Tuesday, March 8, 2011

My Dress for Returning Heroes - Mrs. C W Stoughton

A while ago I made a dress vaguely inspired by the very famous Winterhalter painting of Empress Elizabeth of Austria (or "Sisi" as she is less formally known). Mostly I found gauzy white fabric with sparkly gold stars and couldn't resist it. Add to that a lucky chunk of cream silk at a good price, and we were in business. At some point I found a painting of Mrs. C W Stoughton, who was not an empress (just like me!), but who had a strikingly similar dress. Yay! I always love finding more inspiration and justification.Sisi was famous for wearing precious diamond encrusted stars in her hair. This is certainly a look, if you can afford it. As I have mentioned once already, I am not an empress. On the other hand, Mrs. Stoughton's approach really spoke to me. The morning of the ball, I decided to throw together a black velvet diadem for my single Sisi star. Next time I am in Vienna I will have to invest in some graduated sizes to further match the Stoughton solution.
I cut buckram into a shape. I bent wire to match it. Then I tacked the wire to the buckram, forming a ring for my head. I wrapped the back of the ring in black (in fact, I used some junky lace because it wrapped better than wide ribbon, and that is what was on hand - remember, I mentioned that this was mere hours before the ball). Then I cut some little chunks of velvet (note to self - next time cut the velvet while the buckram is still a 2 dimensional template), and sewed them on (by hand, in the car). Ta dah! A last minute solution, with no glue-gun in sight! Oh, and of course I tacked on my sparkly star hair barrette.
I've never attempted this sort of loose hair style before, but I thought I would go for it for the sake of being different. In fact, I don't think I like it, but you need to try these things out to know, don't you? Here is the full effect.
And, because it is important, here is a picture of my family.

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