"Becoming Victoria"

I am honoured and excited to have been invited by the Llandrindod Wells Victorian Festival committee to appear as a young Queen Victoria at this year's festival from 22nd-28th August 2016. In preparation for this role I will be designing and making the costumes for the young queen over the coming months. These will be authentic reproductions of the fashions of the early years of Victoria's reign and will include a range of 1840s women's garments from corsets and petticoats to day dresses, ball gowns and bonnets. This blog will document and share my progress as I research, design and stitch each element to reveal the secrets of "Becoming Victoria".

Monday, 8 August 2016

I can't believe it's only two weeks to go!

14 days to go!!!

It's amazing how time seems to move faster the closer you get to a deadline. I have been hard at work on Victoria's costumes over the last week and unfortunately have let the posts slip a little bit.

Since my last post, we have been in the news....

A brief interview with the Brecon and Radnor express was published last week and can be viewed here. The picture is of me posing with Victoria's completed ballgown. Believe it or not, despite the apparent size difference in the photograph, the dress does actually fit on me!

I have also been working on my demonstration for the festival. This will take place at 3:15pm on Wednesday 24th August at the Hotel Commodore. For anyone attending the festival, this will be a chance to come along and see the costumes in person. I will be demonstrating every layer of an 1840s lady's toilette, from the chemise and bloomers right through to the shoes and bonnets and there will be plenty of opportunities to ask questions and see the costumes up close.

For this purpose, I have spent the last week stitching a chemise to be worn underneath the corset with a neckline that mirrors those of the dresses so that it won't stick out like my other chemises have done on the dress form. This chemise was loosely modelled on an original chemise in the Met Museum and altered to match the dress patterns that I will be wearing in shape.

The original chemise - MET 1978.251.2 1840-59 Linen chemise
I have also made a chemisette, based on an original pattern, which if like a false blouse or "dicky" that fills in the neckline of the dresses for daytime wear.

Example of an 1850s chemisette - MET_1978.314.6_1850s chemisette
Like this chemisette, mine is made of muslin and ties around the waist underneath the dress. Instead of embroidery I have added a lace collar.

Finally, I have been experimenting with dressing Victoria's wig but I will save the results to share in another post. Back to the stitching just now as I have a silk bonnet to finish for Victoria to wear when out and about in town during the festival week.

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