I've often been frustrated that there are wonderful Victorian patterns available, but there is very little information on how to put the pieces together or the other finishing details that go into making a dress.
My goal with this article is to address this gap by doing a photographic analysis of the construction techniques used in three Victorian skirts in my personal collection. Due to the Single Pattern Project, I'm most interested in elliptical skirts, but I only have one in my collection. Therefore, I've chosen a skirt from the preceding Hoop era, and one from the following Early Bustle era to compare to the elliptical skirt.
Most in the reenacting and historical costuming communities spend countless hours and large amounts of money researching and executing the perfectly period-appropriate hourglass corset or bustle. We feel elegant and oh-so-Victorian with our suddenly-tiny waists and perfect posture.
It may be hard,then, for we, as modern women who don a corset for a few events a year, to understand the many difficulties presented by wearing these garments every day, and why there was a movement right at the start of the Victorian era to do away with them altogether.
While there are wonderful Victorian dress patterns available, either published in the period or drafted from extant dresses, there is very little information around on how to put the pieces together in a historically accurate way or complete the other finishing details that go into making a dress of this style.
If you're going to go for accuracy with your Single Pattern Project, Sunny Buchler redresses the balance for you this month with her photographic analysis and comparison of the construction techniques used in four 1860s bodices in her personal collection.
Nine pages and over a hundred large and detailed clickable images in this article alone will give you every minute detail you could ever want to know about constructing your bodice!
To ensure your Victorian dress is always smooth and perfect, you really need a petticoat. Here's the fastest way to rustle one up.
We're not the only ones who curse over our sewing. In the early 1870s, Celestia Freeman made herself a dress - and she struggled too!
I have the honor to own my great-grandmother’s 1875 wedding dress. The more I look closely at this heirloom, the more fascinating it is!
How to overcome the challenges of using original magazine patterns (in this case, from Peterson's), and pattern this interesting jacket.
If that isn't enough, also included are all patterns published by Peterson's in 1869!
1868-1875 is commonly known as "The First Bustle" period, but in fact it was one of several bustle periods in the 19th century, and it certainly wasn't the first!
This month we start a fashion review series, looking at the looping, shirring, pleating and draping methods that we now call a "bustle".
Folding and draping the fabric of a Victorian bustle was an art form. Let me show you how to create a simple "Butterfly" bustle drape.
A small boned cage bustle - not totally historically accurate but it's an easy-to-wear support with a lovely period silhouette.
Life often brings unexpected treasures. Kat studies an extant dress pattern from 1882 and looks at how this Natural Form Era gown fits a modern, uncorseted body.
You can easily picture your spectacular new gown trailing behind you as you make a grand entrance... but what about the dirt?
A wonderful example of fashionable US Victorian day dress, composed of polonaise and trained skirt. Part 2 features the complete pattern.
A wonderful example of fashionable Victorian day dress in America, composed of polonaise and trained skirt. Part 1: overview & skirt pattern.