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Wedgewood Blue Gibson Girl Gown and Undergarments

I attended a dinner party on the Delta King River Boat in Sacramento. The event was hosted by the GBACG and people were encouraged to wear clothing from 1870-1900. I decided to make a Gibson Girl dress out of a Wedgwood blue silk taffeta, trimmed with white lace.IMG_2870IMG_2856

My inspiration was the famous Wedgewood pottery. IMG_1670.JPG

I have some additional appliqués I purchased that I didn’t have time to add for this event, but will for the next wearing to make it even more like pottery. IMG_2096.JPG

The bodice is made with Truly Victorian’s 1892 ball gown bodice and 1893 bell skirt patterns. I found the fit of both to be good, but the bodice is very long and I had to cut a bit from the bottom, even though I am long-waisted.IMG_2796

Some bodice in-progress photos that show the amount that needed to be trimmed:

My jewelry is by In the Long Run. My gloves are vintage and the purse is from a bridal shop. I am wearing Tissots from American Duchess.IMG_2742

I did not use the sleeve pattern that came with the bodice pattern. Instead I gathered up a rectangle of silk chiffon to make flowing sleeves.IMG_2727

The top was gathered and serged.IMG_2673

The back closes with hooks and eyes.IMG_2729.JPG

I decorated the front with a silk chiffon sash and little flowers that I put faux pearl centers in. IMG_2725

I would have liked to hem the end of the sash and add little pearls to the edge, but I was recovering from a hand injury and couldn’t do any hand-sewing, so it’s just a pouf for now. Thus I had to get creative with ways to avoid it!

Ways to save on hand-sewing:

  • I used a white silk chiffon scarf to trim the bodice, so the edges were already hemmed!
  • I serged or machine-sewed any seam I could.
  • I hemmed the skirt by machine, and then covered the machine stitches by sewing lace over it.
  • Instead of cutting a facing, I used a wide vintage rayon ribbon as a hem facing.
  • I used boning that already came with a casing, so I didn’t have to make the casing. I also had casing that had little “fins” on it so that I could machine-sew the boning onto the seam allowance of the bodice.
  • I used hook and eye tape instead of individually sewing on hooks and eyes.
  • Oh horror: I serged the bottom of the bodice, then flipped it up and held the hem in place by ironing on Stitch Witchery!

Because I flat-lined the fashion fabric to a cotton base, and I couldn’t hand-baste the pieces together there is some puckering. Although it’s not up to my “usual standards” I am still quite proud of what I was able to do with what I could, and I had fun with my friends!IMG_2848

Underneath the skirt I wore a long petticoat based on the Truly Victorian bell skirt pattern, with a big ruffle and trim attached.IMG_2162.JPG

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I wore a custom S-bend corset from Redthreaded, with hip pads, and a bust pad. The padding is necessary to achieve the exaggerated Gibson silhouette. I went from an 8 inch differential in my waist and hips to 13 inches, with only a 1 inch waist reduction!

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I used the “bust improver” pattern from Wearing History, which comes in 2 sizes. I recommend it to give your girls a little extra something!Screen Shot 2018-11-04 at 8.11.32 PM.png

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Project costs:

  • 8 yards silk taffeta: $113.44 including tax from the LA Fabric District (I still have 3 yards left!)
  • 10 yards white veins lace: $34.01 including shipping from Aliexpress
  • 15 pairs grape leaf appliques: $36 including shipping from Aliexpress
  • bodice pattern: $10.75 from Truly Victorian (digital file)
  • skirt pattern: $0 (already used previously)
  • vintage rayon ribbon spool: $3
  • silk chiffon: $0 (gift from friend)
  • 3 yards white cotton for petticoat: $12 from eBay
  • pink trim for petticoat: $3 from garage sale
  • boning, thread, hook and eye tape, flowers, etc. from stash: ~$10

Total cost: $222.20 (plus I have a lot of silk and lace leftover I’ll probably sell to recoup some costs). Normally I don’t tally the costs until the dress is finished, and I still have to add the grape appliqués, but at this point it’s additional labor and not additional materials, so I added everything up. (When I started this blog my goal was to make things for $100 or less, and I’m seeing costs creep up because of nice materials. Hopefully my next project is a lot cheaper!)

