(If you have time, click on the link and view the information video on meningococcal disease. Having this knowledge could save a life...)
As usual I had about a zillion ideas for a dress. Was so so sorely tempted to make a completely brand new gown. In fact originally I had every intention of making a whole new ballgown for this event. This was a very enticing thought, there's nothing I like more than delving into the glamour of the eveningwear section of the fabric store... but I confess not an very eco friendly option really (sigh) After much enjoyable fantasising about such nautical fabulousness as mermaid-like dresses or dresses looking like a breaking ocean wave (I had visions of a turquoise sheath, with a frothy white lower skirt section to represent the surf), eventually I directed my thoughts to my collection of evening gowns already sitting in my wardrobe, and working with something I already had. Last year's gown had possibilities; this is what it looked like last year...
I decided to re-work this gown and be a Red Emperor, as in, the fish...hehe. In the end, of course, the gown was almost completely re-constructed and is pretty much a new dress.
I removed the red velvet bodice and silk midriff section, and made a new red silk skirt to go over the old lining/petticoat with its attached grand silk flounce around the bottom. Then re-attached the midriff and bodice. I thought this would be OK, but unfortunately the red velvet just looked wrong on top of the dress, otherwise composed entirely of red silk. So I unpicked that off of the midriff section and away from the zip, un-picked and kept the red velvet ribbon shoulder straps to re-use, and made a new bodice, out of the pieces of red silk left over from cutting out the new skirt.
All the un-picking and re-sewing together of seams took ages, about five days. All the skirt sections are hand-hemmed, and I estimated there is between five and six metres of hem altogether in this dress. (Later edit; I just measured, 8.5m!) Luckily, I already done the lower skirt and petticoat last year....!
The new parts are: the wrap-over upper skirt and the bodice. The old, re-used parts of the dress are: the lining/petticoat with the lower silk flounce, the midriff section, the velvet ribbon shoulder straps, and the invisible zip. Yes, I re-used the ZIP! I think I'm most proud of that part of the whole she-bang, silly as it sounds.
If you look really closely enough, under a strong light, you can see that the lower flounce and the midriff section are a different shade of red than the upper skirt and the bodice... from floor up the fabrics sections are old, new, old, new but meh. I think they are close enough to be good enough. Also the different shades are divided up over the dress, so it still looks OK.
So when I had finally finished, I had a kinda new red dress that I am completely thrilled with, even more than last year's version I think!
But even though it was "red" and sort of "royal", fitting in with my plan to be a Red Emperor, it didn't scream "nautical" by any stretch of the imagination. So I gathered a few fishy accessories; the fishing net to be my stole, and I also bought a few lures and a bit of fishing cord from the fishing store to make some jewellery.
So sufficiently nautical, yes?
And when I came out to show the children my costume and asked them what they thought I was, Sam immediately said, "the catch of the day?"
And I wondered if that was a better title than my Red Emperor idea...
Dress; based on Butterick 4657, petticoat and lower skirt of my own design. Originally looked like this, and my other dress using this same pattern here
Gloves; Vogue 7949, red jersey knit, my review of this pattern here
Stole; fishing net
Jewellery; made by me from fishing lures...
Shoes; Raymond Castle. These are my oldest shoes, I've had them since I was about 19...! :D
a side view...
a back view...