This is my first ever bustle gown. Because of that, I really wanted to include all my favorite things about bustle gowns - namely, pleated trim, fur trim, waterfall pleats, and a little pleated peplum on the back of the bodice. Since I'm still new to the bustle era, I don't know whether the Victorians ever used all of these ideas in one gown, but I like how they look all together. All of these were new techniques to me, and it amazed me just how much fabric a bustle gown incorporates, especially in the waterfall pleats. I knew that I wanted this to be a Ravenclaw gown, since a group of us were originally planning on doing Harry Potter houses at Costume College next year, so that meant I had to keep in a navy/gold color scheme. Luckily, about half the fabric was able to come from the stash!
The navy blue wool was left over from my Victorian and Edwardian bathing suits, and the gold velvet in the waterfall pleats were actually two ugly throw pillows that came with my Craigslist couch! The fur trim and gold braid were purchased in the Los Angeles Garment District after Costume College, and the rest of the fabrics (plaid homespun cotton, gold cotton for the hidden parts of the waterfall pleats, and black twill for the interlining) came from Joanns. The bodice pattern is a highly altered Truly Victorian pattern, and the skirts were based on a pattern in Period Costume for Stage and Screen. I also made a lobster-tail bustle based on American Duchess' tutorial, and a ruffled petticoat.
Almost everything was done with my sewing machine, save the finishing of the bodice and sewing on my Ravenclaw patch. I was amazed how much I relied on my zig zag stitch to attach all those trims! I was also very thankful that my trusty Viking Emerald can handle 28 layers at once, including canvas, wool, and velvet - those waterfall pleats are thick!
I wore this outfit to Steamcon, here in Seattle, as well as for wandering around town on Halloween, and I plan to wear it again for Costume College this coming year. It is accessorized with my vintage mink muff, Time Turner, wand, Prefect badge, and vintage gloves. I love the way the bustle gown makes me feel, and I look forward to delving more into this period in the future.
See more at Rebecca's blog.