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Challenge #4 – Embellish!

The brief for this challenge – “Decorations make the historical garment glorious. Whether you use embroidery, trim, pleating, lace, buttons, bows, applique, quilting, jewels, fringe, or any other form of embellishment, this challenge is all about decorative detail.”

While this may be true, it’s not something that comes easily to me. I have fairly bad eyes and they get pretty sore when doing close work for too long. Even just sewing hooks and eyes on can give me a headache if I don’t have good enough light! So I have decided to be a bit cheeky about this one and use fabric that already has embellishments built in. And what better fabric to use than sari fabric? I got a great deal, two sari’s for $50 while on a recent trip to Hamilton. (The sari shop also had some gorgeous jewellery but I managed to drag myself out before I got the chance to max out my credit card!).

So I am using this challenge to knock off two birds with one stone – complete the challenge AND get another piece ticked off my to do list – by creating an Edwardian evening gown. Given my fabric it will definitely be Poiret/Orientalist inspired wear. I will try do a post in more depth about Poiret and his revolutionary gowns. One of the things he was famous for was declaring war on the corset but I fear that I will need to be historically inacurate and wear mine if I’m to look at all presentable in one of his creations!

One of my biggest inspirations is Lady Sybil’s gorgeous harem pant outfit! I love the colours and the flow of the pant.

It is interesting as I think it you can see its heritage in this House of Worth creation from 1870.

To me, though the two are a good 40 years apart the seem very similar pieces that each reflect the time period they were worn in. The Victorian gown may have been daring in its use of pants but it definitely conforms to the lines of the period – the large bust, small waist and voluminous hips that you find in many day to day items. The Downton Abbey piece similarly demonstrates the fashion trends, moving away from the rigidity of the S-shaped corset and into the straighter/flatter lines of the 1920s.

I think my design will incorporate the harem pant with an overrobe similar to the below dress (again another Worth!) circa 1910.


What do you think? And does anyone have good tips for sewing chiffon? I’ve heard it can be a bit of a nightmare and I’d like to avoid any amateur mistakes!


About aftermartha

I'm 21 years old and live in Auckland, New Zealand and I have a confession, I absolutely love costumes!

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