What it's really like working over a dress replica for the museum?
Matilda Welergame·February 21, 2022
Two years ago, the Victoria Museum administration called upon my friend and Ann to examine the corset. After meticulous research we excitedly agreed to expertise other displays at the museum, releasing an accompanying catalogue once completed. Discovering Ann works for DressArtMystery, Victoria ordered one of the Victorian dress creations. Our tailoring collaboration has started. As fans of historical costumes, we were happy to support the idea of recreating a Victorian gown. However, the question arose: which dress to choose? We wanted to make sure the reproduction was as close to the original as it is possible. Unfortunately, finding fabrics even similar to those made 100-150 years ago is not an easy task. We could order the fabric production, but the cost was just enormously high. After long discussions, we chose a dress made of plain taffeta, decorated with golden pipping and serrated garland. While looking for these fabrics, all we wanted was natural silk in this particular colour, which wasn't available in Ukraine. And yet our regular supplier saved us! To our surprise, we managed to find a fabric that was 99% identical in tone to the original, however less dense compared to original fabrics. So we bought 14 meters of olive taffeta and 3.5 meters of golden one and finally started production. With Victoria's help, we took every possible measurement needed to make a good replica. From the outfit's waistline to its hemline, we made sure every little detail was accounted for. If not for the precision of all these measurements and their corresponding pieces, the task would have been impossible.
, Kate and our team at DressArtMystery did an excellent job replicating this dress. From picking out fabric material to making sure every stitch was impeccable, it took hours and hours of hard work before we could say that our Fashion Mystery had been solved. We repeated the ruffle which originally was cut crosswise, as well as the dust ruffler (also called "balayeuse"). And from the remnants of taffeta and serrated garland (almost from nothing), we created a matching headpiece. When it comes to what makes up your perfect ensemble - don't forget about the undergarments! To achieve a proper Victorian look, our masters from DressArtMystery put together a beautifully crafted Victorian corset and bustle cage set in matching colours. The research determines that this dress is most likely from the 1870s. A special cut of the jacket - sloping shoulders was typical starting in the 1860s. Contrasting piping and "jagged" embellishments were distinctive for the late 1860s-early 1870s. But special later seams on the jacket and the skirt, the bows on the back were probably added following the fashion of the time to "refresh" the dress in the 1880s.All this allows us to say that the dress was sewn in the 1870s, and refreshed in the 1880s to achieve a more fashionable silhouette.
If you'd like to order a bespoke dress for your special event, feel free to contact us.