Wednesday, February 15, 2012

1912 Dinner Gown | Mock-up

I know I promised pictures of the corset, and they will be coming soon. I just need to take them first! :) The corset needed a good washing to get out the markings from the boning casings, and it took me a while to actually bring it upstairs and put it in the washer and hit start. Because that's just so much work, as you know. *winks*

While waiting for our new dryer to arrive (the old one broke) so I could shrink my chemise and petticoat fabric, I started the mock-up of the Titanic gown I'm making. It's based off of Sybil's blue dinner gown (when the Crawley's first come to Downton) from Downton Abbey. I still haven't gotten the fabric for it yet (anyone want to come to Vogue Fabrics with me??), but it will be made of silk, with a lace overlay and a heavily beaded waistband (dreading that part ever so slightly).

I was too lazy to look at all the patterns and find something that I could tweak to make it work, so I decided to do the shorter route (ahem) of mock-up-ing from scratch. *cough* Call me weird. I deserve it. Thankfully it is a very simple design, though I had to check with the seamstress-extraordinaire (a.k.a Lily) about the bodice fitting. From the screen caps, it is very hard to tell how it is fitted, but we went with darts.

If you haven't seen Downton Abbey, and would like to see photos of the real dress, you can look at the photos on my Pinterest Board. It's lightly printed blue dress, with very light overlay-shawl thingy with sleeves and a waistband. You'll see it. :)

Sybil's looks like it has a train that is bustled up in the back. I opted out of the train because I want to be able to dance in this dress with ease, and not with a bunch of material hanging down my back. :) The way I plan to close it is to have the bodice close in the center back, and the skirt have two layers in the back which overlap, so the under panel opens at the opposite side and the overlay panel overlaps the under panel and clips to the side-back seam. Make sense, or did I lose you? That's okay, you'll see photos when it's done. :) The waistband will close with the overlay, and the overlay will probably be draped in some way...have to figure that one out still.

Okay, on with the photos. I'm pretty much done with the first mock-up, except adding the back-overlay panel. I have to make a second one to make sure everything comes out okay and lays smoothly. This one has a few problems still.

I started with two squares measuring 22"x 22". Since it opens in the back, I cut one of the squares in half. Then I sewed them together for the shoulder seams.

Next I cut a small neck-line so I could fit it on the dress form. I did most of the work on the dress-form, and then tweaked it on myself. It's hard to start from scratch and pin onto yourself. I haven't mastered that yet. Thankfully ^she^ loved to be jabbed with pins. :) 

Then I pinned down the center to keep the grain-line straight down the center-front.

...and also down the back. It's slightly overlapped, because it'll be closed with hooks and eyes.

And then the pinning, pulling, etc. started. here I have pinned the side seams and darts.

The back looks weird, but it really did work. :)

Let's cut the neckline! I think I changed it from here, to be a little lower and more "scooped" rather than "squared".

A nice scooped back. Me likey.

And now to make it empire-waist. Here's something I need to change on the new mock-up. I went slightly overboard with the empire waist, and cut it a little too high. So I need to add about an inch to be more 1912, rather than 1812. :)

Side seam

And the front

Here it is all stitched, and with the modified neckline - still slightly squared, but not too much. I had to make it lower so that I can wear my necklace without it overlapping. :) 

The back in serious need of pressing!!

The skirt being pinned on. I accidentally cut the back piece too narrow, so I just sewed some gussets on to get the correct fullness. They won't be in the real dress.

This skirt is fitted around the waist and hips and then gradually gets fuller. A little tricky for one who usually does rectangle panels and pleats them to the waist, but it came out okay.

Working, working, working. Lots of pins are needed for mock-ups.

Mock-up #1 almost completed!!

And the back (yikes it needs ironing!)

Okay, that's all for now. Come back soon for corset pictures (hopefully they'll be taken tomorrow), the chemise in the works, and mock-up #2. Oh, and I'll be posting about a certain someone who I've become quite attached to in the past few weeks.......... :D

EDIT: P.S. Please ignore the creepy multi-colored bear in the back of the photo when I first cut the neckline. Ahem. He likes to sneak into photos when I'm in the basement.


  1. Wow! It's looking good! I love it! :)

  2. Look great for a mock up! We have a couple friends in TN that are making some 1912 costumes.

    Can't wait to see the finished product!

  3. Look's great! design wise that is, perhaps not fabric wise. :P Can't wait to see the real one!

  4. Jenna - Thank you!!

    Es - Oh fun! Are they making the costumes for the VF Titanic conference/event in April?

    Anna - Haha! I'm so glad you can use junk fabric for mock-ups!!



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