Of course my 1912-in-2012 plans include more than just an evening gown. I wouldn't be that rational!
Dinner is but the first half of the Epic Titanic Dinner that I'm hosting in April. Well maybe 2/3rds. After dinner the plan is to change into something a bit more comfortable for a more relaxed absinthe themed after-party... while still looking fabulous and period appropriate while we sip our absinthe of course.
The dress code for the Absinthe Party is 1912 artistic dress or "undress", informal garments worn by around the house or with intimate friends. Figuring out what that means in reality has been interesting to research. Several of my guests are going in the Poiret harem pant direction (which I think it awesome), but I'm drawn to more of a negligée & wrap look.
This first image (from the S&S site) is the one that has really captured my imagination - I just love the whole look and feel. I like the vibe of the outfit from the Met too but it's the S&S pic I keep coming back too...Then I got to thinking. I have the perfect fabrics for the robe; my Flying Dress silk taffeta and velvet. Then remembered my neglected Mr. Butterfly (seen here with other fabrics intended for the a crash-and-burn 1911 evening gown project that created him). He is based on the comb Rose wears with the Flying Dress and he contains beads the exact shade of blue of the Flying Dress. Brilliant! So this will be my non-Flying Dress, Flying Dress! I love it! I'm not sure if I'll put Mr. Butterfly in the front or back but he will look great on the wrap somewhere.
I'm still waffling on what to make for underneath the robe. My original idea was to make a copy of this Liberty dress (also used as a nightgown in Finding Neverland) out of a sea foam light-weight wool that also matches Mr. Butterfly.
Now I'm leaning more toward a period negligée of cream voile & lace nightgown.In my research I found that historically a "negligée", which from the French literally means "neglected", is a sheer (usually long) dressing gown. According to the dictionary "it is a form of nightgown intended for wear at night and in the bedroom." After World War II negligées changed from being primarily utilitarian to being primarily sensual or even erotic, negligées then emerging as a form of lingerie. One source said the negligée was first introduced in France in the 18th-century, which I guess makes it either a mother or cousin of the Chemise gown. A relation anyway.
Or I could always just wear the Flying Dress wrap over my undies if they turn out pretty. I'm still pondering which one to go with...
My 1912 plans don’t stop there. I also have a chemise and princess petticoat to make. And of course that is just the plan for me. I have a corset to make for Mom (promised long ago!), two maid's outfits (dress, apron and cap) for my non-costumer servants, linen napkins and a surprise or two for my guests. All before March 15th, which is when I need to stop sewing so I can concentrate on things like house cleaning, grocery shopping, furniture rearranging and food prep.
Oh and throw in the Française and pannier I'm planning on making before Feb 4th.
You can say it, I'm crazy! I honestly don't know how all this is going to happen in the next 14½ weeks but I'm trusting it will work out in the end somehow. I’ve prioritized the to-do list and if things have go for sanity’s sake, I’ll let them go. I've learned a long time ago where my stress breaking point is and it's never been worth it to cross that line.
I’ve also committed to staying up a little later and getting up a little earlier than I am normally accustomed to. I’ve also place a restriction of how much TV I can watch a week. Basically I’ve started my Costume College finial push 6 months early. At the moment I'm feeling optimistic and determined to make it work. Hey I've pulled off crazier things! Well maybe *just* as crazy - this is pretty crazy even for me...