What was the original purpose of this project/experience?
I had a number of reasons for starting this project. First, I wanted to see if I could actually do it. Second, I wanted a big amazing mid-Victorian dress that was all mine. Third, I thought it could be useful in the future doing programming at museums, etc. (And it has! I’ve worn it during one of my needlework workshops!)
What were the critical factors helping or hindering completion of this project?
Helping: I would say that I have a very healthy background in mid-Victorian history and fashion. Hindering: I had an extremely basic knowledge of sewing.
What do you wish you had spent more time on or done diﬀerently: I wish I made the bodice tighter to my body so I don’t look so balloon-y. I still might make a few adjustments.
What part of the project did you do your best work on:I’m really pleased with the way the hand gathering on the dress turned out. I’d never done anything like it before, but I took my time and the end result is a highlight for me.
What did you learn most about yourself by participating in this project?
That things don’t really change and that I still get mad at myself for making mistakes.
What differences has the project made in my intellectual, personal or ethical development? I have learned that if I want to make a big giant dress – I can. I don’t have to have a reason or rationalise it to anyone. If it’s something I want to do/try, and I’m not clear-cutting a forest to do it, then I can just go ahead and do it.
What level of personal effort do you feel you put into your project? A lot. I had to look up a lot of new terms, watch videos, read blogs to really understand some of the processes. I usually like quick projects and instant gratification – since this was a multi-month project I really had to keep learning and keep at it.
What was the most enjoyable part of this project:
Being able to answer; “Yep, I made that” (I’m not going to lie – recognition for effort feels good)
What was the least enjoyable part of this project:
Ripping stitches out to repair the petticoat.
If you were to redo your project, what would you change about it?
If I were going to redo this project, I would see what I could do to alter it in such as way as to make the skirt and top separate pieces. That way I’d have a skirt to mix and match. Zoave jacket? Next time 🙂
If I had chosen to do “x” or not to do “x”, what might have happened? If I had chosen to go with a sheer fabric (as originally planned), I think the dress would have been much lighter and flowy. I think it would’ve been harder to hide little imperfections though… and as this was my first dress I was counting on a few imperfections.