Time Travel : Goodbye Old Friend

Ladies and Gentlemen (of which there are likely very few)…

Last weekend I sold a costume I’d made for Halloween some years ago. I had listed it on Etsy and managed to sell it, about which I am very happy! This success spurred me to finally finish up the refurbishments to My Very First Costume, and to list it on Etsy this evening, August 24, 2009, 7:15 pm.
This gown is what started it all. It was made from the Simplicity “Shakespeare in Love” pattern, which I had altered to be more historically accurate (removed the curved bust seams). It was constructed from brown/gold curtain panels I bought at Savers, which in the end turned out to be just as expensive as buying new fabric, and twice as hard to match with complimentary fabrics for the forepart.

I worked very hard and very diligently to render this monster wearable for one of my first faires, up in Novato. I hand-bound the eyelets (well, over a grommet, but they sure look nice still!), made some sleeves (from polyester), even made my own hoopskirt (with the circumferance of the Earth). Here are some extremely frightening photographs of me wearing it, sans Earth-sized farthingale:

It was 115 degrees in Novato this day. Even now I wonder how I remained alive.
The last time I wore it, to Valhalla three years ago. I felt so perdy…then I met the women of Royal White Eagle, and felt pretty no more!

And proudly did I wear it…that is, until nearly passing out from heat exhaustion! I wore this gown once or twice more, but it soon fell into obsolenscence, as my sewing skill improved. When I pulled it out of my skeleton closet a couple months ago, I cringed. Oh, what a piece of crap!

So I undertook to improve it by cutting the bodice point anew, rebinding the edges and making pretty tapes on the interior. I deconstructed the skirt and knife-pleated it back into the waistband, set in a way that allows for the skirt to be worn open or closed. Sitting on the dressform tonight, all pretty and poofed up over my mass o’ petticoats, it actually looked quite nice, and I almost felt a desire to wear it again.

Then again, maybe not. It’s time for Ole’ Bess to GO, and so she, in her much improved state, is up for sale on Etsy. Hopefully someone will buy her, wear her, and love her!


  • The Dreamstress

    August 25, 2009 at 5:24 AM

    Oh, don't be so hard on yourself! It is really cute, and amazingly good for a 1st time historical outfit! Have you seen Kendra's? It's almost as bad as my blue satin and cheescloth 12 years old Victorian!

  • Lauren Stowell

    August 25, 2009 at 4:48 PM

    Oh I'll tell you what's bad about it, LOL:

    the brocade material is backed with some kind of rubber, for blacking out light. This also blocks any air flow, and doesn't go through the sewing machine unless I put a thin layer of non-fusible interfacing down first.

    The inside was shabby. I didn't know about interior finishing at that time, and so things were sortof just stitched on and stitched again. The lining is that ubiquitous polyester lining fabric, with about a million heavy cable ties for bones, adding to the delight of the gown being a sweatbox.

    The skirt was cartridge pleated to the waistband, but I did not turn over the top edge, so it was just raw, and I whipstitched it with bright blue upholestry thread. This was visible.

    There's more, but I'll stop the self-flaggelation, hahaha. The bad craftsmanship is fixed now, as far as I could, but the fabric is still rather warm to wear.

    Isn't it interesting how we become obsessed with the interior of a piece as much as the exterior? At least I have!

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