Saturday, October 10, 2015

It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown

I had a plan. A plan! I was going to finish the last bit of trimming on the pink pet en l'air, make a matching petticoat, and wear that to the Georgian Picnic in November. Easy peasy.


Then this thing came into my life.


So, naturally, I have become obsessed with this glorious pumpkin creature. It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!

I hadn't intended to make anything new at the last minute before the picnic, especially since I have an outfit to make for my sweetheart, and there's an event every weekend in October that I need to make stuff for! But I can't resist the siren call of this fabulously insane dress.

After talking to some fellow costumers about the dress, it's become apparent that this dress is not actually a polonaise, like I originally thought, but a Levite. They share many similarities with polonaise dresses, and a period source actually calls the Levite "a form of polonaise" but there are a few differences. A Most Beguiling Accomplishment has a great breakdown of Levites on her page.

I have come across the slight problem that there are so few other costumers that have recreated the Levite that there aren't many construction photos out there. So, I'm going to have to wing a lot of it. I'll be sure to post lots and lots of updates so others will know what I did. (Though, disclaimer, they may or may not be historically accurate, since I've never seen the inside of a period Levite.)

The style I've decided on has the front of the gown cut without a waist seam, and the back cut with one. Basically, the front of the dress is cut like a polonaise, and the back is cut like an anglaise. It's a sort of Frankenstein gown. The back looks like this:

The Great Pumpkin looks like it has a separate waistcoat that laces in the back, and then the gown is worn over it, tied closed in the front with a bit of teal ribbon. (The front tie closure is also a feature of Levites.) It has a teal shawl collar (Levite thing) that is edged with box-pleated pumpkin trim. The front of the skirt is folded back and stitched down at the waist, and there's more pumpkin trimming. The back of the dress is worn up (like a polonaise), and there are teal ribbons at the tops of the drapery. The dress has polonaise style sleeves, too, since Levites usually had straight sleeves. So it's a wonderful mixy-matchy hybrid.

I'm going to start on this at the beginning of November since there's so much going on in October, so stay tuned! I'll have lots of posts coming up about events, new Victorian dresses, and even some menswear!

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