I'm all about the big sleeves right now. 1890s, 1830s, if there are huge, ridiculous sleeves, I am there.
Right now I'm looking forward to an event in April, the 180th anniversary of the Battle of San Jacinto reenactment, and busting out some 1830s extreme fashion zaniness for the occasion. I'm planning to go pretty high fashion, even though Texas really wasn't high fashion at the time, but I just can't bear the thought of finally having an excuse to do 1830s costuming and just doing some boring dress.
Thankfully, I already have some 1830s undies on my UFO pile. I was experimenting with rope as a stiffener for a corded petticoat, and came up with this thing sometime last year. It hasn't been attached to a waistband yet, and I want to add more rope to the midsection to give it a bit more of a dome shape. The flounced petticoat was made of some leftover eyelet fabric. It's a bit heavy, but I think that once the corded petticoat is finished, it will help achieve the dome shape that I'm after. I may do another petticoat with a bottom flounce, just to add a bit more width to the hem and get that really dramatic 1830s shape that's in all the fashion plates.
I've also been working on this 1830s-ish set of corded stays, based off the Corsets and Crinolines long stays, which are, in turn, based off the 1825 - 1835 long stays in the V&A museum. I feel like I've been working on them for 84 years. This thing never feels like it's going to be truly finished, and I've had some false starts trying to get the cording and stuffing into the channels. I've also had to tear out and redo the stitching on these a couple of times because of miscalculations in the lattice pattern.
At this point, two of the front panels are finished, and one side back panel is finished. I still have to do the other side back panel and the two center back panels. Thankfully, these panels have far less cording on them than the front panels. Then I'll have to add all the cording and trapunto, plus the boning and lacing holes. This entire thing is being done by hand, too, which is a severe pain, but it will be totally worth it in the end, right?
Thankfully, my Regency shifts will do for this outfit, because with all the work needed on the stays and petticoats, I'd hate to have to make a new shift on top of all of that.
Now I just need to decide on a gown. Like I said, I want to go high fashion, but not too high fashion. The big sleeves that I love made a dramatic disappearance in 1836 (though there are still some plates that show large sleeves in 1836), and I want those sleeves! I'm not going to miss my big chance to make big 1830s sleeves!
So, looking through fashion plates, I've come up with a few options. First, this stunning green gown from 1836.
I'm not crazy enough to wear a white gown to a reenactment, but this white dress has some lovely things going on - the double flounce at the hemline, the drapery at the neckline, the big sleeves, it's all quite lovely. In another color, of course.
I like a lot of what is going on in this plate - the cross over front, the chemisette, the big hat and big sleeves. I'm not so sure how keen I am on the weird fern thing happening on the front of the dress, and I don't like the shorter length, either, but this plate is growing on me more and more.
The most likely thing that's going to happen is that I'll take elements from all of the plates I like and make something original. I don't think a lot of work is going to happen on this dress at the moment, since I have a lot of other things that need to be finished before I dive into this project, but it is fun to plan!