If any of you follow my Pinterest board Costume Lovelies by Others, you'll have noticed that I went on a mad pinning spree the past few days. It was because of this that I came across some really incredible gowns, and some of them linked back to the annual costume competition at Your Wardrobe Unlock'd. I wish I would have known about this competition earlier! Last year's theme included Pomp and Court: 1730-1760, which would have been fantastic to enter in.
But, this year there's an equally fabulous category - Stepped Out of a Painting or Photograph. Here's the description of the category from their website:
Pick a period dress or outfit from a museum or a personal collection,
either an actual garment or a painting or photo of a garment. Recreate
it exactly, or interpret it to suit your figure/coloring/aesthetic,
keeping in mind period fashion sense. You should look like you stepped
out of a painting or a photo from the time. Bonus points for a photo of
the outfit next to the artwork that you are recreating.
My mind, of course, instantly went to the Sophie dress.
I've longed to make this dress for so long. I've even managed to find the perfect fabric for it! There are so many unknowns with this gown, though, and looking back on my notes from when I first started researching the dress, I can only conclude that...I need to do more research. :p
I'm also going to make a new set of stays to wear with this gown. I came across this amazing set on Pinterest, and have been in love with them ever since:
Isn't that fantastic? IT HAS ADJUSTABLE STRAPS! They pin in the front to stay in place, and you know what? They are adjustable straps. I love that so much, I just have to make these stays. Well, something like them anyway. These stays are from 1785-1790, where the Sophie gown is from 1763, so I'd have to do some...well...adjusting. But this solution could totally be used on earlier style stays, and I certainly plan to do it with mine. There's nothing worse than having the straps of your stays fall down and not being able to get them back into position after you're fully dressed. x.x Also, I'd probably end up making them front-lacing stays instead of just being adjustable for fit in the front. (So much adjustability, it's so fabulous!) Dressing myself, front lacing stays are just so much easier to get into.
Thankfully, I have until February of next year to complete this gown, which is good because I'm planning to make as much of it as possible by hand, and I'll need to make a whole new set of undies. (I currently use my Elizabethan stays for all my 18thC stuff, so I definitely need new stays, plus a chemise and some panniers the right size for the 1760s.) There are some huge questions about construction with this gown, like, how is the bodice constructed, what does the petticoat look like, things like that. I'll be sure to share any findings on this blog, so stay tuned. :)