Jenny La Fleur
The Peacock Dress - Jenny La Fleur
adventures in costuming
The Peacock Dress

One of my new year's resolutions this year was to not to make a highly elaborate frock for the Costume College Gala out of a feeling of perceived obligation or peer pressure. So I gave myself permission to wear a "this old thing" unless I came up with a design I was completely mad about creating and wearing. So in the meantime I came up with lots of clever and lovely ideas but none of them really rocked my world and made me squeal with delight and anticipation... until last weekend.

It was the combination of two things really:
1. The gift of a breath-taking peacock textile from bauhausfrau and
2. Getting to not only see but also try on pastblue's infamous Jump Dress for Less vest.

The minute I felt the weight of the fully beaded vest on my shoulders I was in love - I knew I had to have one of my own! Then I thought instead of making a faithful recreation of the Jump Dress it would be much more fun to make not a peacock-themed version, using bauhausfrau's amazing peacock fabric. *laaa* and the idea just clicked.

After going through my files and Google searches I found a few extant garments that were similar in design to the Jump Dress, with varying combinations of beaded "vests" and bodices. I was particularly drawn to the pale peach creation above though, with it's simple skirt, train and longer sleeves. So my Peacock will be a combination of the two gowns, the beaded vest of the Jump with the underdress and skirt of the peach.

I knew I didn't want to go with the floral motif on the Jump vest and coming up with my own design was a challenge. I didn't want it to be too literal or too complicated and I only wanted to use two colors of beads. Nothing like making it hard on myself! Luckily I had some awesome friends over on Sunday for a crafty day and with their help we were about to come up with a paisley sort of design that resembled a very stylized peacock feather. Thanks Victoria and Ellie!

I am so excited about this project! It’s a completely mad thing to do – a fully beaded bodice in 5 months – but like I said before what is the point of costuming if you don't lose your mind and make something insane every so often? Besides I haven't done a beading project in a while... it's time. *wicked grin*

Invaluable resources so far:


24 comments | comment?
girliegirl32786 From: girliegirl32786 Date: March 21st, 2010 02:39 am (UTC) (link)
Oh my gosh!! *squee* I think this outfit is going to be absolutely amazing! I can't wait to see and hear all about it in person.
jennylafleur From: jennylafleur Date: March 21st, 2010 02:58 am (UTC) (link)
I know right? I can't wait to show it to you!
koshka_the_cat From: koshka_the_cat Date: March 21st, 2010 03:27 am (UTC) (link)
This is exciting :)
jennylafleur From: jennylafleur Date: March 21st, 2010 05:54 pm (UTC) (link)
I knew you would approve. :>
padawansguide From: padawansguide Date: March 21st, 2010 03:55 am (UTC) (link)
You can totally do it in 5 months. To be honest with you, I don't think the beading took me more than a month. I worked on it at lunch and tea at work, and I took it on vacation to Germany with me and worked on it in the car and a bit in the evenings, but I certainly didn't kill myself on it, and it was way less time intensive than that Bespin embroidery which, working on it the same amount a day, took me 9 months.

I look forward to seeing what you do - I know it will be great! That fabric is gorgeous too!
jennylafleur From: jennylafleur Date: March 21st, 2010 05:59 pm (UTC) (link)
Yay - thanks for your impute! Based on the time I spent on the test pieces I'm not too worried. I just need to get to through the toile process quickly and be diligent to work a little everyday and I'll be fine. I love to bead - it's so relaxing and brainless!

Thanks so much by the way for your excellent Jump Dress pages and for taking such detailed notes during the process of making yours. I've been haunting your site all week and they have been invaluable and so inpsirational!
padawansguide From: padawansguide Date: March 21st, 2010 11:49 pm (UTC) (link)
Glad it's been helpful for you!
rebecca817 From: rebecca817 Date: March 21st, 2010 04:33 am (UTC) (link)
It sounds like it will be beautiful and I look forward to seeing it in August.
jennylafleur From: jennylafleur Date: March 21st, 2010 06:00 pm (UTC) (link)
Thanks! I can't wait to wear it!
gilded_garb From: gilded_garb Date: March 21st, 2010 06:42 am (UTC) (link)
Peacock!! I love it and approve - it will be stunning! :o)
jennylafleur From: jennylafleur Date: March 21st, 2010 06:01 pm (UTC) (link)
*hee* Someday we'll have to wear our peacocks at the same time...
unclrashid From: unclrashid Date: March 21st, 2010 08:02 am (UTC) (link)
Sounds like it will be marvelous! And the peacock fabric is simply the most stunning thing I have ever seen! I can't tell if it is a jacquard or a print from the pics.

You might want to consider planning the beadwork in "stages", ie maybe doing the outlines first and then going back and filling in different layers of detail, so that if you are running out of time, partially finished will mean it's missing a few details rather than, say, the entire left back panel. Or working from the top down, or maybe edges in.
jennylafleur From: jennylafleur Date: March 21st, 2010 06:02 pm (UTC) (link)
Thanks! It's a damask... I feel very lucky to have it!
mlsdesigns From: mlsdesigns Date: March 21st, 2010 10:52 am (UTC) (link)
Such an awesome idea!!! I bet this is going to be just STUNNING!
jennylafleur From: jennylafleur Date: March 21st, 2010 06:02 pm (UTC) (link)
Thanks so much! Well that is the idea of course... :P
bauhausfrau From: bauhausfrau Date: March 21st, 2010 11:05 am (UTC) (link)
I'm so excited to see how this turns out! It's going to be gorgeous and I love that is so different a concept for a peacock dress. Yay! :)
jennylafleur From: jennylafleur Date: March 21st, 2010 06:10 pm (UTC) (link)
Thanks and thanks again for the fabric! It's funny I don't think I would have ever bought this in the store but I have a feeling this is going to turn out to be one of my favorite costumes. :>

Yeah I'm excited about the differnt aspect too. I do think I'm going to need a big feather fan though... I have to use up some of my peacock feather stash somehow!
wieselkind From: wieselkind Date: March 21st, 2010 12:21 pm (UTC) (link)
wow, sounds beautiful. I love 1910s style and the print, is it Liberty's ?
jennylafleur From: jennylafleur Date: March 21st, 2010 06:11 pm (UTC) (link)
Thanks! I'm no sure where the fabric came from but I don't think so. It really has an Arts and Crafts feel to it though, doesn't it?
mandie_rw From: mandie_rw Date: March 21st, 2010 04:50 pm (UTC) (link)
Oooh, this is going to be lovely! The fabric is so pretty -- and beading is always fabulous!
jennylafleur From: jennylafleur Date: March 21st, 2010 06:11 pm (UTC) (link)
Thanks! I'm super excited about the beading... can't wait to do it!
suededsilk From: suededsilk Date: March 22nd, 2010 03:11 am (UTC) (link)
Looks like it'll be breathtaking! Lovely fabric.
Where would we be without a little insanity? ;)
jennylafleur From: jennylafleur Date: March 22nd, 2010 01:36 pm (UTC) (link)
Thanks! Yep, my thinking exactly! :>
vanessa_lynne From: vanessa_lynne Date: March 22nd, 2010 03:52 pm (UTC) (link)
Ooh - pretty! I can't wait to see this in person. This has been one of my favorite dresses of the era since I found the picture.
24 comments | comment?