January 18, 2012

Courage Cover Costume–The Dress

The first piece of the Courage costume is one of my favorite pieces. It was a type of dress I had wanted to make for a long time. I’d never before made one that laced up in the front. For the pattern, I used McCall’s 5499. At first, I was pretty leery about using it. These types of patterns that contain all sizes from girls’ through women’s in one package usually are not the highest quality patterns. Let me say, I was very pleasantly surprised. It turned out to be one of the best patterns I’ve ever worked with. The finished dress not only fits perfectly, it is also much more comfortable and wearable than most costume dresses I’ve created, which makes it feel much more authentic. Now, I did do a fairly major alteration to the pattern, though I don’t think that affected the fit. The dress is actually supposed to be laced up in the back. Thank goodness I had the experience of making a few dresses before this. That made the altering pretty simple since I had a good understanding of what needed to be done.

The fabric of the dress is 100% linen in a sort of navy blue. I can’t say enough about linen. Having worked with it quite a bit while making reenactment clothing, I’ve found it is so nice and easy to work with. It does wrinkle easily, but I love the look of the weave and it gives added authenticity to a historical/fantasy outfit.

mariandress2The inspiration for the dress came from the dress worn by Cate Blanchett in Ridley Scott’s Robin Hood. From the moment I saw it, I fell in love with it and knew I had to recreate it. It’s so simple, yet beautiful.

It’s not so much fun actually wearing it, but I love all the layers of historical clothing. Being this dress opens to the front as it does, you have to wear a shift underneath (in the movie she was actually wearing two). I have yet to create a shift specifically for this dress, but it was easy enough to use the cotton shift I have for attending buckskinner reenactments.

This is actually the same dress on the cover of Truth as well. I considered making a new one for Courage, but little of it actually shows this time so I thought it prudent to reuse what I already had. Unfortunately, as much as I love it, linen is not the most budget friendly material.

So that is the story behind my Makilien dress. I’ll certainly be using this pattern again one day. Most likely it will be used to create a dress for the coming cover of Trust as well.

On Friday I will share the creation of the next layer of the costume—the vest and overskirt.


-Lanna said...

Wow!! I love it!
And it looks great, being a seamstress myself.
Linen is one of my favorites among fabric. Can't wait to read your book ;-)
~ Booklover and Seamstress

Molly Evangeline said...

Thank you! It's always fun to get feedback on your project, especially from another seamstress. :)