But I do what I can!
Here is the "revamped" tea dress. Also known as "the dress that almost cost 'the roses' the once in a lifetime opportunity to meet Stephen Lang". Yes, it was this tempestuous little beast that I was wrestling with in the tent in 9,000+ degrees, trying to jury rig this and that.
Given key ingredients (more TIME, garnering construction tips, trial and tons of error, and lessons on being period correct from fellow lovely reenactors) I was able to revitalize the pathetic green and white 'camp dress' into a fairly fancy tea dress!
Okay, so the bow in the back is a little
"Bo-Peep", but hell, I thought it
tied the ensemble together with just the right amount of femininity.
It's not perfect. It's far from it. But to be fair, I think it's also far from a piss poor piece of crap that shouldn't be seen in public. What can I say? Kristen H. Miller aims high, damn it. That's right. I said Miller.
As some of you may know, my grandfather, Lothar Miller owned his own dress company from the 40's-60's. It was called "Daddy's Girl". He was a cunning business man with taste and vision. It's kind of funny if you think about it- this daddy's girl has gone and made her own dress. Like I said, I'm no Lothar H. Miller. Dad tells me he was a genius on a sewing machine and I usually manage to snap needle after needle and paint a vivid mural of obscenities thanks to hyjinx'n tension. Being an excruciating perfectionist, I can pick out a hundred things that should be fixed on this dress and I do intend to tweak a few things here and there before I don it at the next reenactment. But to be able to sew something on this level and strive toward even half of what my grandfather was capable of, feels pretty good!
Looks like Miss Virginia is gather'n some
herbs for another decoction!
Bottom line, it's a process. This was the first dress I ever constructed and I'm pretty happy with the trim I added on. Especially the double bow at the collar accessorized with a yellow flowered brooch. You'll note that the collar is not the popular 'lay down' white collar. Why? I hated it for this dress. I basted one on and could have puked. Okay, so my reaction wasn't that volatile. But it was very clear that that style was not going to flow with the design. The 'stand up' collar, while not the norm, was sported in the 1860's. Though more popular after the Civil War, the stand up style did appear on ladies in the 15-26 age group and even 26-40 (so I'm covered for a while). The skirt on the bodice is a little German ingenuity. The pattern for the bodice skirt was aggravating to say the least and many reviews online echoed this sentiment, so I just made my own design based on the bottom of the bodice. Not bad!
Next on deck is a mourning dress, because every respectable Dixie Rose has one. I also plan to make a matching reticule and bonnet for the tea dress featured above. Which could use a better nickname than the aforementioned one. Overall, I really enjoy being able to make my own Civil War dresses. It's challenging, interesting and rewarding!