Black Wool Dress with Teal Silk Trim
Fabrics. com had a great sale on this wool early last year for around $1.70 a yard or something like that. It was less than $2 a yard, whatever the exact price may have been. I ordered a bunch of it since it was such a good price but didn't have any real idea what I was going to make from it. When I received the fabric I noticed it had a thin silver stripe in it, a nice lightweight hand and lots of body. It was a lovely fabric, mostly wool with a mix of silk.
I didn't make it up til later than fall (October of 2008) when I was pregnant with Malachi. I wanted a bit of a fancier dress to wear for "best" so I made it up as a seperate bodice and skirt. The bodice has a postillion back and a slightly pointed front and is darted - darts being common for wool and silk dresses of the period. The sleeves are very simple coat sleeves that are cut wide and slightly high, to show off lace-trimmed undersleeves beneath. The sleeves are trimmed with ruched teal colored silk and I made homemade covered buttons with pennies and wool batting and scraps of silk to make the decorative buttons down the front of the bodice.The skirt is made of three 60" panels and is pleated to a brown cotton fabric waistband and whip stitched on. The skirt is basted to the bodice around most of the bodice, leaving the point in the front hanging free.
I have worn this dress quite often since I made it. I need to bone the center front point and the darts to make the fit more smooth but now that my figure has changed after having the baby, I think I may just remake the whole bodice anyway with leftover wool to get a better fit.
I have worn this dress to dances, a birthday party for Abraham Lincoln as well as to colder events where the wool keeps me cozy. I'm so glad I made it. It has definitely become a wardrobe staple! Now I understand why black dresses, either silk or wool, were so common in the period. They are nice basic canvases to dress up with different accessories and are appropriate for almost all occasions in almost all types of weather. I am not crazy about the color of the silk I used to trim it with but suprisingly I have received more compliments on the combination of this color and black than any of the other dresses I've ever made. So I'm starting to think it might be all right, too. :)