My next project that I have currently brewing is a civil war dress! I am determined to finish this one, unlike the last on I created and left in to die in the "to finish" pile. When I created that dress, I got so caught up in making a historical costume and choosing different fabrics and trims that I lost focus on making it true to the era. (Just because a cotton fabric line says "civil war collection" doesn't mean that all of the fabric choices would be suitable for a dress.) Another element that I over looked was the fact that I didn't have proper undergarments that are essential in creating the appropriate silhouette. I was just going to wear a modern bra and a puffy petticoat, not realizing that a chemise, corset, drawers, hoop skirt and petticoats were necessary for my costume.
In created my civil war costume, I wanted to start on the essentials because they will change the fit of the dress and I want to do an excellent fitting job. The fit of a costume is super important to me. Since I have already made my chemise, the next item is to create my corset. I already created a corset mock up using a tutorial about pattern 9769 from simplicity.
The only thing about that particular corset tutorial is that she shows the corset back cinched all the way, edges touching, which is historically incorrect. A properly fitting corset should have about 2 inches of space between the laces. That way you have more movement and it can fluctuate with your body.
(My dress form doesn't have wide enough shoulder to support the chemise, so I temporarily added some foam. The chemise fits me perfectly, just off the shoulders)
My experience in making ballet bodices has helped me a whole lot in understanding how a corset works and is assembled. My fabrics and supplies for my corset are waiting for me whenever I get a chance to sew, which unfortunately will be a while. Since I go to school 2 1/2 hours away from home, it is difficult to fit in a time to go home and sew. Even if I do get a weekend off, my time will be divided between my job as the costume designer and manager for a ballet studio and spending time with my family.
Any way, so now onto the design I have in mind for my dress. I found the perfect pattern from abrahamslady.com.
I have extra broad shoulders in proportion to my waist size, so I usually widen the shoulder width of a pattern. I will keep you updated on how that works out with this pattern. Since I went over the top crazy on my fabric choice and trims on my previous failed dress, a simpler design and fabric choice appealed to me. For my fabric I chose a green plaid from Joanns in the homespun collection.
I wanted the feel of the dress to be more casual but I will use evergreen accents in a cuff detail and in contrasting buttons.