Well, it’s not an exact reproduction – but it’s definitely inspired by Happiness!
This was constructed for the character of Cinderella in a local production of ‘Into the Woods’. Rather than go traditional Renaissance-esque fairy tale, I decided to set my upper classes in a vaguely Edwardian/Victorian look. I’ve always LOVED the Lucile ‘Happiness’ dress, designed by Lady Duff-Gordon, and thought it would make a great “ball gown” for Cinderella.
Done in silver silk duiponi with applied gold lace, old-gold embroidered polyester, sheer gold net lace, and gold Venise lace trim. Lavender silk duiponi for the cummerbund. The silver skirt and net bodice are removable, so the gold underdress can be used for a cute little 50′s-esque dress by itself. If I can get my pinking sheers to work, I’d like to add a layer of self-fabric pleated trim around the silver skirt to give it a little more texture – but my pinking shears are just eating through the silk. Don’t know if it’s because they’re crappy pinking shears (probably) or if they just don’t like the silk.
The net was surprisingly easy to work with, and I was super glad I had enough that I could make good use of the scalloped edge for the front of the bodice.
One of the schools I work for is doing a production of JB Priestly’s ‘An Inspector Calls’ in February, and our stock of Edwardian fashion is… non-existent. Since the cast is small, we decided to build the women’s dresses – which means two evening dresses and a maid’s outfit. Exciting!
This week, I’ve been working on the toile for Sheila, the daughter – the unbleached muslin will be a heavy peachy-pink satin. The light blue is a sheer pink chiffon, and the white is the pink chiffon with a lace net overlay:
Looks simple, right? Well, let’s break it down. That white overlay will hook directly to the dress. Let’s take that off:
One that is unhooked, then we need to unhook the overskirt (the blue, here – it will be a sheer chiffon on the actual dress:
The front bodice panel will open like so, to reveal an underbodice which closes with hooks and eyes. The skirt has a center front opening which will close flush with snaps, which the overskirt hides.
That’s an awful lot of closures! For such simple looking little dresses, these Edwardian frocks are complicated to get in and out of!
Now that we have our first summer show up and running, I get to concentrate on the second summer show – which goes into first dress rehearsal tomorrow! Yikes!
The same actress who wore this dress will be in play #2, in a smaller role. She’s playing a tightly-wound British secretary – I envisioned her in a tweedy skirt and white blouse. The problem: my actress is allergic to wool!
I found this fabric at JoAnn’s – 100% acrylic, but it “reads” as wool. I needed to turn the skirt around fast, and didn’t have time to futz around with toiles or new patterns. So – I grabbed the skirt pattern from McCall’s 7345, and made it into a standalone skirt. It worked like a charm!
I bet the top would make a super cute blouse, too…. Hmmm…..
Well, our play opens tonight – which means that all of my toiles have been turned into garments, and everything is fit and ready to go! Now I get to play catchup and post some fun things.
This dress ended up being my absolute favorite – the combination of the dress design and the fabric made it the perfect little 1930′s day dress. My post about the toile is here – here’s the finished product!
A few notes: the dress was done using a combination of vintage techniques, theatre techniques, and modern sewing techniques. A colleague showed me a super easy way to do machine rolled hems on chiffon last year, so the sleeves are machine hemmed. The skirt is hand-hemmed using hem tape (I love hem tape!). All internal pieces are serged around the edges and then stitched, for durability and to give us the option to alter at a later date for another production.
Unfortunately, the pleats at the front and back don’t show up well in the chiffon – but it’s still super cute!
More images at my blog!