Searching for that Dream Dress

That Special Something

Every dressmaker, tailor, or just anyone who has ever learned how to make clothes for themselves or even just people who really care about the clothes they put on their body has that one garment that they dream of.

The more I got into historical dressmaking, I went through many iterations of this perfect dress. Most do, the more that you research, the better things you come across and the more you want to strive for that piece of perfection.

The earliest I can remember admiring and wanting a gown for myself was the dark emerald dress from Interview with the Vampire. The one Madeleine wears with Claudia. It is a Victorian Bustle dress and if you have been following my blog, I mention this obsession with Victorian Era dressmaking. I attempted to make a version of this dress with Truly Victorian patterns and wore it to the Steampunk Convention, Gaslight in San Diego.

The blue dress of Claudia (Kirsten Dunst) in the movie Interview with a  vampire | Spotern
Interview with the Vampire screen capture

It had problems but at the end of the day I had learned alot about what I wanted and the direction I wanted to take my dressmaking in.

After this I had my eye on a robe a la francaise or a sacque gown. It is distinctive because of the box pleats at the back. It was like wearing a cape without having to wear a cape. I first saw it in the movie, Marie Antoinette. I fell in love with the color pallet and silhouette. I bought the Simplicity pattern that was a collaboration with American Duchess. As well as the under garments. I still haven’t even broken the tissue out of the envelope.

Marie Antoinette - The Wedding - Historical Fashion & Costuming Photo  (32094832) - Fanpop
Marie Antoinette screen capture

The Height of Fashion

As I’ve come across more and more interesting YouTubers, Bloggers and professional reproduction companies, I’ve realized that I never had a specific dress that really made me feel like I could work on for more than a month. In particular, I started to envy Cathy Hay for her years long obsession with the Peacock Dress by Worth. I dived deep into all the different Worth dresses out there and they were all beautiful but none of them truly inspired me.

Lady Curzon's orchid dress side, back, and front quarter views | Grand  Ladies | gogm
Lady Curzon’s Orchid Dress c Tumbrel Diaries

So I went on to other lovely dresses and am unfortunately still on the hunt. I am partial towards the Orchid Dress by Worth but I just don’t think I could deal with the long train. The embroidery is beyond my budget and so it remains a dream dress for the future but I still don’t think I could reproduce it accurately nor would I want to. I just think my tastes are very different. I don’t like the sleeves either but I believe that a ‘dream dress’ should be perfect in every way according to myself.

Experience versus Reality

I believe that I am still an amateur dressmaker because I just haven’t been able to produce something that I truly feel is beautiful. When I wear what I’ve made, I can say that I am proud of it. I’m getting closer and closer to that feeling every time I complete a project. I am almost done with a robe ala anglais that I feel has taken me to the next level in my skills.

This is before I started working on this dress again.

This project has also been a long time UFO (Unfinished Object) of mine. Only recently have I had the motivation to finish this dress because I want to wear it to the renaissance festival. I could have cut corners on the lacing eyelets but this is a focal point of the dress and I didn’t want to end up with metal grommets just because I was on a time crunch. The amount of time and effort I put into this dress made it where I think this dress is the best I’ve made so far. There are fit problems and of course I messed up on setting the sleeves but ultimate these are things that I see when I wear the dress and I’ll fix them eventually. That’s the good part about learning how to make clothing, you can fix the problems yourself.

And this is after I made massive changes. And is also a test fit.

Is it my dream dress? I didn’t set out for this to be a dress that I feel like makes my collection complete. I do believe that it is something that I am proud to wear and something that I can’t get out of my head. I love so many aspects of this dress but it’s not a ‘dream dress’ of mine. It’s not based on a dress I’ve seen in a movie or on something that I’ve lusted after.

The Search Continues

So yes, I will say that I will continue to admire others and their passion for a single garment that they wish to own and wear. I will be searching for that something special that I want to labor over, pour money into and generally take my time with. Until then, I will keep on the hunt for more interesting garments to lust after.


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