My overall thought about this dress? LOVE LOVE and LOVE some more. I think it turned out so pretty. It was a total pain in the ass, though. Once it was on and I was all trussed up inside, it was excellent to wear. Comfortable and everything (nearly) stayed neatly in place. I had very little trouble while wearing it at Twelfth Night, and what little things did go wrong, well, it was my own damn fault, not the dress's. Getting into and out of this gown, however, was a complete and total bitch. One must be very very dedicated to wearing a Venetian to wear a Venetian. Plus, being stone cold crazypants helps. I absolutely could NOT get in and out of this gown without my husband's help, and I'm an expert. There is no way I can sell this style gown to the general public. I need to figure out a more user friendly version.
Anyway, here are pics:
i just really really love how this gown looks. PRETTY! and MINE! It's really mine. I don't have to ship it off to anywhere but my own closet.
The ladder laced front: again, with loving grateful thanks to jenthompson . I didn't use her two ribbons, but I was working with her excellent theory. I used a single very wide grosgrain ribbon instead of two thin ones. I thought it worked out better, frankly. More secure, very solid, easier to install, held up like a champ through several rough lacings and lots of tugging and pulling. Loved it. *bows down to Jen
I made a classic triangle design on the bodice with the trim, you see this arrangement a lot on Italian gowns. Gives the illusion of a smaller waist! I'll take all the help I can get!
My girdle is pearl overkill for sure. I'd like a new one without cabs-- a future project I'm looking forward to! I enjoy making gigantic pieces of jewelry.
Oh, here is my lovely silk organza partlet with the delicate gold trim criss cross. No? Not what you see? That's because I totally destroyed it in my panic to get everything done on time. It was bad. really bad. I don't want to talk about it. I had to make a late night last minute dash to Joann's and get this weird cheap lace stuff and make it work. Tim Gunn would be proud, 'cause I made it work.
Do you see my secret invisible pocket in this picture? Of course you don't! It's secret and invisible!
Here it is! Sneaky, I know. I placed a deep pocket in the seam of either side. Not historically accurate, but damn useful. What the heck am I suppose to do with my keys and ID and money and phone and face powder? Reality trumps fantasy, I gots to have a place for my stuff. Gots to.
The sleeves are just straight old sleeves-- I usually like to do a more historically correct curved sleeve, but that gets complicated when you want to cap it with the little panes and linen puffs. You wouldn't think so, but it does. I had very few brain cells to devote to this project. I didn't have time to puzzle it out, had to be made fast, so straight plain old sleeves it was.
And here is where I had to add more garbage to the dress to cover up my terrible terrible hand sewing skills. I whip stitched the sleeve to the strap, and O.M.G. it looked sooooo bad. Hideous! Like a monkey did it! I had to dumpster dive and cobble scraps together to make this little pearl and pouf thing you see here. Now no one will know my secret shame.
The back pointed waist line, with the girdle secured there so it wouldn't ride up and look silly.
I was also not planning to put pearls on the hem trim, but I COULDN'T STOP MYSELF. I just kept pearling and pearling and pearling. Aaaaalll the way around. I thought I would run out of pearls, but I never did. Because I'm a pearl whore. I mean, hoarder. Pearl hoarder. I hoard pearls. I'll never run out. Never.
I stiffened the hem with a 1 inch plastic horsehair braid. Best thing I ever did. As I said before, it really elevated my skirt out of Amateur Hour. It made such a big big big difference. I think I got the Italian skirt silhouette down pretty good! I stiffened the hems on both skirts, and it was just the right thing to do. I will now do that on all my skirts, it just made a huge positive difference.
You know why I love Venise Lace so much? Because you can topstitch the hell out of that shit and no one can see what you did. I think there is more machine thread holding this lace down than there is actual lace. Round and round, criss crossed and up and over every point. That lace is now permanent.
Here is the hemline I totally fucked up and had to repair with garbage scraps. Seriously, out of the garbage. I was out of fabric to rectify my horrible mistake, and had to make do with the merest wisps of scrappery. But then I fucked that up, too, and had to make do with even the meriest wisperiest scrappery of any scrap who ever scrapped. It was very harrowing. There was so little left I could not even sew that on correctly-- it was serged to barely extend the edge, then TOPSTITCHED to the very edge of the hem. I had to cover the whole mess with trim. Trim I wasn't planning to use on the hem. Surprise! I have a trimmed hem. I'm not mad at it because it looks so pretty.
Are you impressed with how I mitered that corner with see-through trim? It's quite perfect, with no messy tucked under undersides showing. *beauty queen wave*
Ah, the deeply cut back of a Venetian Gown, vexing costumers around the world. Or maybe just me. Most just skip it and make a high back to get the right shape in the front. Not me! My shoulder straps are actually so secure I could have cut it even deeper. But, well, I didn't want to show off. Too much.
I loved the way the skirt moved and swished around. It was really quite awesome. I used the Eleonora skirt pattern, the same one used for the Pisa Dress, but I packed it with loads more fabric. I used 4 panels of 60" wide cut like Eleonora's. At first I thought I overdid it, but no, it was perfect.
I did not lose a single pearl, despite kicking the hem around for two nights. I thought for sure they would be springing off me like fabulous fleas, but no, they all held fast. Thanks, GemTac!
Notes about this gown:
*Too damn hard to get into. Must figure out a way to make it more user friendly. Once I was in, it was totally fine, but getting there took hours... arranging and rearranging the camicia, the laces, the partlet, the straps, making it all work together was a total nightmare. No way an ordinary person could do all that. Only a Venetian Nutball could stand for it.
*Need to lower the bodice height-- it was STILL too tall, it sat about an inch higher than it should. Man, these suckers are LOW.
*Need to lower the armpit. It was fine just loafing around looking pretty, but it was killing me when I had to drive to the hotel. Driving in this thing was awful. On the way home I decided to loosen the laces so it wouldn't be so bad, but OMG that was the worst thing I could do, that drove it up into my armpits even more. So, I tried to unlace and get the hell out of it, but then I was all tangled up and couldn't get out and I was stuck for a few moments in the parking garage, all trussed up like a helpless staightjacketed goofball with no one around to help. Yeah, classy. I'm glad no one saw me. Maybe hotel security, but they were probably too busy laughing and trying to upload the video to YouTube.
*I didn't fit the shoulders right, they sat just a little too high and gave away my secret. I think if they were a little lower they would have snugged up to my arm and no one would ever know how I achieved Magical Venetian Shoulders. Ah well. My boning method worked wonders, I just didn't take the time to really make sure they were set at the right level. An easy fix, though! I made the gown to be adjustable, so the next time I wear it it will be the right way.
*I like that I can change the whole look of this gown by adding shoulder ruffs and a partlet with a big tall lace collar. *rubs hands together gleefully*
I guess that's all. I have a few more Venetians coming up in the near future, always tweaking the pattern and improving!