Something Old, Something New

Something borrowed, something… bright fluorescent red?  Yeah, that saying isn’t holding up.  

I started brainstorming how I was going to make the structure for my Carmilla project.  Namely, the undergarments. I’m trying for a historical-ish, Elizabethan style gown, so I’ll do the same for the underwear.  

I’d like to do a chemise and drawers, which are a little more Victorian than Elizabethan, but which would kill two birds with one stone.  One – those undergarments will help protect my probably-not-easily-washable gown from coming in direct contact with my skin, which will help the dress itself stay cleaner longer.  Two – I already have a chemise and drawers, made for a previous costume, so if I can reuse them, it would be awesome.  

The drawers are an easy reuse.  I made them for my Suiseiseki costume from Rozen Maiden, which I did as a historical, early Victorian/Civil War era gown.  I made them out of a heavy cotton fabric, so they’re machine washable on a gentle cycle.  Since the drawers were part of Suiseiseki’s costume, and she uses plant-based magic and has a kind of plant and flower theme to her, I added some lace trim with roses on it to the edges of the pant legs, and added a green ribbon into one of the trim pieces.  I can easily swap out the green ribbon to a red more suited to Carmilla. The flower lace is there to stay. I’m thinking that Carmilla would probably have been a Toreador if she existed in Vampire:The Masquerade, though, given her vanity about her appearance, so I’m okay with the roses being part of the theme.  

The chemise I have is… likely not going to work.  I’d love to reuse it since it matches the drawers in fabric and style, but with the neckline on Carmilla’s gown, it’s probably going to show.   I’m thinking I want some kind of front panel on the dress itself to make my life a little simpler and to allow me to wear some kind of corset under the dress, but I’d like that front panel to stop under my boobs so I can keep a better, more screen-accurate shape to the top of the dress.  I took a crack at designing a very specific chemise just for this dress, but it’s going to need the deepest of V-necks to work.  

A chemise and drawers on a dress form
The fanciest underwear I’ve ever made

Then, a corset.  I definitely want one.  I do not have the trim waistline of an undead royal, so I’m going to need some help in the form of steel boning.  Again, with that damn open front, I’m going to have to get creative with the design of any corsetry, but I think I can manage it.  I’m going to try to split the difference between an Elizabethan corset and a sort of fifties style shaping garment with cups. I’m going to need to do about ten mockups to get that right.  I’d also like to make a farthingale for the skirt. I don’t think a farthingale requires additional petticoats the way a Victorian cage crinoline needs them, but I need to do a little more research.  Elizabethan costumes aren’t really my area, and most of the costume reference books I own are based on Victorian era styles. Since the apocalypse is nigh, and all of the libraries are closed, I need to find some alternate research resources.  

Once again, I spent a little time doodling how I want things to look.  The little circles around the waist are points where I plan to tie the farthingale to the corset.  I have a pattern for the farthingale which will probably work just fine, but I’m likely going to need to pattern the corset and chemise myself.    

A sketch of costume undergarments
Yet another planning sketch

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