Jenny La Fleur
the titanic doctoral gown - Jenny La Fleur
adventures in costuming
the titanic doctoral gown

Lookie - actual sewing being done at Chez Jenny-Rose! Shocking I know!

This week, in between headaches and general ickyness, I've been working on my 1912 loungewear. I've really been struggling with getting started on the evening gown for some reason. I think part of it is being overwhelmed with everything else in my sewing /real life and feeling little confidence about being able to actually pull the project off. (The ghosts of all those failed 1912 dresses are haunting me these days.) So I decided that I needed to get something off my list and get some costuming success under my belt. The "Flying Wrap" requires little fitting, no mock-ups and should be fairly straightforward to construct so it fit the bill perfectly.

I decided that, tempting as the other options were, I wanted to go with an Oriental-inspired silhouette for my wrap. So I started by pulling out my old black Titanic Kimono and the pattern I used for it (Butterick 6698). Thank goodness I keep dress diaries! I was able, with the help of my website, to go back and figure out all the changes I made to the Butterick pattern. I then traced out a new pattern, incorporating some new changes as well as the old.

The biggest change was to flare out the skirt. Kimonos are basically tubes, which is awesome if you want the traditional Japanese look and/or have no hips. I wanted something more loose and flowy so I drafted in a bit more fullness in the skirt, paying close attention to the hip area.

Then I cut my silk taffeta. When I started laying out the pattern pieces I paniced that I wouldn't have enough fabric. So I turned the sleeve pattern 180°, which meant I lost some length but I decided it wasn’t a big deal. With the sleeve pattern turned I laid out the other pieces just to make sure I had enough fabric and I ended up with ¼" to spare - dude it doesn't get any closer than that!

After the silk was cut I whipped up all the seams and attached the sleeves, using dreaded French seams. They aren’t hard just not my favorite! But I didn't want to line the wrap so I had no choice. Once the basic shell was together I measured the neckline, hem and sleeve hem so I could cut the velvet bands. My velvet was a great deal and a lovely color but to be honest it's not a great quality stuff. So to give it a better hand, help with the shredding issue and hopefully make it look more expensive I decided to cut all the bands on the bias. I shouldn't have worried about not having enough fabric this time around I had plenty to spare. I might even have enough to make a Flying Dress jacket out of it after all! Or maybe a Gainsbourgh hat, in navy blue instead of the traditional black. *ponders*

So that is where I left it last night. To be honest at the moment it looks (and when I wear it feels) like academic dress. Once I draped some of the velvet bias bands on it really has the feel of a doctoral gown but Mom assures me that once I get all the velvet and beads on and add my 1912 nightgown and accessories I won't look like I need a mortarboard with a tassel.

Golly I hope she is right! :P


5 comments | comment?
bauhausfrau From: bauhausfrau Date: February 10th, 2012 06:41 pm (UTC) (link)
I love the idea, I think it's going to be a stunner when you've finished. I think she's right, plus the velvet and beads will make it drape more and that will also help it look more flowy and less like a doctoral gown. And so glad you gave the link for the Rose Kimono you made, it's lovely.

(And now I want one too!! ;)
sewloud From: sewloud Date: February 10th, 2012 06:43 pm (UTC) (link)
yay sewing progress! I'm sorry you've been feeling icky physically and costumey. I completely know what you mean about a nice easy project boosting the confidence levels, but I think you can totally do the evening gown! *busts out pompoms* wait should I save those till you actually start it?

I don't think it looks like academic dress, I think it looks like YUMMY SILK!! Think of how divine you're going to sound as your rustle around :-) Make sure someone takes video for those of us living vicariously!
girliegirl32786 From: girliegirl32786 Date: February 10th, 2012 11:43 pm (UTC) (link)
Its looking good and once you have the velvet bands on it will look fabulous! Not like a doctoral robe at all. :)
cracked_code From: cracked_code Date: February 11th, 2012 03:54 am (UTC) (link)
having worn too many of those academic regalia travesties of fashion I have NO DOUBT your finished product will be on a different planet of awesomeness in comparison.
mlsdesigns From: mlsdesigns Date: February 18th, 2012 02:30 pm (UTC) (link)
I think your mum is absolutely right - once you've put on all the trim, and have all the undies and accessories in place it will look absolutely perfect! That colour on you is going to be just stunning too ;)
5 comments | comment?