Most people start out believing that the only things that influence the gowns they make are their budget and sewing skill. While these are significant, there are other aspects of making the perfect gown that also play a part. The purpose of your gown plays a significant part in what your final gowns will look like. A good aid to considering the gown’s purpose is by thinking of the five Ws: Who, What, When, Where and Why.
The type of character you are playing:
If you are a peasant, then naturally you will want peasant dress. The gown will be simple and modest, using rougher fabrics and less decoration. A noblewoman, on the other hand, can wear velvets, silks, satins and brocades. If you are playing a particular class or station, or a person in a particular year, you will have to research the particulars for that specific time frame and station.
The choice of a gown:
The length of time you wear this gown and the activities you will be doing, will substantially influence your choice of gowns. If it is a wedding gowns, you will not be doing much, recept sitting, standing, or perhaps dancing. Therefore, you are free to choose from a variety of gowns styles, including ones with wide skirts, trains, veils and other restrictive elements. If you are wearing the gown for an outdoor reenactment, or for working at a living history site, you will be in it for several hours a day and doing lots of walking, reaching and bending. In such a case, you will want clothing, which offers as much comfort and freedom of movement as possible.
When will this gown be worn?
A wedding gown is worn once, or at most two or three times before putting it away. It does not have to be durable, or easy to clean. This is a chance to go all out with expensive, delicate fabrics. However, at times, the designers need to create gowns that should fit well and be comfortable. In such a case, the fabric has to be durable and easy to clean.
Where will this gown be worn?
Where the gowns will be worn that is indoors or out, in the sun or in the rain, during winter or summer or both, is something to take into account. If the gowns are for a wedding, you will probably be indoors most of the time. You do not have to worry about excessive sun or rain and can use expensive and glitzy fabrics for your gowns without worrying about damage by mud, rain or sweat from too much heat.
The purpose of making the gown:
Every gown has specific requirements for authenticity, color and design particulars. Articulating the reason you are making the gowns, helps bring into focus the particular qualities it has to have.