Thursday, February 26, 2015

Late 1880s bustle dress from the ground up

This really is my first big project. I was invited to a masked ball (along with hubby) and the option was formal or historical costume. Of course I am going with costume! So after digging through my Truly Victorian pattern stash I decided on TV462 (tail bodice), TV367 (cascade over skirt), and TV263 (imperial under skirt). I have been wanting to make a late 1880s bustle dress for years. Yes!

However, in the beginning...there was period undergarments. None. So I knew this was going to be a ground up experience. Back to my Truly Victorian pattern stash. For my undergarments I used TV102 (drawers, chemise), TV110 (corset), TV170 (petticoat), TV163 (Imperial bustle).

The only non TV pattern I used was The Mantua Maker 1880s-1890s short petticoat. This one goes on under the corset and is about tea length. It adds extra volume and support to the skirts without adding bulk to the waistline.

Oh, and just to make things more fun, I was also making a costume for my dear friend. But all this planning started in August 2014 and the ball wasn't until Feb 2015. Plenty of time. My friends costume ask was for Simplicity 1819.  I made hers first and was done by November. I will post about her costume another day.

Now for my fun part! Fabricfabricfabric! I knew I wanted a stripe AND the Cascade over skirt is perfect for a vertical stripe fabric. So after some serious fabric searching I decided on a Marc Jacobs striped cotton from Mood fabrics. I think I bought about 14 yards of it. Per project piece in chunks, as I could afford it. It is a nice lightweight sheeting cotton. I wanted natural fibers because I am about 5 degrees hotter than everyone else. Most of the other fabric I needed for the corset and undergarments were already in my sewing room (hoarder).

Now, the easiest was for me to get my poor brain around the enormity of this project was to stack the patterns I was going to use where I could see them. And put them in the order I needed to make them. That was one big stack. But I had no time for tears. I started with the chemise and drawers. They made up really fast. You use lace beading on the top of the chemise and the neckline adjusts with a ribbon for day or evening necklines. I did shorten the drawers. I wanted them closer to my knees. These are traditional split drawers. Shoes and stocking avail via American Duchess.

Now for the corset! If you are doing a ground up costume it is best to make the main foundation before you make all the fitted garments. I am not a tight lacing person. So I was only going for about a 2 inch reduction in the waist.  If you have never made a corset before I really recommend the Truly Victorian pattern. It hits at the mid bust and comes in different cup sizes. The one pictured above wound up being my wearable muslin. It was one size too small. Grrrrr. But since I was on a time line. It would have to do, for now.... We will get back to the corset in a bit. Now it was time to press on!

Next up: Dat bustle....

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