Tuesday, June 16, 2015

An 18th Century Wedding Dress


Have you seen the Outlander TV series? I have not (and apparently neither should anyone under the age of 18), but two of my chapter members are avid fans and one, Linda Gray, suggested I look at the shows website and read about the wedding gown that was made for the programme.

The wedding gown was designed by costume designer Terry Dresbach who used the descriptions in the original books as well as her own ideas for the concept of the gown. Unlike modern gowns, in the 18th century gowns were not white and tended to be the best dress you had already or if new, something that could be worn again. The dress began with looking at lots of pictures of gowns from 18th century and after four months was finished. Details such as pleating, stomachers and types of embroidery were looked at and chosen.

 
Terry wanted the dress to have shimmer to it as the scene was going to be shot in candlelight, so a metallic fabric was chosen. Many gowns in 18th century were woven metallic. Besides the metallic fabric used, the gown has embroidery done by hand with metallic threads which were then aged. The embroidery is of leaves and acorns.  The sleeves of the dress were typical of the period and the fabric was pleated –using a pleater- something that would have been done by hand in the 18th century. Terry says on her web page(http://www.terrydresbach.com/the-materials)  “We have this beautiful little smocking machine that operated with a hand crank. Makes beautiful, magical things’ .

 
Visit Terry’s page to see detailed photos of the pleating, embroidery and read more about the gown and you can also get to see pages of pictures that were used for inspiration.

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