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Made for Dragoncon 2011
Background: I’ve had Marie Antoinette on my “want” list for years. I decided to finally go for it this year, and to make my own take on it, instead of basing it on an existing costume.
Construction: I had had Simplicity’s 3635 and 3637 in my pattern collection for a while, so I used both of those for the under-things, and the dress, along with Jean Hunnisett’s Period Costumes for Stage and Screen (which was extremely useful.) I started on my underthings in May, and started with the corset.
For the corset, I used a blue and white striped cotton and canvas. For the hoops, I used a white eyelet cotton. I had never made hoops before and was nervous about it but they turned out all right. Luckily I had bought some hooping for Lady Gaga last year I wasn’t able to use – it was exactly how much I needed for these hoops Also made a petticoat out of netting and purple lining material.
For the dress itself I had planned to use a pale blue and white, with floral decorations. I, stupidly, did not order fabric samples and blindly ordered 15 yards of what looked like light blue taffeta. What came was a royal blue taffeta that at first I did not want – but I fell in love with the new colour and decided to go ahead with it. The dress construction went fairly smoothly, the only change I made was that I lined the front panels of the skirt. For the underskirt, I had a single piece of white and silver fabric my aunt got for me for Christmas – I didn’t have enough for a full underskirt, so I pleated it, hemmed it and attached it to the underskirt.
I decided to make a pleated trim out of silver satin for the front trim – I liked how it looked enough (and had so much blue material leftover) that I decided to do a set of blue trim, too, included two circular pieces on each side. I beaded the silver trim with clear glass & crystal beads, and the blue trim with blue crystal beads.
I left the stomacher until last – I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do, initially wanted to do embroidery in similar shades of blue. Eventually I decided to leave it plain, and do another piece of the pleated trim along the top with some of the silver trim I’d been saving. I used a different silver trim on the sleeves, and also some pearls on the silver sleeves (leftover from Arwen back in 2003!).
For the shoes, I decided to just use a pair I already had, with some bows added. The necklace and earrings I made, also. The wig was fun! I used 3 wigs. I started out with a cheap Marie Antoinette costume wig. (Boy did it look as cheap as it cost!). I used that as the base – it provided a decent amount of “oomph.” I split the back of it open and sewed in an extra foam piece for height. Then I sewed a long plain blonde Godiva wig. I already had to the cap of the cheap wig, and layered it over the top of it, gluing and pinning it to keep it in place. Once that was pretty solid, I sewed my “good” wig into the cap also, then layered it up and around the base I’d made, again spraying it and pinning it to stay in place. I decorated it with some pretty pins I got, some pearl trim, and a nice big feather I have a more indepth tutorial I wrote as I making it on my blog here.
TARDIS Version: Because of the colour, I thought it would be fun to also make a TARDIS version of the dress – the whole idea was, if Marie Antoinette met the Doctor, how would she memorialize their meeting? I left all of the extra pieces til right before Dragoncon; I wanted to finish everything else I was making and this was last on the list, because it was something “extra.” The hat I bought and covered in my own fabric. I made the “lantern panes” on it out of white felt covered in silver sequins and rhinestones. I also glued blue sequins around the edge of the hat, and put a bow on top.The “Police Box” banner I made out of black satin, with the phrase heat-transferred on. The windows were made out of white satin and blue ribbon (I remade them in 2013). The windows and Police Box banner are held on with magnets, so I didn’t have to sew snaps or anything onto the actual dress. The windows are one thing I’d like to update and make a little more “stiff” looking. The fan I bought, pulled the fabric off, repainted silver, and re-attached new fabric with the part of the “police telephone” sign heat-transferred to it.
History: I’ve worn this several more times – one of my favourites.
Personal note: While I’m very flattered many people like this, I’d really appreciate it if people didn’t directly copy my costume. I’ve seen people do direct copies of my costume, right down to the non-TARDIS elements, and try to sell them, which isn’t all that nice to see. If you’re going to do a TARDIS costume, make it your own! Just a personal plea – thanks for understanding
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(Regular Marie Antoinette on the left, TARDIS version on the right.)