Laura’s Blue and White 1870s Victorian Day Dress from J. Sheridan Le Fanu’s Carmilla

Click for larger version; click for the list of dolls.

So yesterday I did the vampire Carmilla’s bloody nightgown, and then I got to thinking how unfair it was that she got all the attention and long-suffering Laura got none. As a matter of fact, I can’t even remember Laura’s name without referring to Wikipedia or my previous entry. Face it, you really have to pile on the lace to make mild victims as interesting as seductive vampire women in bloody nightgowns. And so pile I did, and here is a dress from 1870 that Laura might have worn. To be honest, even though as near as I can tell 1870 is an accurate enough date for the book’s setting, I thought long and hard about going back a few years for inspiration. After all, Laura and her father lived in a castle in Germany in the middle of nowhere and who knows how well Laura kept up with English fashion in between vampire ravishings. But then I thought, she was still a growing girl and if her dresses were two or three years old, maybe she’d have outgrown them and wouldn’t be wearing anything that old? Maybe since her father is sort of vaguely rich, she orders a lot of new dresses? Maybe she spends a lot of time remaking her dresses referring to whatever fashion news she can get, because life in an isolated castle is so boring? So I over-thought this until I got fed up and tried to make an 1870s style day dress anyways, like I had initially planned. Since it’s not a copy of any one dress, it’s probably not historically accurate (I definitely have my misgivings about the way the overskirt turned out) but oh well, it was sure fun to draw.

New poll tomorrow, but this one will remain open for a few days yet…

Blood-Stained Violet Embroidered White Victorian Night Dress from J. Sheridan Le Fanu’s Carmilla

Click for larger version bloody / clean; click for the list of dolls.

So the server held up all right, but I’m still reeling from the Metafilter aftershocks. Usually I get about 400 unique visitors every day, and I was really excited when that turned into 500, late October when everyone was searching for Halloween stuff — how long will it take me to top 2,824?

Even if nothing will ever be as good again, life must go on. I’ve been thinking about all the audiobooks I listened to this year and never did a paperdoll outfit for — just off the top of my head I can think of half a dozen that offered fertile paperdolling grounds. So I think now that the year is coming to a close, it’s a good time to stop regretting the outfits that never were and start making them happen!

This is from J. Sheridan Le Fanu’s classic 1872 vampire novel Carmilla, which isn’t as well known as Dracula but heavily influenced it. I listened to the Librivox version read by Elizabeth Klett a couple months back. Even though it was published so long ago I feel rather like I’m spoiling it, but in any case it’s no surprise that the Carmilla of the title is the vampire, preying on the sheltered and innocent Laura as well as just about everyone else in the town. In one scene she is portrayed as standing at the foot of Laura’s bed, “in her white nightdress, bathed, from her chin to her feet, in one great stain of blood.” As you know, I aim for accuracy in all things. (Brian said he could hardly stand looking at it…)

Now undoubtedly there are those of you out there thinking not “Poor, poor Laura, so near succumbing to the vampire Carmilla!” but instead thinking “Poor, poor night dress, so beautifully made and so sadly stained with Carmilla’s dinner!” Don’t worry, I’ve learned from my experience with the Good Queen. Look, through the magic of paperdolling you can wake up with Laura and be quite sure that it was all a bad dream…

I still haven’t finished my Halloween poll series. I fear that the nightshade fairy has quite an advantage, though…