Madame Morpho




This has been a dream project of mine for years; I've always thought that the back pleats of the popular Robe à la Française (aka sack-back or contouche) would be awesome if turned into butterfly wings.

Of course once I actually started doing the necessary research I discovered that the construction of the dress, historically, would preclude any kind of separate wings; the back is all one piece and it's just pleated up top. So I had to come up with my own solution (a dress back more like the Anglaise style, with separate pleats at the shoulder), which amusingly enough I discovered was actually done for a brief period in the 1790s - it's called the Piémontaise.

This dress was in limbo for a long time until I was finally able to find silk in the right colour; it was very difficult to find a bright blue crossdyed with black. Everybody has navy with black, or blue with green, but I only found the turquoise/black at Silk Baron. Dupioni is completely inaccurate historically, but it has the sheen I wanted for the butterfly-wings effect.

The hem of dress and wings were hand-painted with silk paints; I couldn't use regular silk dyes as they require steaming and the sections were too large to be steamed conventionally. The wings have fibreglass rods in the ends.

The stomacher is the same synthetic taffeta as the petticoat, all hand-embroidered with black bugles and iridescent charlotte beads. The shoes are the same fabric, with lace appliqué, beading and trims.

I made my own ruffle trims for the bodice out of bias-cut organza; tried it on the straight of grain at first but found it frays even with the pinking.

The mask is wire and beads with organza underlay, and I styled the wig. I also made all the underpinnings (stays, paniers, chemise and pockets); the stays and paniers are silk. The very roomy pockets in particular are SUPER useful; (historically accurate) slits in the dress give me access to much more stuff-carrying power than I've had with any costume in the past. I can fit a water bottle, wallet, makeup, con programme, a friend's wallet...XD


Views 1819
Last Updated 8 years ago
Created 9 years ago
Series Original
Character Madame Morpho


Garen Good lord, this is amazing. The research and engineering you've put into this are impressive, and the detail-work is stunning. I've done some crazy things with hand-detailing, but you have me beat, no contest.

Narnian Absolutely gorgeous!

Mohmoh THAT's wonderful and fairy. Love it...