Sunday, January 13, 2013

1913 Delphos Dress

The first challenge in the Historical Sew Fortnightly is the Bi/Tri/Quadri/Quin/Sex/Septi/Octo/Nona/Centennial Challenge, due January 14th. I had just found out about the challenge on the 11th and thought there was no way I could complete a dress in time, but then I found inspiration looking through one of my fashion books. I found an image of a Delphos dress from the 1910's, a dress that would definitely fit into the challenge as a dress from 1913. 

This image comes from the collection of the Kyoto Costume Institution. A Delphos dress is a simple tunic-like dress usually made from pleated silk with glass beads sewn down the sides to weight the dress. The book the image comes from describes the dress as intended to show the natural beauty of a body's shape at a time when most women still wore corsets. It was therefore only worn in the home at first.

By this point in time I only had two days left before the challenge was due, so I decided to take a little creative leeway with the fabric of the dress. Not having enough time (not to mention the patience!) to make the dozens of tiny little pleats the dress called for, I found myself a shortcut in the form of a crinkled lamé cloth (it was even in the clearance bin!). It gives the right look to the dress but unfortunately sacrifices the historical accuracy. 

The Challenge: Bi/Tri/Quadri/Quin/Sex/Septi/Octo/Nona/Centennial Challenge
Fabric: 3 1/4 yards Crinkle Metallic Lamé
Pattern: Figured out from photos of historical examples
Year: 1913
Notions: Glass beads
How historically accurate is it? The beading and pattern are accurate, the Fabric is not
Hours to complete: About 5
First worn: Only worn to take photos
Total cost: $17

If I had found more options while I was looking for cloth, I would not have chosen such a metallic one. The dress is really comfy though, and I love the detail of the little glass beads. The construction of the dress was super simple, most of the time went into adding the beads. When I have more time I would definitely like to do this dress over the correct way, pleating and all. The lamé looks almost right, but it doesn't lend the right drape and cling to the dress. 

Overall I would call this dress a success, though not as historical as I would have liked. Now that I have the full time for the rest of the challenges I don't think I'll have to make such compromises again though.