Apr 152011

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!

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