To go with my 1840s day dress I knew I needed something to use as a head covering for Dickens Fair. Unfortunately, while the standard shape for an 1840s bonnet is really a “coal scuttle bonnet” with straight sides like this one:
… it was not possible to find one inexpensively on short notice. Further complicating the issue was the fact that I’d have to pack or ship the bonnet, which is a pain since bonnets are so bulky, so I couldn’t just make one at home and get it to California easily. What to do?
Happy Holidays, everyone!
So the outfit is finally finished, and I got to wear it to a Dickens-themed ball! I know, I know, Dickens was really 1840 and later, but since the ball specifically featured Mr. and Mrs. Fezziwig from A Christmas Carol, and since the Fezziwigs were portrayed in the book during a flashback to Ebenezer Scrooge’s youth (presumably in the 1810s or so), I felt comfortable using it as an excuse to wear the dress. So there!
I used the last few pieces of dupatta fabric (literally there are only a few square inches left!) to make a long strip, which I wound around my head with some gold net to make a turban/fillet type hair accessory– I added some fabulous ostrich plumes for a finishing touch!
Okay, so after my failed attempt at dyeing fabric for a Regency ballgown, I went in search of some alternative deep red fabric to sew my gown out of. Sadly, I couldn’t find anything similar at the only fabric store nearby, so I decided to go in a different direction with some sheer ivory (polyester, sigh) drapery fabric. It’s thin, lightweight, and has a sort of striated design woven into it that adds some visual depth. It’s 120″ wide and I bought three yards, which should be plenty, right? I figure that I can make a basic short-sleeved gown and hopefully find some trim to decorate it later. The drapery fabric is very sheer, so I also bought three yards of ivory cotton/poly broadcloth (I know, 100% cotton is always preferable but they didn’t have any and I’m short on time) to line it with.
As another option, I’m going to use a vintage silk dupatta to make a sleeveless open robe to wear with it. I purchased several dupattas and saris a while back and got this one with the express intent of eventually making an open robe out of it, so this seems like the perfect opportunity. The dupatta is larger than usual at 45 x 90″ so even though it’s not enough fabric to make an entire gown I think I can get an open robe out of it if I’m careful with layout.
Wish me luck!