For my collection, 1890, I drew inspiration from 2 main places: cemetery angels and women's mourning wear of the 1890's. I was drawn to angels, such as the Haserot Angel in Cleveland, because of their symbolism and their beauty. Their garments are draped in beautiful ways and can bring comfort to those in need. Women's mourning wear is symbolic of women's place in society at the time and the emotional impact clothes can have. These garments were very intricate and beautifully constructed. Women were expected to mourn for a specific time and these clothes helped to symbolize this.
These are my final illustrated sketches. They were my final ideas before I started sewing. As I work, I tend to change things about the designs so sometimes the sketches end up looking a little different than the final product.
The first sketch is for a corset and skirt with a train. The second is a corset, pair of dress pants, and a full length hoop skirt with lace embellishment. The third is a jumpsuit with a chiffon train. Lastly, the final look is a gown with a baby corset, short hoopskirt, and a French bustle.
My sketches for this collection are drawn on skeleton croquis to reflect the inspiration.
Models: Ali Aiu and Jessica Ferry
Here are the finished garments from my collection. They were featured in a photoshoot and Runway 11 at Buffalo State University. Photos by Bruce Fox
Models: Loren Wulf, Justice Banks, Crystal Tomlinson, and Sara Popp
Outfit #1- Gray Corset with Pleated Mermaid Skirt
The top is constructed out of gray sanded satin. It is fully lined and has boning at each seam as well as bra cups, a lace up back with grommets, and black velvet ribbon for a tie. The top also features black 3D rose fabric applique. The skirt is constructed out of the same 3D applique as well as chiffon and suiting. All of the pleats were hand created and the skirt features over 30 french bustle points on the train.
Outfit #2- Floral Corset with Bustle and Dress Pants
The corset was constructed the same way as Outfit #1. The corset materials include lining, black velvet ribbon, black and white flower jersey, flower applique, and point d'espirit. The top also includes a waist belt that supports the bustle. The bustle is 1 layer of black lace, 2 layers of point d'espirit, and a layer of black tulle with horsehair. The pants are made from a regular lightweight suiting material and feature an exquisite embroidered black lace train from the waistband.
Outfit #3- Black and White Flower Dress with High-Low Hem
The dress is made out of a black and white stretch fabric and is fully lined. There is also accent trim made out of black chiffon and black flower appliques for the off the shoulder piece. The halter section of the garment is also fully lined and topstitched. It features black velvet ribbon at the neck and buttons and loops up the back for closures. The hem is a cropped high low to show just a peek of the shoes and ankles. Lastly, this look features a small cropped black corset made out of sanded satin. The corset is fully lined and boned. Satin ribbon is used in the back for closure.
Outfit #4- Pleated Jumpsuit with Chiffon Train
The pleated jumpsuit was by far my favorite look of the collection. The pants were hand pleated using sanded satin. The hem is done with a facing to give a more seamless look. The train is chiffon rounded out at the corners. The train features a three point over bustle as well, which goes to buttons hidden under the waistband. There is an invisible side zipper that is covered by the flower applique and train and extends into the hips. For the top, plain tulle was used as a lining and point d'espirit was used as the outside fabric. After creating my pattern, I cut it at a 45 degree angle at two and a half inch intervals and added seam allowances to create a chevron pattern in the textile. All seam allowances were cut down to a quarter of an inch after stitching. Push up bra cups were added in between layers and all edges were top stitched to finish it off. Lastly, in the back I added black velvet ribbon to mimic the corset backs of the other looks and ensure that the straps would stay in place with a deep v neck on both the front and the back.