FHC Creative Arts Fellowship student creates 18th-century Versailles court gown

September 21, 2023

Maya Jones, a junior in the Frederick Honors College majoring in history and theater arts, participated in this summer's Creative Arts Fellowship through which she created an 18th-century Versailles court gown.

Jones became interested in historical fashion during the pandemic and wanted to make a dress in the style of the French court. She entered college looking for an opportunity for the funding and extensive time to research and create such a gown. Of her creative process, Jones stated:

"I found the Creative Arts Fellowship through being in the Honors 0001 Research Foundations class and knew it would be the perfect way to bring this dress to life. The process of making it was time-consuming but exciting! I developed and tested all of the patterns myself, fitting them all to my measurements to create a dress I could potentially wear. After doing the preliminary research in the spring, I spent about 2 months working on all the understructure that gives the dress its shape, and then I spent about a month working on the dress itself. It took over 300 hours of sewing to complete. I really enjoyed designing all the trim to decorate the dress, and then watching it come to life as I slowly added all the finishings. If I could do anything differently, I would cut the back panel with the pleats about 10-20" wider to give the pleats more depth and let it flow over the side hoops a little better. The width I used worked really nicely in the muslin mock-up, but in the finer silk taffeta I would have liked more volume. I also had a lot of fun working with Megan Massanelli on the exhibit for the Digital Interactive Wall. I enjoyed having the opportunity to show off some of my research beyond what is visible in the finished gown."

Jones' gown and digital interactive wall exhibit, Research Behind Constructing an 18th Century Court Gown, will be on display in Hillman Library with an opening on October 4, 2023, and will remain on display through next summer.