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Many years ago I found a tiny fashion plate of this very dramatic Natural Form dress.
I was instantly hooked on it, and as I have had some nice black velvet in my stash for quite as many years, I have wanted to make this dress for a long time.
Last year the annual “Wave Gothic Treffen” in Leipzig gave me the perfect opportunity to finally tackle this project.
Having already gotten some black taffeta a couple of years before, I had everything in my stash. I only had to get some more hat wire and black cotton as backing/lining fabric.
I wanted to stay as close as possible to the fashion plate, but still be able to bring in my own interpretations and stash busting options.
So instead of the fringe trim I used some nice glittery tulle.
It was also clear to me that I would probably have to make a few changes to the skirt proportions, as I’m shorter than the idealized fashion plate model, and I wanted to be able to walk.
Also the hat, as it is hard to guess how it really is made in the fashion plate. It's very freely created, just matching the dress.
The basic skirt is a Fantail Skirt pattern from “Fashions of the Gilded Age”, with some minor adaptions. It ties tight in the back and creates a wonderful slim silhouette.
The bottom taffeta trim is hand pleated and I cut the white cotton lace myself (you can see some peeking out in the fashion plate) as it was still in one piece in my stash.
The overskirt is mostly draped on the dress form. The construction of the skirt layers was a bit challenging due to the look and fabric limitations, but I’m really happy with the final result. My dress diary tells more about it.
I added a dust ruffle to the train, which helps it to hold the fan shape.
The train also has a bustle option for bad weather or wet ground.
For the bodice I made a new pattern. It’s a modern one adapted for the historical look.
As closure I choose hook and eye tape, as no buttons can be really seen on the fashion plate. The glitter tulle and taffeta ruffles on the collar gave me a bit of a headache, as they didn’t fall and look as nicely as they should, but in the end I somehow got them fixed. The bodice hem is made with velvet piping and bones are added to almost all seams and darts.
To complete the outfit I made the hat, a purse and a pair of fingerless gloves. Also to prevent myself from cold weather, I made a simple black dolman to be worn over it.