New Dicken’s Fair Dress

I’m getting ready for the annual family trek to San Francisco to spend Thanksgiving with the kids. Part of our celebration 2-1involves participating in the Great Dickens Christmas Fair, in costume, of course. It’s so much more fun in costume. Even my  husband, who is not a dress up guy, dresses up for Dickens.

This year howev5er, I had a little bit of problem fitting into the old costume. I was close–as in if I wore a corset, I’d be fine. I don’t want to wear a corset all day, so the only thing I could do was to make a new dress. Fast. In the middle of moving. We do not yet have water in our house, but we have electricity, and that was all I needed to make the sewing machine run.

I chose eggplant taffeta and green velveteen. Victorians love purple and green and I wanted to stay with green accents, since my feathered hat is green and I’m not giving up my hat. When I first laid the fabrics on top of one another, my first thought was “I don’t know…” My second was, “Do you want to wear a corset all day?” So I plunged in.

I choose Simplicity 2887, which is based on a German pattern published in 1863. As you can see, the modern pattern, 2-2created by Kay Gnagey, faithfully recreates the original. You can read more about the original pattern here.

I chose not to put fringe on the tabs, and now, having seen the original, which I did not study before I started to sew, I plan to 4-1redo the skirt tabs so that they are not spaced so far apart. But that is a project for another year. I’m debating about tassels on the buttons. The tassels I bought are too small, but Britex Fabrics is one of my San Francisco stops, so perhaps I will have tassels when I attend the Fair.

The dress is closed by sixteen hook and eye fasteners. I love hand sewing, unless it 7-1involves snaps or hooks and eyes. But I persevered and got the darned things sewn on.

The dress isn’t yet hemmed. The first year my son brought his now-wife to join our Thanksgiving celebration, she and my daughter and I sat on the floor and hemmed our Victorian dresses in preparation for our very first Dickens Fair. It was a lovely bonding time. This year I’ll be the only one hemming on Friday, but I know I’ll have good company as I sew.

The dress will be worn with a  lace collar and white sleeves. I hope to get some good photos at the fair and I’ll share them in my December post.

Until then, please have a wonderful Thanksgiving!