When I first started this blog, I was an unemployed costumer attempting to create period gowns and costumes with very limited means. Although now employed, I still try to be as thrifty as possible. I am still "The Broke Costumer"!

In addition to posts about the outfits I make on a budget, this blog includes short research articles on fashion, history, accessories, styles, or whatever interests me at the moment.

I hope you enjoy my journey into the land of inexpensive costuming and short articles.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

A Polonaise - from Georgian to Victorian

A while back, my friend Val was selling some of her beautiful costumes to make room for new ones.  One of the first Costume Guild events I went to was a Marie Antoinette Tea.   For the tea, Val made a beautiful 18th Century outfit she called The Pumpkin  Val's Blog   which I always admired.   I purchased just the polonaise of the outfit, thinking I would make my own pannier skirt for it soon.

Well, my yearly fashion show for Gaslight Gathering was approaching, and between planning that, work, and other obligations, I knew I wouldn't have much time to make an entire outfit.  The theme I chose for the fashion show was Lets Go to the Movies!   All models would choose a period movie and make an outfit for the main character in the film.   

Looking through my saved inspiration photos for an easy Victorian gown, I came across a lovely dress from the mini series, Daniel Deronda.  This early bustle era movie was full of gorgeous gowns.  I already had a blue  bustle skirt, so I decided to alter the Georgian to a Victorian!

First, the bodice needed altering.  Here are photos of the Georgian version of the bodice, taken from Val's blog (link above).   Since the skirt was pleated to the bodice, I took apart the front bottom of the bodice and released the first two or three pleats, and brought them forward to meet in the middle.

Before Altering
I removed the sleeves, took a bit off the side seams and narrowed the sleeves.  Then I reattached the sleeves.
After Altering

 The next step was to add trim to the bodice to match the Victorian movie costume.  I found some cotton lace similar to the movie, and added white pleating around the neckline.  I then added some sleeve flounces.  You will notice that these are two different actresses.  This gown was actually used in two different movies, so I had more photos to look at!

The actress on the left is Georgia King in The Shadow in the North from 2007.   I used Georgia's jewelry choices, pearl necklace and earrings.

The actress below is Romola Garai in Daniel Deronda from 2002.  Also in Romola's photo is a lovely perch hat.  I tried making my own by reshaping a cheap straw hat, and failed miserably.   The day before the fashion show at Gaslight Gathering, I was in the vendor hall and found a pretty hat!

Underneath the blue skirt you can see a white,  pleated underskirt (see full length photo above).  I was relaxing in a cabin in the mountains over Labor Day weekend, and brought some white cotton and an iron with me.  I  cut yards of 7 inch strips, and cut a piece of cardboard from a lemon pie box I bought that day, using it as a guide to pleat the strips and iron them in place.   Since I had no machine to sew the pleats together, I used scotch tape to hold them in place until I got home.  Once home, I sewed them to the bottom of a plain white petticoat.

 For the belt she wears, I had a dupioni curtain panel in my stash.   I cut the header off that already had a stiff lining to it, and used a belt buckle from another outfit.

Here are a few pictures of the finished outfit.


$15  Polonaise to alter
$5    Trim
$14  White cotton for petticoat and pleats

Total    $34 for the outfit, plus hat purchase