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1861 Evening Dress

This dress was inspired by a dress from The
Gallery of English Costume. At least that was how it
started! It changed many times along t he way.
I wanted to use the very popular Victorian black
mourning style but didnt want to go completely
black. I also wanted a Forget-Me-Not sort of theme
to go with it.
I found this beautiful midnight blue silk shot with
black which went so beautifully with the
Forget-Me-Not blue colour.
Trying to work forget-me-not's into an outfit this
scale became an almost impossible task, nothing
seemed quite right! Then I came across these tiny
Lucite beads that just seemed to work.
The bodice is fully lined and fastens down the back with
rows of tiny blue eyelets and voile ribbon.
The neckline is trimmed with deep lace with an overlay
of crystals, beads, roses, jet stones, sequins, and of
course the Lucite beads.
The beads have been used again in the pleats that hitch up
the sides of the skirt.
The black Nottingham lace has been used around the bottom
of the dress and also to trim the petticoat underneath.

The underskirt is the foundation that
gives the dress its shape. It has a very
full petticoat with a hoop sewn in at
around knee level.
To keep the fullness of the dress
towards the back straps are sewn into
the front of the dress that the legs fit
through.
Yes, this is how the actual dresses
were worn! Can you imagine how
annoying it would be to walk like that?
If you look carefully at a person
wearing a dress like this, when they
walk, you will see that they kick the
front of the dress out. More than likely
because their legs are strapped in!
Then, to finish off we have a pair of
black shoes with the shaped heel and
t-bar fastening.