Dragonfly Designs by Alisa



1912 Dress

1912 Champagne Dress

Wow, it’s been an age since I worked on a new costume! But my library workplace had a Downton Abbey Celebration, and I did a 20min presentation on post-Victorian undergarments called “What Did They Wear Under There?” I did make a 1912 dress before (which I completely love) but I’ve since gained a few pounds, and it doesn’t fit. Rather than go on a diet (I also love my new weight) I decided to make a new dress – especially since I’ve long had this wonderful beaded vintage sari that I wanted to repurpose.



It was also a happy accident that I had the perfect matching faile/bengaline laying around.


PLUS…it was chance to wear a tiara!



On me, the skirt is a wee bit longer, so that I have a tiny sweep of a train behind.



The thing that I love about using vintage saris in historical costuming, is because they give the whole outfit a vintage feel…as if it’s actually a real 1912 dress instead of one I made!




1912 Reproduction Gown

Costume Con 30

I love this dress.  I really, really LOVE this dress.  It’s so lovely to wear.  I felt just so regal and pretty in it!

I did have a slight wardrobe malfunction though.  I own two pairs of cream t-strap shoes, and when I was packing for this con, I accidentally packed two right shoes…one from each pair.  And I did not discover this until I was trying to put them on my feet.  GAH.  Luckily, I had my cream Tenth Doctor boots with me, so I wore those instead, and since the skirt was so long, they didn’t show…much.

And now, a video of the dress in motion:

Sigh.  I just want to wear this dress again.  For a first foray into Edwardian dress-making, I think it could hardly have gone any better.  Usually I’m at least a little unhappy with *something* about a costume I’ve made (I can always see room for improvement) but this one…this one feels just right.  And that makes me happy!

Hair 5/10/12

I have short hair, generally, and when I do have long hair, I’m not one of those girls who can do fabulous updo styles.  I’m all thumbs when it comes to hair.  So I always use wigs for costumes, whenever possible.

In this case, I couldn’t find a wig pre-styled in anything that looked 1912-ish.  So I was forced to get a long haired wig, and style my own.  I looked at a ton of youtube videos, until I finally found one that seemed easy enough for me, and period-appropriate.  This:

I left hair hanging around the face, because I think it will be easier to pin those sections up into place when I’m actually wearing the wig.  And I also tied a bit of gold netting around to simulate the Edwardian penchant for headbands. 

Side view:

Now if it will just survive in my luggage!  Costume Con in Tempe, here I come!

Finished! 4/5/12

Well, almost finished.  I still need to sew the snaps into the back, and I’m thinking about doing a beaded fringe/tassel on the ends of the hanging trim. 

I’m quite pleased with it.  I don’t have the proper undergarments (and no time to make them right now) so I’m just wearing it with my regular Victorian corset.  And since I didn’t have time for a lovely princess slip, I just lined it with satin.  So, not entirely correct in its undermost layers!  This has definitely whetted my appetite for the Edwardian period – I want to make lots more of their gorgeous clothing!

I’ll be wearing this to Costume Con in May.  Then I’ll have pics of me inside it.  🙂

Progress 3/29/12

I’m ALMOST done!  Today I got the skirts hemmed, and one half of the chiffon sleeve mostly done…plus some more of the trim hand-sewn down.  This is proving to be a more time consuming project than I anticipated…simple because I’m doing a LOT of hand sewing.  I like hand sewing, so that’s okay…but I do need to get this finished.  I need this one done and one other finished before Costume Con in May.

Pictures!  It has been a monsoon outside today, so I couldn’t pose my dummy outside in the good light and get decent pics for you.  Instead, here’s a few peeks at what I’ve done:

The chiffon has been dyed, as you can see, and attached.  I ended up going lighter in shade than the inspiration dress, because (while I used the thinnest silk chiffon I could find) it’s still obviously heavier than the chiffon the inspiration dress used.  In the darker shade, you couldn’t see any hint of the cream silk underneath – and I like the semi-transparent look.  It’s more delicate.  I used RIT dye, one teaspoon Fuschia to one fourth teaspoon Tangerine in barely enough water to cover the fabric for the darker shade.  For this pale color, I left the fabric in the dye maybe two minutes, and added more water to the container.

The back and train (pre-hem.)  I just love how delicate and ethereal it looks!

And a sneak peek at the chiffon sleeve:

You can’t tell in the pic, because of the lighting, but the sleeve is a darker shade of chiffon.  Not quite as dark as the inspiration dress, but close.  It gives a lovely effect when the two colors mingle together in the train!

A day or so of work, and this will be done!  I just need to finish the sleeves, sew down a bit more trim, add beaded dangles to the long hanging trim panels, and install the buttons and hooks to the back of the dress.

Bodice and trim 3/18/12

Here’s a pic of the bodice, with front lace insert:

It’s lined with a faux shantung, with a faux silk outer – the outer silk is overlaid with gold netting.

Bodice with the trim (mostly) attached.  I’ve been sick with the latest Library Cold the last few days, so it’s good I have some hand sewing that needed to be done.  I don’t have enough energy to tackle the sewing machine….

I’m also working on the long panels of trim that hang down the front and back of the gown.  I sewed gold net over more of the faux silk, then hand-sewed the trim down its length.  I have the two back panels done; still have to sew together the front ones.

Closeup of the trim with silk and net underlay:

I have about 1/2 of the silk chiffon dyed (enough for the skirt, I still have to dye the sleeve panels a darker rose) and the skirt panels cut and ready to sew.  The rest of this gown should go together pretty quickly…if I ever feel up to tackling it!  Curse you, workplace germs!!!!

Inspiration pictures

This is an extant dress, from 1912.  I’m not going to re-make it *exactly* – for one thing, I’m not doing the embroidery like that – but my dress is going to be very close.

I have the materials, but I need to dye the silk chiffon.

I have been completely obsessed by the story of the Titanic ever since I was a teenager and first heard of it.  This is going to be my 100th Anniversary dress.

Create a free website or blog at

Up ↑