June 2011

Since I don't exactly have many places to wear my historical costumes to, I decided to fun up the Victorian mourning gown so I could wear it to a steampunk event.  The inspiration for the corset, which I call the Sweeney Scissorhands corset, came from Tim Burton's movies, Sweeney Todd, and Edward Scissorhands.  I love how he can make a dark, drab garment somehow whimsical and full of personality. I had leftover straps and buckles from a previous kilt-making streak, and so I wanted to incorporate those. I also wanted to add a chain somehow, and D rings.

When I first started planning the 1883 Victorian walking dress, I came across a photo of Victorian ladies in mourning. Apparently, photographing people displaying their grief was common; they wanted a way to memorialize that part of their lives. I was fascinated by the photo. I started researching mourning etiquette, wanting to learn more.   The Victorians took mourning very seriously; at first, that seems very morbid. But, it serves a very important point. It gives people the time and the right to grieve; to process and to mourn and to wallow.

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