adjective:old fashioned, out of style, unfashionable [from French, the past participle of démoder "to go out of fashion," from mode "fashion"].

the concept

1890s evening gown
c.1897 evening dress from the Bowes Museum

the fabric

maroon, gold and black silk/rayon brocade; black satin

the pattern

Bodice: custom draped
Skirt: custom drafted from Hunnisett, Jean. Period Costume for Stage and Screen: Patterns for Women's Dress, 1800-1909. Studio City, NY: Players Press, 1991.

the result

what's on the dvd player?

An Ideal Husband

useful links

John Singer Sargent Virtual Gallery

Vintage Victorian: Guidelines for 1890s Style Attire

Timeline of Costume History: 1890s

Truly Victorian Patterns: History of Victorian Clothing, 1890s


Hunnisett, Jean. Period Costume for Stage and Screen: Patterns for Women's Dress, 1800-1909. Studio City, NY: Players Press, 1991.

Monday, January 10, 2005

It's amazing how LONG it takes to do what seems like a relatively simple task.

On Saturday I finished up the skirt pattern. First, I had to redo my mockup - le sigh! The original is still MIA. Next, I used that to match up the lines of the CF and CB on the bodice with those on the skirt. Then, I redrew my skirt pattern pieces so that everything was perfect. All of this took me about EIGHT HOURS. Why, you may ask? Well, in between myriad distractions, I kept forgetting things like adding hem allowance or side seam allowance to the skirts. I wanted to have a really nice, workable pattern without bits taped on etc. or weird scrawled notes like "+ 3 SA here" (which would just leave me going, "HUH?" when I went to cut it out).

The reason for all the fussing is I've decided to put this sucker on hold (I know, I know -- not another!). I went to the GBACG Costume Clinic on Sunday night that was all about Costume Con, and ended up getting really excited about having something nice to enter into the masquerade.

It will probably be my 1910 Milly Theale dress from Wings of the Dove, but only provided it is done well and truly ahead of time (I'm also planning to wear this to Belmont Stakes on 4/9, which is an even earlier deadline). (Potential Costume Con backups are my 1780s robe a l'anglaise or my 1909 afternoon dress).

Anyway, I vowed to myself that there would be no mad rushes this year to finish things, so in that spirit I'm going to stop working on the 1890s evening dress and start on Milly. When I finish Milly, then I can get back to this. And the evening bodice for my candy cane dress.

Yay for sanity!

posted by démodé 3:52 PM

Wednesday, January 05, 2005


Deep breath.

Okay, so in cleaning the house for New Year's (friends staying over) I somehow managed to lose my mockup/lining. AREAWHNNDNDANRENENKEKDN!!! Looked everywhere for it last night, and it is nowhere to be seen. I'm afraid it might have gotten thrown out by accident. See what happens when you clean? You disturb the piles! Don't disturb the piles! You know what's in them! When things are put "away" you never see them again!

In other aggravating news, I put together a mockup of the skirt. Which will be made of satin and will have stiffening. The mockup is in muslin. I have no $!@@!! idea whether it works or not! Made some adjustments to make the CB panels echo the panels on the bodice; completely forgot to do the same on the front. Made some other adjustments which will necessitate a second mockup.

And I'm out of muslin.

posted by démodé 10:56 AM

Thursday, December 30, 2004

I feel so efficient! Normally I tend to drape/draft/mockup/cut out/make each part of a costume separately -- usually the bodice first, then the sleeves, then the skirt, etc. I decided on this one to work through all of the draping and drafting in one go, so as to streamline my work and save myself the hassle of pulling out the requisite equipment (rulers, cutting table, etc.) multiple times.

As of tonight, I've got all of the top half draped and drafted -- bodice, belt, and sleeves -- and I'm happy to know that that work is done with!

I think I'm going to have the belt as a separate item from the bodice, but then I'm worried about it shifting while dancing. I'd like the bodice to close CF underneath the belt, and the belt to close either CB or on the side, and it seems like that won't work if they're sewn together (?).

For the sleeves, I started with the huge mid-1890s sleeve from Period Costume for Stage & Screen, which I shortened a bit to make it fit this slightly smaller look. I didn't bother with the brocade "tapes" which will control the poufiness a bit; those will come later.

belt frontbelt backsleeve mockup

Tomorrow it's on to the skirt. I'm planning to wear this over the small pad I made for my natural form gown, although I'm wondering whether the small bustle pads were still worn by 1897ish? I'm also contemplating whether I should line the skirt. I will be wearing it over my 1890s petticoat, which has a graduated hem ruffle (higher in the back) that's got cording in it. The satin has some weight to it, so hopefully that will help stiffen the skirt -- any thoughts? If I do line the skirt, what should I line it with?

Questions questions!

posted by démodé 12:54 PM

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

wanting a new evening dress plus time meant that I went so far as starting to drape the bodice for an 1840s dress on Monday (I have fabric in my stash that would work for that). But since I had to run errands downtown today, I went by the Discount Fabrics warehouse and (after fondling too much taffeta) decided to bite the bullet and buy some polyester (shudder) satin. I've just decided that it's just not practical to worry about buying silk for heavyweight satin -- just too darn expensive! And the fabric I found didn't scream "POLYESTER!" at me too egregiously. Let's hope I don't sweat to death in it (half the reason I prefer natural fiber fabrics is they're just so much more comfortable to wear!).

Okay, enough preamble! I've loved this dress for ever-so-long, but have been waiting for the right fabric. I picked up 1 yard of the brocade in Thai Silks' remnant bins about a year ago, so I'm hoping to only need a few more yards for the skirt (at 30" wide, too much of their brocade can get pricey!).

So tonight I draped the bodice:

bodice drapebodice drape

And then made a mockup, which will also serve as the lining -- which is why I've sewn down what will be pleats (rather than darts) in the actual bodice. I'm planning to add an inset out of the black satin, which will close on the side front underneath the main part of the bodice (which I'm thinking should close at the center front waist), and then the "belt" should be separate (?).

bodice mockupbodice mockup

posted by démodé 1:35 AM

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