The skirt of the Moulin Rouge gown has something special and tells us something about the fabric used:
As we can see here, there is a ‘bustle’ at the backside resembling a butterfly. If we take a very close look, the underside of that butterfly bustle is black with a very narrow red hemming. This gave me the idea that the fabric used for the gown had to have different colors on both sides – one side woven red, the other woven black.
In fact there is one fabric available that is woven just that way: Double sided red silk duchesse. I still think that this is the material used for the original gown.
However… double sided silk duchesse is:
- very expensive – here in Germany, it can be obtained for about 90 EUR / meter (that’s about 110 US-$ per yard…)
- not available in blue – the color of my choice (hence the name “Moulin Blue” for my gown).
- and while it is available in white, just like silk taffeta it’s almost unable to be dyed – it wrinkles and gets ugly ‘dust pleats’.
So – as much as I liked this gown, for a long time I didn’t make it for myself, because I couldn’t get a fabric that I could a) afford and b) would have a color I liked.
That was before I found the slate blue, double sided acetate satin in an Ebay Auction.
Now – while that material looked nice and was cheap, I still didn’t like the feel of it. For a wide skirt, acetate might still be useable because the material doesn’t have much contact to your skin, but for the bodice it’s (again – just my humble opinion, but I’m perhaps spoiled by the feel of natural materials on my skin) unusable – it has that ‘plastic bag’ feeling I don’t like.
Then I had the idea of lining the bodice with a natural fabric in at least two layers, so that I would have a ‘membrane’ between my body and the acetate, allowing my skin to breathe. This is when I started making the gown.
The basic skirt was made with a Truly Victorian pattern. After making it, I draped a long piece of satin over the back, until I had something that resembles the butterfly bustle on the original gown. Compare (pictures here were taken outside in the sun):
The skirt has two hooks under the butterfly bustle for closing. If I’m ‘fat’, I can use the outer hook… if I’m ‘thin’, I can use the other.
Here are two more pictures of the making – side and full back view (skirt is not hemmed yet):
Making of the bodice is still going on… so… Why not browse my other costumes in the meantime until I finish that page?
Edited to add:
My house was involved in heavy flooding. During this, the skirt and the remaining fabric for this gown was destroyed 🙁
So unless I feel the need to buy new fabric and start from scratch, this dresses’ diary won’t be updated any more. Sorry!