Saturday, January 7, 2012

1912 Evening Gown 1

The design for my gown has finally culminated!  I spent a lot of time looking through the original designs and finally came up with something about a week ago.  I still like it, so I suppose it's a winner!  I know there are tons of people making 1912 gowns this year and looking for advice/information.  So, I've promised myself (and now you) that I will try to post every detail of my process this time.
First, the design:

It's a combination of the two gowns in the middles from La Bibliotheque des Arts Décoratifs:

The next question was what to use for fabric.  I already know the middle layer, since the whole thing is really based around the peach sari I mentioned in my last post.  I decided on silk chiffon for the top and silk charmeuse for the base.  I figured these would give me the proper drape.
The fashion plates I've found have mentioned charmeuse, satin, mousseline, lace, net, velvet, voile, and chiffon. In colors like white, vanilla, cream, praline, rose, cherry, citron, blue, raspberry, green-gold, pearl-grey, turquoise, and black.  Many are embroidered or beaded in gold or matching tones (some with soutache), some have sequins, some have gold lace.  Edges are decorated with tassles, fringe, fur, or rosettes.
I'm going to be purchasing my fabrics from Decorative International Silks (which is the usual for me).  They have a salmon charmeuse which is just the right tone.  I still need to order the chiffon swatch book to decide on the color for that, though.
The bottom edge of the sari should be trimmed in Zibeline (Sable), but I can't possibly afford that!  I did find a store on ebay selling rabbit fur cording, available in a dark brown.  I'd rather have something a little more smooth coated, but it's a practical option for now.  I can't easily use faux fur since it's such a small strip and a fabric base would unravel without finishing the edges (not easy).
I'm not sure what the neck chains will be, I have to do more research on that.  Possibly pearls, beads, or rhinestones.  Same goes with whatever I use to hold back the chiffon at the hip.  I'm not big on fake flowers, so I'm looking for alternatives.

The next question is "How in the world is this thing put together??".  Frankly, I really don't know.  My previous gown was of slightly earlier style and used a boned bodice to anchor everything and keep the stiffer shape.  I would think there would have to be some sort of structure like this so the gown doesn't pull down on the bodice (that "sagginess" on top would allow the high waist to drift down).  But how structured?  And does it need to cover the bosom, or could it be more of a waist cincher?  Most of the images have a tube-top look as a base or a very wide sash.  Looking at photographs of women in gowns of this style doesn't give a definitive answer either.  Some look to have a hard shell, others a snug tube, some clearly have nothing holding them in.

Original garments don't help much either, since I can't root around in them.  Some would very easily have a structured, or at least stiff, bodice to hold them together.
 Worth 1910 Gown which is probably the only early style I'm considering scraping my whole design for.  It looks like it could easily be bodiced like my earlier style.  I bet I'd have enough fabric for both.....*slaps hand*

Paul Poiret 1910-11 Gown.  This might be one of the earliest style to go without a structured bodice, being a Poiret.  But, I would think something would have to hold up that waist seam.  Especially over the smooth figure corset most women still wore.

Callot Soeurs 1915-16 Gown.  Maybe bodiced, but when you zoom in you can actually see a color difference between the center front line (what appears to be a seam) and the slightly darker tones to the side of it under the lace, showing the black mannequin through the sheer layers!  This bodice would have to be out of the chiffon, which wouldn't provide support for the gown at all.  Yet, the satin appears to have soft pleats at the waist which would strain without support of some kind around the waist area.

1909-11 Dress. Another case where it really doesn't appear to have any stiffness around the bust, but the top blouses out nicely.

Weeks 1913-14 Afternoon Dress.  I can't tell if it's the velvet sash giving the flat gown some fullness or if there might be something thicker inside.

Jean Hallée 1913-14 Gown.  It's almost infuriating how close they come to showing you the interior with the shot of the tag.  Clearly the ivory satin seen under the lace continues all the way around the body.  Whether it had structure or was just snug I don't know.

