Presenting Ada Lovelace

So after sewing frantically fpr days, I finished my dress the day before the Greater Bay Area Costumer’s Guild was meeting up at Dickens Faire!

Then the morning of I got sick and couldn’t go.

Luckily I was able to go with friends on the last weekend. I wore the dress this with my standard Victorian corset, a corded petticoat (which I thought I posted about, but whoops it looks like I never did), a boring plain petticoat that wasn’t worth posting about, and a tucked petticoat (which I apparently made 2 years ago and never actually wore). There was still no time to make a bonnet, so I wore it with a tiny steampunk top hat I made in a class at Costume College.

I did the thing costumers really shouldn’t do, and put on the whole ensemble for the first time right before heading out.



It’s interesting to note that you really can’t see the fabric mini-stripes in a full length photo. How many patterns or stripes might be hiding in black & white Victorian photography?


I also got tapped near the entrance to participate in the Costume Contest later that afternoon! I didn’t win, mostly due to the unfinished-ness of the ensemble (no hat, gloves, etc) which I certainly can’t argue with. But I did get a whole bunch of nice compliments especially from the emcee Lynn which I’ll take!


Some closeups of little details that aren’t noticeable from far away, but make me super happy:


Gathering detail near the shoulder, and shoulder seam piping. I’ve shown this already but I love how it looks so much.


Everyone loves cartridge pleating! I stuck a strip of linen in the pleats to bulk them out, and it probably could have used a doubled-over strip for even more bulk.


There are two rows of gathering above the cuff to bring the sleeve in from the poof over the elbow. The cuff is piped all around.


And for a hidden surprise, the cuff is lined with a bit of red silk! Costume in Detail had an 1830s dress where the cuffs were lined with black silk, and I thought that was a fun idea.

I’m pleased, but there are a whole bunch of things I want to change for the next wearing:

  • Actually finish a bonnet
  • And a chemisette
  • And a big bias ruffle on the skirt
  • And a belt
  • Move the sleeve ruffles up the sleeve an inch or two, so I can do the same for the lower sleeve portions. I felt like they got a bit scrunched which actually made them look less poofy.
  • Move the hooks and eyes over a bit on the waist. I never tried this dress on with the 3 petticoats, and it ended up being really tight over all of those, which is causing wrinkles in the back.
  • After all that talk about bumrolls last post, I’m not thrilled with the shape this one gave. It was too shelf-like instead of a gentle enhancement. I may try and do something with canvas like so.
  • Starch the petticoats
  • Uh, closures on the petticoats. Or just keep pinning them, whatever.
  • Pockets! Every dress should have pockets.

Phew, so lots of things to change which will enhance the ensemble, and most of them won’t actually be noticeable to other people. But I still had a ton of fun wearing this, and I finally got 2 year old planned project finished!

This entry was posted in 1830s, Ada Lovelace dress. Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Presenting Ada Lovelace

  1. Carol weiss says:

    How nice that you got picked and complimented on your work

  2. Your dress is lovely. I haven’t decided what to do with my same fabric, but it’s a long way off.
    Isn’t Lynne a gem? She was my mentor when I first started, and got me to go to CoCo with her.

  3. Lynne Taylor says:

    I loved your gown and the style and color and everything about it made me happy. As the chooser of the participant s of the fashion contest, it was nice to see the earlier end of the Dickens era represented. Seek me out next year when you get it all complete! You certainly were one of Londonderry Most Fashionable Ladies:) Lynne Taylor (with an e) aka, Jane, Lady Franklin Fashion Contest Lieutenant, Adventurers Club

  4. Pingback: A large and rambunctious 1830s bonnet, and some 1830s outings | Avant Garbe

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