Pondering the dress

So what should my Ada Lovelace dress look like?

At first I was digging the idea of the criss-cross front (some examples here, here, here) but these are all early 1830s, and hence too early for what I want. Hrmph.

A pleated top is really extremely common:

But I’m feeling super meh about this. It’s too similar to the bertha top in my 1850s dress, and I don’t want to do it again.

I rather like this plain top, and I have a brooch I could put at the top:

 

I’d also like some visual interest on the bottom of the skirt that doesn’t obviously conflict with my portrait.

The blue dress above would work, as the Lovelace portrait doesn’t show the bottom of the dress, so a double flounce is plausible. It’s just such a pain to gather and attach flounces! I’m not sure perfectly rounded arches of the folds are artistic license, or if you could actually make a flounce do that shape.

Now this picture is fun and different, but would it be too clash-y to replace the criss cross with gold ribbon, in order to have more gold than just the sleeve? Especially if I also had black lace on the sleeve. Maybe a black underlay instead of white?

I do adore extraneous bows like the dress on the right, although having two layers of skirt would take a bit extra fabric:

This print again, looking at the dress on the right. WHAT THE HECK are those random dangling fan feather dusters? Like her entire leg area has one first prize. A lot. But this is one of the few dresses with extreme color contrast between trim and dress color – I could do silly gold dangling fans on a purple dress. And if someone needed to dust an end table, or award a prize, they could just grab a fan off my dress…

Also intrigued by this print:

Screen Shot 2015-07-14 at 4.58.26 PM

I could do two flounces on the bottom, but instead of a matching ribbon on the bottom of the flounces and a matching bow, I could do those in gold.

Gonna let this all percolate for a bit while I wait for fabric swatches from Renaissance Fabrics. Then I need to make some petticoats and (ugh) probably a corset before I jump into the dress anyways.

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