So, I will continue my search for gowns.  Hopefully finding some interior shots of this style.  In the mean time, I've ordered a La Mode Illustrée pattern from 1913 in hopes that it might give me a bit more insight.  These are two of the gowns in the pattern:
 They have the loose, draping bodice I'm looking to understand.  The one on the left has no waistband or sash to hide structure in.  They both have multiple layering of draped skirts as well.
I've also gleefully signed up to do the Vintage Fashion Libraries 1912 pattern review.  So, there will be a 1912 garment every month this year for me to post about!


Laurie said...

I'm so excited to see these posts! I read it at least twice, but I did not see a source for the patterns you ordered? Are you willing to share your pattern supplier?

I also can't wait to see the 1912 Vintage Fashion Libraries results. I've bought patterns from them in the past.



ColeV said...

Laurie- Added! It was an ebay find (I just forgot to say that). I have to wait on them to come from France though!

Lindsey said...

I love the design! I'm sure it will look stunning! Can't wait to see the progress. :)

Caroline said...

Ooo I can't wait to see how you go about making it! A 1912 is on my list too this year, and I have no previous experience sewing from that era. I'm a little daunted...

You're design looks beautiful by the way!

Paula said...

Nice design. I can't wait to see it progress :)
Arnold's Patterns of Fashion 2 show some of the inner structures of similar gowns. The evening dress from 1909-10 is a bit bloused and has a satin underbodice with boning to under bust. The 1911-2 day dress which is also very blousy has an underbodice too, this time of cotton and it is also boned at the waist. 1913-14 afternoon dress, blousy with a wide sash, satin underbodice boned at the waist.
So judging on those three dresses I would make an underbodice on which to mount bodice.

Isis said...

Lovely design!

Many years ago I was lent an evening gown from 1914 and it was made out of wool muslin, the sheerest wool I have ever encountered and a dream to wear and it draped beautifully. Pale grey with accents in violet velvet and satin. It was completely unboned- you pulled it over your head and with button in the back.

Isis said...

Err, I meant 1912...

ColeV said...

Paula- My last gown was made on the JA 1909-10 pattern. Unfortunately all three of the examples she has are more "traditional" in style and would be worn by ladies still in corsets. No Poirets there! I've found interiors of a few gowns I'll be posting next that all have nothing more than waist tapes for a base!

Isis- Oh, to have fabrics like they used to. Especially wool!

Anonymous said...

I don't know of how much use it would be to you, as it doesn't always work, but I have previously had some luck with e-mailing museums and asking them about specific pieces. Often times they have sent me additional photos not posted online, and a more detailed description. So that could be another option. Sometimes it works, sometimes you're left in limbo--but it's worth a shot.

Best of luck!


Anonymous said...

I also wanted to add to that, I've heard amazing things about LACMA's research center, though I've never managed to make it there. It's called the "Doris Stein Research Center for Costume and Textiles."


vintagevisions27 said...

I love the color combo of the Jean Hallée 1913-14 gown! I've been thinking about creating a 1912 era gown as well. My dress for senior prom in high school was a version of the "jump dress" from the movie Titanic. My mom used the Simplicity pattern so it wasn't the most historically correct dress but still had the right look. If I make the gown I'll have to find an event near by to wear it to!

Lauren said...

WOW! These are so gorgeous! Your project is going to be amazing!

Anonymous said...

HI, I am connected to the Greater Bay Area Costumers Guild who is sponsoring a Titanic Dinner in April, and 1912 dress is required. The website has some great information on the page for the event, including your blog. There is also this link to an article by Bridget Conlogue which you might find interesting because of the discussion about bodice interiors and the type of fabrication this author has learned about through her research of period pieces. Your gown sounds gorgeous - I envy the ability to sew so well!!

Waiting said...

I am so excited to find like-minded people! I am hoping to make an Edwardian wedding dress (someday). I am really pleased to see your design (beautiful!0 and the inspiration pictures. Keep us posted on your progress.

crafty lady said...

I'm curious as to where the 3rd photograph came from. This one:

I made a version of it for my Titanic dinner and just wondered if it was an actress, etc?

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Cris said...
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