Tuesday, November 28, 2017

The Pink Project - An Introduction

If you follow me on Facebook, you may have seen me mention "The Pink Project" a few times in my latest posts. You may be scratching your head and going "what heck?!", so I thought I would provide a little intro to this endeavor!

In February of next year, the DFW Costumers Guild is going to be hosting the Victorian Soiree. We're planning an entire weekend of costumed goodness - symphony concerts, costumed dinners, brunches, photo ops, etc. I'm so excited for it! Unfortunately, I have taco-ed myself right out of my old Victorian clothes, and my undies are looking a little ragged and worn. It's the perfect excuse to make shiny new things!

The main event takes place on Saturday evening, where we'll be heading to dinner out and then enjoying a concert of Victorian-era music at Bass Hall. My last attempt at a bustle-era ballgown was rushed and horrible, and I felt decidedly un-pretty in it, so I desperately need something new. Something like this.

This is the Pink in the Pink Project! This spectacular plate is from February 1874, the same month that our Victorian Soiree was going to be held! It has everything that is flashy and wonderful - ruched panels on the skirt, multiple layers of swaggings and puffings, flowers, lace, and every good thing. It's also crazy detailed, which is both wonderful and terrifying with so short a time span in which to work. I had originally planned to make this dress anyway, before the Soiree was even planned, but it was going to be a year-long, "work on it as I can and take my time" sort of project. Things have definitely changed now!

Besides this wonderful fluffy cupcake of a dress, I'm also planning to remake one of my very first gowns, the black and gold gown from this fashion plate, dated 1872. This dress has always had a special place in my heart, and I'm so excited to be remaking it now that I have a lot more knowledge about historical sewing and construction.

To go underneath these gowns, I need an entirely new set of undies, which means drawers, chemise, corset, skirt support, and two petticoats. Since I had definite dates for my gowns, I wanted to stay between those two years with the rest of the wardrobe, so all the undies I made had to fall between 1872 and 1874. While this might sound like a difficult task, there are plenty of extants and illustrations that survive from that small window. The ones below are the ones I chose to copy. The chemise and drawers are from 1874. Everything else is dated to 1872.

I'll also me making myself a caplet from 1874, since it will be February, but it's Texas, so who knows what that means for the weather. Also probably a muff and gloves to match it.

Also, hats!

But wait, there's more! M is going to be joining me on this costuming adventure, which means that he'll need a new suit for our daytime events. I'll be making him a new shirt, waistcoat, frock coat, trousers, and topcoat.

This is going to be an extensive, all-consuming project, but I am so excited about it! It's been a while since I've worked on anything Victorian, and it's been way too long since I've had a big event to get excited over. Things are already moving along swimmingly, too, and I'm hoping to keep a good pace over the next couple of months so I can get everything done in time. I'll be posting about each piece I finished, so expect a lot of updates in the next few weeks!


  1. This sounds like a very enthusiastic, optimistic, time-consuming project! When are you going to have time to do it all? You sound very excited, though, and I'm sure you'll get them all done in time. I think back to the books I enjoy reading and those dresses are done in a week or so - but they probably had several seamstresses working on each item! I'm sure you'll have fun!

    1. I tend to completely throw myself into my sewing when I'm as excited about something as I am about this! :D I already managed a lot of work over the Thanksgiving holiday, and I'm going to try and devote as much time on the weekends to sewing as I can. I also have quite a long break from work over Christmas, so I'm hoping to knock out a large portion of the project then!