Bram Stoker’s Dracula
Character: Wilhelmina Murray
Variant: Red dinner gown
Debut: October 2010
This gown is a fabric eater. Due to the fact that it’s completely (!) self-lined, the gown requires approx. 30 m (33 yds) of red shantung silk: 3 m for the self-lined bodice, 1,5 m for the self-lined sleeves, 10 m for the self-lined apron and bustle drapery, 12 m for the knife pleated skirt, 2 m for the waterfall drapery, 1 m for the corset and every piece of remnant fabric for the bud-like fabric appliques.
The bodice consists of four parts and closes in the back with an invisible zipper. The waist darts in front and back are not running vertical like ordinary waist seams, but they run diagonal. The whole bodice is assymetric and creates the impression of a wraped top.
This impression is additionally reinforced by two helical running trims of bud-like fabric appliques. These two applique trims start at the lowest point of the front and back neckline, wrap around the bodice and run down at the right side of the skirt at the edges of a waterfall drapery. The trims require a huge amount of bud-like fabric appliques in different sizes. Every bud is individualy made of a folded and ironed rectangular piece of fabric made of the same red silk than the rest of the gown. The exact way how the buds are made ist very difficult to descripe. I will post a tutorial with sketches later.
The upper part of the sleeves is tight-fitting. The lower part of the sleeves is slit into two petal-shaped lappets. The sleeves are slightly gathered in front at the height of the elbow.
Pleated skirt, apron and bustle drapery
The knife pleating was done by a pleating company. I experimented with different paper-models to determine the adequate width and depth of the knife pleats. The pleated fabric is secured by four rows of narrow ribbons which are sewn to the wrong side of the fabric. The pleated skirt is mounted on a ruby taffeta saddle skirt which is closed with lacing and frog closures at the back of the saddle skirt. The hem of the saddle skirt is decorated with a small red gimp and a red pleated trim.The assymetric apron and the bustle are draped from a nearly rectangular piece of red silk and are completely self-lined. They are directly sewn to the bodice.
Underwear and jewelry
We also made a corset to be worn underneath the gown. It’s also made of red shantung silk. I wear a relatively big bustle with several rows of ruffles and a underskirt with several rows of pleated ruffles underneath. The hair jewelry is self-made from three brooches, it’s mounted an a black wig. The ring and necklace are vintage.
- This garment is made in cooperation with Sven L. Weber from Tygron Design
- Andreas Kinder, Birgit Müller and Britta Claassen, thank you for the pictures!