With the release of the new Jane Eyre film this month, I thought it would be fun to share this lil’ dress project I did a few years ago, but didn’t actually get an opportunity to wear it until Dec ’09:
|Me, Dec 2009, in my Laughing Moon Round Gown|
This dress is the product of a pattern test I did for a lovely lady in Sacramento. She has her own line of costume patterns, Laughing Moon, and a shop in Old Town Sacramento. I had the wonderful opportunity to sign up and try out the pattern before it was published for the masses. A style know as the Round Gown. She sent an unpublished copy, and I had to make the dress according to the pattern & directions, step by step, to review and ensure the process was clear and highlight any errors/typos in print or wording, ect.
This was a worthwhile experience in more ways than one. Not only did I create a dress, but I was a contributor to the creation of a historical pattern, and a GREAT one at that! It can be purchased here.
But my favorite part, the icing on the cake, was finding a way to actually like dressing up in this particular silhouette in history.
|Women's fashion plate from 1844.|
But frankly, women’s fashions from the mid-19th century scare the shit out of me. I would not willingly choose this silhouette or even this Laughing Moon round gown to make for myself. Perhaps it’s those severe center-part hairstyles and bonnets, or the confining drop-shoulder bodices? Or just the fact that all the women look so …sad?
We all have era’s of time we are attracted to for different reasons. That’s why civil war reenactments, Dicken’s and Renaissance faires exist, right? As much as I love costuming, these time periods have always been my least-favorite eras of fashion. Judging by the images of women in these periods of time, it does not look fun or pretty to me. (Such as the Tudor (left) and Elizabethan (right) ladies below)
|FIERCE: Note the tight leather gloves and what looks like a hand-rolled cigarette. |
My kinda mid-19th century gal!
What a perfect blend of beauty, scandal, and mental illness! I found her story and images very inspiring. Lola Montez: "Special friend" to writers Franz Liszt and Alexandre Dumas, Mistress to a German King, dark and dramatic, known for her “Spider Dance”, SHE is the original vamp! The song “Whatever Lola Wants” was written just for her! This broad knew how to LIVE!
I was VERY happy with the end result! So early California!
|Me, Dec 2009: Dicken's Faire @ The Cow Palace, San Francisco.|
(yes, that is sawdust on the hem of my dress...classy!)
And that’s how I was able to inspire myself to sport an 1840-50’s round gown!
By looking to the American West and going outside the Jane Eyre/Dicken’s/European history, I was able to have the mid-19th century “talk to me” in a different way.
Perhaps, one day, I can have that same experience with the Tudor/Elizabethan fashions. Until then, I can remain content in knowing the Mid-19th Century ain’t so scary anymore.
-Kathleen, In Oakland