When my gent came home for lunch today, we were able to get a few quick shots in the backyard by the lemon tree.
The fabric I used is a (dare I speak its name) polyester silk blend. I NEVER use polyester in historical sewing, but I decided that due to time and $$ constraints, this would have to do. Blends I generally have no problem with if they have a good hand/drape, the proper crispness if I'm going for a 'silk' look, and if they photograph well (as in, not looking like plastic). My preferred blends if I use them are a silk acetate, or silk cotton.
This one surprised me with how well it worked, but me being the picky type, I still wish I could've used a 100% silk. But I digress....
it's a shot taffeta in a lilac color with black on the cross grain, and has a steely effect. I chose to make the bodice separate from the skirt.
The pattern I based it off of is the Truly Victorian 1845 German Day Dress, which works well for very early 1850-51.
I cut the neckline lower, omitted the reveres, drafted split bell sleeves for it, and left the skirt alone.
Hoops were not worn until around 1855-56, so this has a very fluffy crinoline petticoat underneath.
At Dickens I wore a garibaldi blouse underneath, but left it out for the photos we took. I also made a little detachable fichu collar, to allow the dress a more modest look for daytime and while strolling about the fair.
Otherwise, this is the perfect evening or dinner gown.
The trim is self made from the same fabric, done in the Austrian 'Rosenrusche' style. When the photo viewer opens after you click on an image, right click and 'view image' to see these full size.
Please excuse the sun glare, but it does give an interesting ethereal quality to the images ;-)
With the fichu attached: