Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Historical Sew Fortnightly Challenge #6 Fairytale

What it is:  Little Red Riding Hood Masquerade Ball Gown and Cloak
The Challenge:  Fairytale
Fabric:  Cotton velvet, silk taffeta, organza, costume satin
Pattern:  Folkwear 207 Kinsdale Cloak, Truly Victorian 261 1885 Four-Gore Underskirt, Truly Victorian 460 1885 Bustle Cuirass Bodice, Truly Victorian 362 1884 Wash Overskirt
Year:  1887
Notions:  Valenciennes lace, satin ribbon, buttons, grosgrain ribbon, velvet skirt trim
How historically accurate is it?  Very.  The design follows an historic Fancy Ball book description.
Hours to complete?  24
First worn:  Fantasy Masquerade Party, Victorian Dance Cruise, January 2015
Total Cost:  $11.62 for Valenciennes lace,  remainder from stash.

But Grandmother!  What big ears you have."  said Little Red Riding Hood as she edged closer to the bed.

The French fairy tale was written by Charles Perrault in 1697 although it's origin may date back to the 1400s.  It could be a tale to remind children to behave, or it could be a story about girls coming into their womanhood.  However long the fairy tale has been around and what it truly means, it is so widely known that the character of Little Red Riding Hood was described in a book in 1887.  The book is now part of The Public Domain Review.  "Fancy Dresses Described or What to Wear at Fancy Balls" by Ardern Holt describes the costume this way:
...blue silk quilted skirt; square velvet bodice, with lace chemisette and lace sleeves; large white muslin apron and bib, trimmed with two rows of Valenciennes lace, red cloak, with hood lined with blue silk; blue stockings, worked with crimson; a crimson satin sash...

 In January 2015, Patrick and I will take the Victorian Dance Cruise.  One of the events will be a Fancy Masquerade Party.  This fit nicely with the HSF Fairytale Challenge.  I had white organza, blue pintuck silk taffeta, black velvet, and red satin in the fabric stash.  Since I had just finished Challenge #5 on the due date, I had only 2 weeks to complete the gown and cloak.  I'm not sure I will finish, but I'm going to try!

The completed skirt over a lobster bustle and one petticoat.  I've made up this pattern several times before and it goes together quickly.
Most of the costumes in the 1887 book were raised above the ankle, so I did the same, and added a velvet trim to the lower edge.

The embroidered organza became the "apron".  Although I hadn't made up this pattern before it is very simple and beautiful.

The Valenciennes lace with a satin insert.  A lucky eBay find!
A velvet bodice modified with a keyhole insert.

The keyhole insert and sleeve extensions were made with the organza and lace.
Wait!!  What??  That next picture isn't a part of a Red Riding Hood costume, you say.  No, but it could have been.  I was eating pancakes and I looked at the syrup container and there it was - 1887.  And I'm making a Fancy Dress gown described in 1887.  Perhaps in 1887 a lady was eating her pancakes and sewing the very gown I'm sewing today from the same description.  Makes me smile!

Back to 2014.  The Folkwear Kinsdale Cloak pattern makes up beautifully.  But it's already April 1st and the Challenge is due today.   I have 102" of cloak that has to be gathered into 24" of collar, I've already sewn the collar together wrong, and lost my seam ripper.  Ack!  So I use a 2014 shortcut and zig-zag over dental floss.

Pull the floss, and instant gather.  Not historically correct, but I'm sure if they could've they would've.  The collar is fixed and I'm almost finished!  Some hand sewing, tie ribbons, and...
Little Red Riding is finished....well...except for the blue stockings with crimson embroidery, but I'm saving that for Challenge #7 Tops and Toes.
Here I added some Valenciennes lace to the back of the gown to continue the "apron" impression.

The "crimson sash" described in the Fancy Dress book is a pashima scarf.  The embroidery for the stockings will be the same color.

The "hood lined with blue silk" is the same silk taffeta I used for the skirt.
A pretty necklace with a wolf silhouette and miniature Little Red Riding Hood book.  There is also a small copper basket at the lower edge of the bodice.

There wouldn't be a story without the Big Bad Wolf and this is Patrick's mask made by Judith of Leopard's Leap.  Truly an amazing and beautiful creation!

 Off to do some taxes (and embroider some blue stockings).  See you in two weeks!


  1. This is stunning. I love the skirt fabric and the organza for the overskirt. And the way you used the skirt fabric as the lining for the cloak is inspired. Bravo!

  2. Very inspiring! The complete ensemble is well done. I'm cracking away at my fairytale.

    1. Thank you, Jeannine! I enjoyed making this and will enjoy wearing it next January. Can't wait to see your fairytale!