At some point a few months ago, Melinda and I were reading up on 18th century costume. We had several large books out from the library on the subject, and they were full of detailed photos of gorgeous, actual garments from that period.
Not surprisingly, it wasn’t long before we began to ask ourselves if we could make a dress packed with 18th century inspiration but still relevant for today. It was something to ponder, and we started sketching almost right away!
The Snowflake dress was the result. Nobody would think twice about you wearing it to go window shopping with your friends or for a holiday party; but it’s packed with 18th century elements! The square neckline; the elongated, pointed bodice; and elbow-length sleeves with short little flanges all contribute to the period silhouette.
And, of course, we had to make sure the skirt was gathered at the sides and flat at the center front; this is a very 18th century way to attach skirts, as it used to be the fashion to wear huge side petticoats (they were called panniers) beneath their skirts.
Some things about this dress just aren’t historical, though. I don’t think they would have made it up in a soft cream wool (they were mostly into silks, I think), or used deep blue bias binding to accent the main lines, like we did. And I have no idea what they would have thought of a knee-length skirt!
Anyway, I think we definitely were successful in designing an 18th century inspired dress—several main elements about the dress clearly recall the period, once you know that’s what you’re looking for; but it has enough modernity to be very relevant, charming, and well-dressed today!