CoCo Gala Gown Progress!

July 05, 2015

I really wanted to have my 1905 ballgown finished for CoCo. I was so excited to make the dress. But, time and again, the cording that I bought refused to dye. I couldn't figure out why - the fibre content said it was supposed to be a dye-able fibre, it should have been taking color! So, I did a burn test and quickly found the problem...it was polyester. Ugh.

So, with time ticking away, having to order new cording and get the embroidery done before CoCo just looked impossible. I had to switch gears.

A couple of years ago, Kendra posted an 18th Century Court Gown challenge. Everyone was to pick a gown and have it ready for CoCo 2014. It didn't materialize that year, but this year, everyone seems to have found the umph to make their gowns! I had signed on with a Robe à l'allemande, but the original one I picked isn't doable in time. So, I changed my plan, and decided to remake my Tattooed Lady into a court gown! First, I had to make all my underpinnings. I wanted a really large Grand Panier, but it still needed to fold up well enough to fit into a suitcase. I have no idea how I'm going to get this into a suitcase, but it certainly is large!


Instead of drafting the pattern, I used the old Simplicity pattern, which is now out of print. I had bought the thing years ago but never used it, but I am certainly glad I picked it up! It's nearly a match for the diagrams in Corsets & Crinolines, and I don't have to mess with drafting! Huzzah! The Simplicity pattern went together quickly, but I did find the instructions a bit vague in some areas. Still, I got a nice panier out of it!

Once the skirt supports were put together, it was time for a couple of petticoats. Thankfully, 18thC petticoats go together really quickly and easily. And each petticoat took less than a day of work. I made one with a ruffle, and one without.


The silhouette definitely gets wider with each layer!

I was lucky enough to have the 4th off of work, so I took my extra day and did some work on the gown petticoat. I disassembled the skirt for the Tattooed Lady to salvage all the petals, and dug out a roll of black taffeta from the Stash. Taffeta happens to be Pepper kitty's favourite fabric, so naturally he had to inspect it before I could use it.


Once I had the OK from him, I constructed a simple petticoat.


Then, it was time to start applying the petals. The original skirt gave me right around 30 petals, which turned out to only be enough for half of the front of the skirt. o.o


So, I'm now out of taffeta and out of petals. I have everything I need to make more petals, but I am going to have to go shopping for some more taffeta, since I still have the bodice and train to make. Looks like this next week will be petal week!

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