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12 July 2010 @ 05:43 pm
Steampunk & Pirates, oh my!  
The third (fourth?) draft of Nemesis is in full swing.  I missed my personal June deadline. I don't actually love the sound they make as they go whooshing by.  I don't like missing deadlines.  I doubt I'll be done by July 31st, but maybe.  I'm 16,000 words in right now, so....it could go that fast.  In any case, I'm working on pirates every single day, which means listening to, among other scores: Firefly, Pirates of the Caribbean, Revenge of the Sith, and Timeline.  So, in the midst of this, I've been contemplating Pirates, and am reminded that I've always wanted to make an Elizabeth Swann inspired dress.  Especially since Your Wardrobe Unlock'd posted an awesome tutorial a couple of years back that gave me some good ideas (it's quite similar to my original Ren dress, actually, but does some different cool things with the bodice and sleeves inspired by Elizabeth's plum gown in the first movie.)  I need to make myself a new gown, but I want to experiment with some new techniques first, and I don't need two gowns, so...I'm going to make one to sell.  Probably on ebay, but we'll see when the time comes.

I have mountains of fabric, and being unemployed, I could definitely use some money coming in.  I went through my stash, realized for someone who never wears brown, I have an inordinate amount of earth toned fabrics.  (Because they were pretty!  And I know other people who wear earth tones!)  

But this got me to thinking.  With the recent popularity of Steampunk, an earth toned gown might be well received.  And something both sumptuous and pirate inspired, well, how could one go wrong?  It will be a gown loosely based on this dress from the first PotC:

Looking at it here, you can see it's a plum dupioni silk overdress with a black underskirt, cream chemise, and cream and black lace accents.  I will be doing something similar, however, the underskirt will be this fabulous cream/gold embroidered taffeta I have (I got it on clearance for $4/yard!).  Not period, but it's too beautiful not to use.  (And so long as there are no zippers, velcro, elastic, or sequins, I'm usually not a period Nazi.)  The overdress will be a gorgeous deep brown dupioni silk, lined with an antique gold dupioni silk that is just to die for.  I've had it forever, because I got it on this insane clearance sale.  It retails for $18/yard, and I got it for something like $6/yard.  Yeah, I know.  Since this dress will take yards and yards of it, that's good. :D

Here they are, the fabrics I'll be going with:

First with flash, so you can see the gorgeous sheen to the fabric:

And then without flash:

Tell me that would not make a gorgeous steampunk pirate gown!  *rubs hands together*

I plan to journal the project as I go.  (Yes, this is another attempt to make sure I'm posting regularly.)  I'll be posting pictures of the construction process, and keeping track of the hours I put into it, so I know about how much I'd like the gown to sell for.  Although with ebay, you just never know.  And with this economy, you never know.  On the other hand, I'll be able to work out some design kinks, and I'll put a reserve on it that at minimum covers the cost of materials (including things like boning.  Yes, this bodice will have real spring steel boning, just like one of my corsets. Meaning it will hold a nice shape and give the wearer a nice shape.)

I'll use a drawstring at the skirt waist, and I'll add a modesty panel to the front of the bodice, to accommodate as large a range of sizes as possible.  I'll probably cut it quite long, and then hem it to length for whoever buys it, as length is one of those things that really needs to be customizable.  The sleeves will be detachable (all my sleeves are.  I LOATHE attached sleeves.)  The overdress will be long enough to have either a train or a bustled look (which is more steampunk).  At the moment, I'm estimating materials to be around $150.  I'll have to actually do the math to be sure, but I bet I'm really close.  

This is going to be a custom gown made from real dupioni silk, embroidered taffeta, and real boning.  At full price, materials for that would be well over $300, but luckily i'm a bargain shopper, and I have a hard time passing up an impossibly good deal, even when it's not in my colors. :D

So, what do you all think?  Sound like a cool project over the next month?  Portland Pirate Festival is in September.  Someone could wear this gown to it.  A bunch of other Ren Faires and Pirate Festivals are all over the place over the next few months.  Or, as beautiful as i think this is going to be, it could be someone's wedding gown.  Tomorrow should see progress on the underskirt, so expect pictures and an initial post!
Current Mood: creativecreative
Patron Saint of Pessimism: faster than molasseswoodrunner on July 13th, 2010 12:51 am (UTC)
Sounds like an awesome project!

And, oh! I wear earth tones!

Though I'm less inclined toward a pirate dress...
rhienellethrhienelleth on July 13th, 2010 12:55 am (UTC)
Well, it doesn't have to be pirate. :) The same basic design is used for an awful lot of dresses - everything from Marie Antoinette, to RenFaire gowns, to Steampunk, to Pirates.

But everyone's familiar with Elizabeth's plum gown, so I'm using that to say "this is what I'm making."
patron saint of neglected female characters: girl + gunrose_griffes on July 13th, 2010 01:50 am (UTC)
Gorgeous fabric. I'd be interested in reading any posts you make.
soundingsea: firefly - inara - elegantsoundingsea on July 13th, 2010 03:02 am (UTC)
That's a great color palette.
annete: Eldest Sisteranneten on July 13th, 2010 10:47 am (UTC)
Oooh... the fabric you've chosen is SOOO pretty...

Looking forward to your in-progress updates! The finished gown is going to be beautiful!