt in the same manner as the sleeves, but perhaps I shouldn’t get too carried away.
The dress is made from a plaid silk dupioni. The bodice is flat-lined with a cotton canvas, and closes with hooks and eyes. The covered fabric buttons are decorative only.
The skirt hem has a circumference of 136 inches, and the skirt is made up of 3 straight panels. I originally planned a skirt circumference of about 150 inches, but after I cut the panels out I realized the blue stripes were not a uniform width, so changed my plan to have the blue stripes go vertically instead of horizontally.
The collar is lace I found on eBay.
The sleeves are a pagoda shape, and lined with ivory silk taffeta left over from my 1830s Romantic dress. They are trimmed with ribbon I had to hand-pleat as I sewed, to make them follow the curve I had chalked out on the fabric.
Originally, I planned to knife-pleat the skirt to save time, but I caught a cold and stayed home from work for 2 days, and cartridge-pleated while watching Netflix. It was my first time doing cartridge pleats, and although time-consuming, I do like the effect, even though I think I should make them a little tighter next time.
I received some advice on my last post to cut the side back panels on the bias, since I was having a little trouble with perfectly matching the plaid along the curved seams, so I changed the bodice.
A few of the things I liked about this dress are things you can’t see, precisely because you can’t see them. The skirt is unlined, except for a self hem-facing of about 10 inches that is hand-sewn. Can you see the horizontal stitch line? (Sorry, I didn’t take photos before wearing at Dickens Fair, and the car ride has rumpled the skirt quite a bit).
I hid a pocket in each side seam, and I had a lot of trouble finding my pockets throughout the day. Let’s play find the pocket.
In the past, I’ve added the skirt placket near the end of construction, but this time I followed Jennifer R’s instructions on how to put in the placket before you even sew your skirt panels together, and I think it came out much neater.
Overall I am quite pleased with this outfit! There are a few tweaks I would like to make, and accessories to add (plus add a little more floof on top of my hoop) but it came out better than expected. I used Past Patterns 702 (Dart Fitted Bodices) as a pattern, and I will write a review about the pattern fit and construction in my next post.
- Fabric: 6 yards 54 inch silk: $59.98 + $13.90 shipping (I still have enough left over for an evening bodice!)
- Pattern: $14 + $3.25 shipping
- Lining: 1 yard cotton canvas: $12.20 + tax
- Sleeve lining: $0 (remnants from a previous project)
- Lace collar: $5.99
- 3 spools ribbon: $11.30 (I still have plenty left to trim the skirt or make a belt)
- Hooks and eyes: $3.65
Total cost: $124.27
If I didn’t pay for shipping or the excess ribbon the cost would have been around $100. Not bad for a silk dress. =)
Squee!!!!! This dress makes me so happy! The color of the plaid is so lovely and you did a fabulous job of matching the plaid!! Huzzah!!!! You are a matching rock star! Your hand pleated trim is so lovely as is the lace collar! Isn’t eBay awesome!! I LOVE this whole outfit!!!
Thank you Gina! It took a long time but I loved working on this dress! Yes, eBay is awesome. I am now looking for the perfect sparkly belt buckle on eBay.
AAAAAHHHHHH this is awesome!
Thank you Chrissy! I’m glad you like it!!!
Yes! This turned out so well. Colors are really pretty. Fun time at Dickens Fair, too. Good job?
Oops, that’s “Good job!”
Thanks Kim! We did have a very good time at the Fair together!
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This looks so awesome! Love the plaid. Great work.
Thank you Breanna! I’ve fallen in love with plaid.
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