Charlotte’s first appearance in the musical is returning from shopping and handing her package to Ella to be carried in to the house. We found some tiny boxes for her and Gabrielle to carry and tied them with bows to match their dresses.
Charlotte’s hair is discussed here. She wears a little pillbox hat that we removed the net from. Her hairpiece is actually pinned to the hat for a quick change.
I began by making a petticoat. Charlotte would wear a hoop throughout the show. She also has a bumpad. I chose a bedskirt with a deep eyelet ruffle on the bottom. I divided the width in half and sewed an additional strip of fabric on the top. I then put it on the dress form with a piece of waste fabric tied around the middle.
I pulled and tucked until I had it arranged over the hoop and bum pad the way I liked it. I put in some pins to mark the waist line. I took it off, and marked the lines between the pins with a washable marker. Luckily, I decided to fold it in half and check the length. It was so uneven it was ridiculous. Part of the problem is that when I divided the bedskirt in half, it hadn’t divided quite evenly. I’m not sure what the other part of the problem was!
For the next try I found a piece of stiff belting to use as the waistband. I put this on with the petticoat over it. I pinned the petticoat directly to the waistband.
Then I took it off, and finished pleating the fabric on to the waistband. At that point, I tried it on again to double check the fit and length, and then cut the excess off. I ran several rows of zig-zag stitching on the waistband to secure it and help prevent fraying. The waistband closed with some velcro. Later on I did add some snaps for added security.
I began with this dress:
This was a burgundy taffeta dress with a very full skirt. It had a zip back. The front was embellished with embroidery, lace motifs and some beads and sequins. It was fully lined. We were just barely able to zip it up. In the interest of not ripping the zipper out in the middle of a show, I opened the lining and side seams and was able to get about another inch of space. Because of the way the embroidery was appliqued around the bottom of the bodice, I was limited in how much I could open the seams without doing a ton of work. Later, we decided Charlotte needed to wear her corset at the beginning of the show, and so she needed additional room. I sewed a piece of 3″ grosgrain ribbon next to the zipper, and added velcro to close the dress. It didn’t show because she covered it with a jacket.
The dress was worn over the hoop, bum pad and petticoat. The height of the bum pad pulled the back of the dress up a few inches.
I used a pleated valance to make a half-underskirt to fill in the gap.
I sewed it to the lining once I had the placement adjusted.
I found a jacket that toned with the dress. It looked much better in the light of my workspace than it did onstage, but it is OK. I neglected to take a “before” picture, but I think you will get the idea. It was a vintage “evening” style jacket with some significant shoulder pads and a button closure at the waist. It was a bit large, but that was fine, because I wanted there to be a peplum-look.
I began by shaping the back:
And then I worked on the front:
I sewed the tuck down the center back to the outside and then topstitched it down, which gave it that nice pleated look at the bottom. I took in the curved back seams and the side seams a little bit to get the shape and fit I wanted.
I stitched the pleats and tucks down in the front to shape the jacket. Then came the decision on whether to use the front button or not. We opted to use the open look. Well, that isn’t exactly how it worked. I thought this looked fine. I was told otherwise. I fixed it . . and she was right, lol.
I did think the sleeves looked unfinished, so I went on a hunt for some lace or something. I found this dress:
I used the skirt to make some sleeve frills. I ended up using the waist decoration for the closure on the jacket. I removed the stitching at the waist and carefully deconstructed that part of the dress. I stitched one end to one side of the jacket opening, and put some velcro on the other side. You can see it in the top picture of Charlotte.
And that was pretty much it!
This dress was repeated in Act II in the Shoe-trying-on-scene. She wore it over her dress that she would wear in the Wedding scene. It didn’t quite fit, but, she just left it open in the back, and it didn’t show under the jacket.
Cost: dress $10.19, Jacket: $3.79, Valance: $2.99, bedskirt: $0.50, childs dress: $2.79
This was a fairly easy outfit to make. I think I spent the most time on the petticoat. Originally I had thought she would wear it throughout the entire show, but, as it turned out, she only wore it in the first Act under this dress. The flashes of white did set up for the white dress underneath in Act II however. This outfit was really fun because the original dress had such a richly full skirt.
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