I found this photograph from probably 1885 in an old family photo album. It presumably shows my great-great-greatmother Klara Julie Helene Mathilde Vogel at the age of 18. She was the daughter of a merchant in Germany. If you look closely at the photograph, you can see that it is "photoshopped" - the waist has been made smaller.
To get the silhouette right, the right underclothes were absolutely necessary. A corset is worn, which decreases the waist circumference, lifts the breasts and is padded at the hips. The underskirt is quilted at the bottom to create a smooth underlayer for the skirt and the necessary circumference at the bottom. The small Cul de Paris supports the back draping and the bust improver (which really was worn by some women at that time) adds fullness to the bust.
I based my jacket pattern on various existing patterns of the time. It consists of two panels at the back, one side panel and two panels at the front, one of which has a big dart. I made the inset out of the same material. The centre back has deep pleats. I used horsehair and canvas like I have seen on jackets of that time.
I draped the skirt on a stand. The front part is cut as an A-line skirt with two darts at each side, while the back is cut straight and arranged into pleats. One piece is used for the front draping and another one for the draping at the back. Both are lined with a sturdy wool.
I used the same braid trimming for the inset, the edges and the three dimensional trimming at the sleeves.