All the hair you can see in the picture below is my own, which is currently shoulder-length. I pinned a big hair rat to the top of my head and two smaller ones on the sides, and then all the hair was pulled over the rats and pinned into place. The messy center was hidden by a faux hair bun pinned on top.IMG_2856

I’m not sure yet, but this might be a nice gala gown for Costume College 2019, when it’s all done!

 

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Gibson Girls at the Gaskell Ball

Posted on

(Oops, I thought this was published May 2, but apparently it was in my draft folder the whole time!)

As promised, here are some pictures of me wearing the Gibson Girl dress, and all the gorgeous ladies at the Gaskell Ball who also did a Gibson theme.

I apologize for the lighting in the photos. I took these with my phone because I forgot my camera in my sewing room after taking pictures of the completed gown.

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There were a group of 8 of us that did Gibson Girl dresses, with sleeves running the gamut from off-the-shoulder to giant fun poof!

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A back view. I loved the variety of colors and textures!

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We got a little saucy at one point.

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Which caused one of the girls to faint.

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But she revived.

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And we had a lovely time!

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Two things I would like to point out:

1. Half of us were wearing shoes from American Duchess, who makes comfortable, danceable, historical footwear. I am currently waiting to receive a pair of “Gibson” Edwardian shoes I ordered. I highly recommend American Duchess!

2. The lady in the very lovely dress with the roses is Natalie, and you can read about her gown at Frolicking Frocks. I love how detailed her construction notes are!

ImageThe rest of my photos are on my Flickr account: http://www.flickr.com/photos/vivien_misc/sets/72157633356227565/

Gibson Girl Project (Part 5): Finished Dress

My Gibson Girl dress is finished and I wore it to the Gaskell Ball last night. (The next post will feature pictures of a bunch of Gibson Girls from the ball!)

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Gibson Girl Project (Part 4): Bodice

I have some little tweaks to do but the bodice is nearly complete!

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As usual, I underestimated the amount of hand-sewing required. I also have some smoothing to do; I’m not entirely pleased with the little puckers.

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For more construction details, peek inside.

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Gibson Girl Project (Part 3) Underwear: Petticoat & Corset

I have been working on the Gibson Girl trained skirt, hand-sewing the hem on the train. Right now I am trying to figure out the lace flounce before I post some progress photos.

However, my undergarments are ready!

I sewed a petticoat out of a striped taffeta I’ve had for years. (You may recognize it as the lining to this coat).

Here is a side view.

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Keep reading for more pictures of the petticoat, and details of my beautiful new corset!

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Gibson Girl Project (Part 2) Materials

Yesterday I finished gathering my materials for my Gibson Girl dress. I will be using Truly Victorian’s 1893 Bell Skirt pattern (#TV292).

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I am using a periwinkle blue satin for the dress. (The fabric is darker than how the photo turned out). The hem will be trimmed with an embroidered black netting lace, and I also bought some lovely appliques from Britex to use on the bodice and skirt front.

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Gibson Girl (Part 1)

My next major project is to make a Gibson Girl ensemble for an event in April.  I’ve been looking at pictures from the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s website, and I rather like some of the elements in this beautiful butterfly dress.

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(Source http://www.metmuseum.org/collections/search-the-collections/80093882?img=4)

In particular, I like the use of appliques, and the embroidery around the bottom of the bodice. If you look carefully there are little rhinestones scattered about.

I am not sure yet about the dress design but I knew I wanted embroidered tulle lace. I decided to buy some great lace and then find a solid-colored fabric to match, instead of the other way around. My color scheme will be baby blue, accented by black. It reminds me of Alice’s dress in Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland.

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