Monday, April 20, 2009

Unexpected New Project!

For a few weeks, I've been lamenting the fact that, because of my recent weight-loss, all my current Civil War era dresses will be a bit too large, and I haven't been sure what I'm going to wear to Naper Settlement's Civil War Days this year.

That changed, thanks to my best friend and costuming guru, Brian Dykstra of Kaufmann's Emporium.

Brian and I met in 2003 when we both went through BAPA (Bristol Academy of Performing Arts) for Renaissance Faire. We've been family ever since. He and Rick run a superior Civil War sutlery, and I have learned a helluva lot from him about this period of clothing. I was at their house this weekend for a seder and was bemoaning my state when I noticed a sheer dress that seemed to have made its way back into his stock. The "Crayon Dress", so nicknamed for the bright primary-color plaid weave of the cotton.

I looked at it, looked at him, and said: "Is this promised to anyone?"

Brian: Unfortunately not; that dress has been pulled apart and remade three times, and it just keeps coming back to us.

Me: Wanna go for one more?

Brian: You want it?

Me: Yup.

It was that easy. Now, I get to pull it apart myself and remake it; the bodice will be separated from the skirt and the back section of the skirt will get cartridge pleats to take up the extra bulk. The sleeves will come off and the double puffs will get lightly stuffed; the bodice will be pulled apart, getting a gather at the center back waist and a pin-tucked, crossover front, a la this original I recently found and fell in love with:

I haven't seen a lot of repros done like this, so I'm excited to take it on. I'll post pics when I get to work; I have to make myself a new corset first (boo!).

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