Have you ever just seen a costume – in a picture, a movie, or read in a book – and knew at that first look that you were someday going to have that costume? Of course, there are tons of fabulous movie and TV show costumes that I would love to be able to make, but I definitely don’t have the time or resources to ever get to everything on my dream costume list. But this costume would not let itself not be made.
Confession: I am not a fan of The Vampire Diaries, I’ve never even watched an episode. I only watched the clip where Katherine wears this dress for a few minutes to see how it looked and how it moved. I generally wouldn’t make a costume without knowing the source material first – or maybe I just never am interested in making costumes for things I haven’t seen myself? But I first saw an image of this dress a couple of years ago while browsing Pinterest, and it stuck in my head. I thought about it all the time. Then, last year, I came across this fabric:
It’s a heavy sage green taffeta shot with gold, which you may recognize from the backgrounds of some of my photos –
This photo is truest to the color of the fabric; it shifts between green-gold and blue-green and I knew immediately, as soon as I saw it the first time, that it was destined for this costume. I bought it exactly with that purpose in mind and have been sitting on it for over a year until I was ready to tackle it. Well, the time has come!
Unfortunately, this dress is only worn for the space of a few minutes on the show (unless there’s more I haven’t seen; TVD fans, anyone know?) and there aren’t a whole lot of pictures of it floating around. But there are enough for me to get down how I want to tackle it.
My costume will be made in three parts: skirt, bodice, and apron. All three pieces are trimmed with what looks like ruched and pressed strips of the same fabric, with some kind of small beads or pearls sewn on, and lace in a slightly lighter shade of green. I’ve ordered my lace off Etsy, but it won’t arrive for probably a few weeks – but I’ve got time to finish the bodice and skirt construction in the meantime. I have just under ten yards of the green taffeta, most of which will be going into the skirt and those pleats (which, honestly, I’m not all looking forward to!)
Well, I got a start on the bodice today. I drafted the pattern on myself, with my corset on, with the aid of an old pillowcase, last night, and came up with a workable 1860’s-ish ballgown bodice pattern.
My pattern pieces.
I interlined the taffeta with some of my leftover cotton organdy, which is wondrous. It has such a nice shape even without boning (although I will add some anyway.)
Here is the bodice base constructed. I altered the pattern a little to suit my tastes, rather than be entirely faithful to the gown’s look in the show – with princess seams and a sharp point more suited to 1860’s. However, I completely forgot about back seams – yikes! I manage to make a lot of really stupid, preventable mistakes like that when I sew. I still have plenty of fabric to recut, though, so I may fix it tomorrow when I’m working on this.
I got as far as assembling the lining and preparing my boning (zip ties) and boning channels tonight. I’ll tack the boning in, and then finish the lining around the top. Then all this bodice needs is sleeves, and eyelets to lace it up the back, and it’s pretty well done!
I’m hoping to finish the bodice tomorrow (sans trimming) and get started on the skirt, though I don’t expect I’ll finish that this week.