Well it’s time for the annual school play again! This year we’re staging My Fair Lady. I won’t be in charge of all the costumes this year. Only the costumes for Eliza Doolittle and the maids’ outfits. We wanted to make the costumes historically accurate and the play is set in around 1915.
This is the first dress I’ve finished. My goal is to use only fabrics from my stash and to not spend much money on the costumes. This dress was made with Butterick 6190, which I bought in a three patterns for five dollar sale at Joann. The silk was from some curtains I took off the windows of a house we bought and flipped about ten years ago, so I was glad to use it up. The lace was left over from another project. And I used a small amount of silk organza I used once for underlining for the sash. The zipper i already had, too. I inserted it by hand, with a prick stitch. I don’t like to see any machine stitching on these vintage style dresses.
I hemmed the skirt and sleeves by hand. Since I cut the main fabric from lined curtains, I just left the lining on when cutting it out. Instant underling! The stitches don’t show at all, since you stitch the hem to the underling only, and not the outside fabric. That’s one reason it’s nice having underlining.
Tres classy for a school play, I’d say! But what the hey. I already had all the fabric and this dress fits me as well, so I can use it for a future costume party if I ever get invited to one!
As you can imagine, being a huge Downton abbey fan, this project really excites me! I’ve sewn a few pieces from this era before, when I costumed The Elephant’s Graveyard but they were all circus costumes. Here were a few dresses from Season one that inspired me… I originally used these beads I had on the bodice overlay, put they were so stiff and crooked looking, I opted for a small piece of crochet lace instead.I added pleats to the sleeves. They were really dowdy looking without them.I chose the version with the slight train and curved front. Therese, who is playing Eliza is almost six feet tall, so I lengthened the dress about four inches. If I ever wear it, I’ll have to hem it. I also self drafted the lace overskirt . I had a limited amount and I also wanted to overlap in the front. The dress isn’t perfect, the hem is a little off and the back pleated sash is a litle taller on one side, but I’m just going to leave it as is since I have a lot more to sew for this play.The look is almost like a Regency dress from the early 1800’s.