I spent several weeks looking through portraits and paintings, and eventually it came down to several portraits by Renoir. The one of the actress Jeanne Samary in her evening gown felt the most practical and the most rewarding.
The impressionist painting was not the most detailed, so I took liberties with my interpretations. The fabric, for instance, was a silk dupioni in the corn color. I doubt that was the material Jeanne Samary actually wore for the painting, but I thought that the iridescent qualities of the fabric would better capture the impressionist spirit of the portrait rather than the original dress. I took the general pattern from Janet Arnold's Patterns of Fashion 2
and heavily modified the bodice. The corset was drafted using the tutorial from Foundations Revealed
. And I made the bustle using Laughing Moon's Hoops and Bustles patterns
The ruffles all ended up needing to be hand sewn, and I finally know why thimbles were such a necessity. It was the first dress I've made from the Victorian era, despite my love of the bustle periods. I was so excited to give it a try. This was by far the biggest project I've undertaken, and I am not sure I would have picked something so ambitious this early in my self-education had it not been for this website. Thank you for the consideration and the opportunity to enter this competition.