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Downton Abbey inspired dress

20140228-125328.jpg Once upon a time my roommate and I went a bit fangirl over Downtown Abbey and decided to go to a party put on by the local NPR affiliate that was Downton Abbey themed.  So of course, I made a dress for it.  It’s a reworked Louisa Drop Waist Dress from the book BurdaStyle Sewing Vintage Modern. 20140228-124852.jpg The alterations I made were redrafting the neckline from a scoop neck into a boat neck, and also creating an illusion neckline by splitting the front and back bodice pieces to make a separate yoke.  I also omitted the skirt ruffles because…I don’t like ruffles. I made the yoke out of silk chiffon, and the body out of velvet.  If you read my blog, it probably looks familiar. 20140228-124907.jpg I also made a matching tie belt.  The pattern called for a much shorter one with a hook and eye, but I doubled the length so I could tie it. 20140228-124919.jpg I spent a looooong time on this beading. my original vision was a gown totally covered in beads like the lovely ladies of Downton are always wearing, but after I spent about 2 hours beading just one armhole, I knew I would need to amend my plan a bit. I might go back and do some more beading and wear it again to another event. 20140228-125128.jpg A finger wave in progress. This hairstyle turned out to be way more difficult than I thought It would be.  I was wishing for a ladies maid to do it for me! 20140228-124859.jpg 20140228-125154.jpg These pieces just about drove me nuts.  The silk chiffon was, as always, a bear.  I’m getting quite a bit better at it but finishing the neckline and armholes was a real challenge. I ended up using liquid stabilizer to stiffen the raw edges and then doing a rolled hem on my serger.  But there was a lot of cursing and hair pulling in the between time.  The velvet was also challenging, but once I had all the wrinkles steamed out and put the walking foot on my machine, it was all gravy. 20140228-125205.jpg I did a lot of the construction of this dress while home at my dad’s for the weekend. I do at pretty frequently because my moms sewing room is a good deal larger than mine and has all of the fancy knick knacks and tools.  So I can do all of my cutting a good deal faster than I can do it at home having to cut on the floor, and I can leave everything sitting out rather than having to put it away each night so it’s not taking over the apartment. The only disadvantage is that my dad’s two kittens really love playing with dangly threads and fabric hanging over the edge of a table and basically anything that moves. Here I was trying to take a shot of the dress in progress and had to hold the cat at bay. The two of them seemed hell bent on destroying my velvet. I had laid it all out across my bed to avoid it wrinkling king, and came back 5 minutes later to find one of them sleeping right in the middle of it. 20140228-124844.jpg And I leave you with a final picture of the coat and scarf I wore.  That is some legit fake fur right there- I made it last summer in a fit of Gatsby when it was waaay too hot to wear it.  And the coat  is a lovely wool cashmere blend I bough at Savers.  I didn’t like the color, so stay tuned for a post later this week in which I dye it a better one!

6 thoughts on “Downton Abbey inspired dress”

  1. You totally look like Mary and you pulled it off without any staff help and cats, not helping! Nice job!

  2. You have waaay more patience and persistence than I could ever muster. Congratulations on yet another beautiful dress!

  3. Well done on another gorgeous dress. I love the pics w/ your pal on Instagram, a slight resemblance to Lady Edith & Lady Mary. I also love your feline assistants!

  4. You just get better and better! I love the Downton dress, and the story! And the peplum dress looks terrific on you.
    Keep up the great work!

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