Dress of Lady Elizabeth Villiers
This was made for a lady who is acquainted with my husband. She and her partner have been attending various events for some time and she wanted to purchase a stunning, quality dress. My favorite projects are recreating something right out of a painting or in this case an etching. There are inevitable departures. In this case, I think the original dress was probably lighter in value however it is clearly a morie taffeta with what looks to be velvet ribbon and a very light and open lace. Maybe Chantilly lace. We were very fortunate to find the lace for a only a few dollar per yard the taffeta was a different matter. I used a polyester taffetta imported from Italy because it was the closest in quality I was able to find to the etching and I didnt want to use a real silk morie because of the difficulty in caring for such a fickle fabric. I also love to try and get the very most of any project for my client. Originally we planned to make a separate evening bodice. After doing a little looking at the evening bodices of the period I realized that the lines of the day bodice were very similar to that of an evening bodice so I contrived to do an experiment. The yoke and sleeves of the day bodice are set in with snap tape and are removable (Image #3) eliminating the need for a second bodice. The skirt is fully lined as is the bodice. The bodice is lightly boned and laces up the back on an inner placket. The back of the bodice then closes with hand sewn hooks and eyes. The dress includes pockets and is finished with a small piece of antique cotton lace around the neck. I also made a small bell hoop (90" circumference) and petticoat to keep the lining of the skirt from grabbing on the cotton of the hoop.