I've made many different dresses from many different eras, but late Victorian, and Natural Form in particular, is a new one for me! I've wanted to try the style for ages, but the fitting of those long-line princess styles intimidated me for a long time. I was inspired by a drawing in Janet Arnold's Patterns of Fashion 2 (pg.8), of a "Gainsborough Princesse Dress" from The London and Paris Ladies' Magazine of Fashion, January 1879. (The original plate is in the V&A's collection, but I can't for the life of me find it on their website!) This plate from Peterson's Magazine from 1880 at least has a dress with a similar design, second from left, in black and red.
Since I decided to make this dress on a bit of a whim, everything is from my stash. The gown is lightweight wool suiting, the attached waistcoat is a 17" silk shantung remnant (lots of piecing!), and the skirt is bargain-bin striped silk taffeta. I even stole the buttons for the waistcoat from one of my old dresses! Everything is lined in polished cotton. I started with the Truly Victorian 1882 tea gown pattern, and did some pretty heavy tweaking, at least to the fronts! I made the hat all from stash as well.
The dress is machine sewn, with hand finishings. I'm much more familiar with earlier hand-sewing techniques, so that was actually a challenge for me! I don't know too much detail about late Victorian construction, so I just did what seemed reasonable - flat linings, facings, etc.
I'm quite pleased with it overall; it's a very elegant style. I might be a convert to this late Victorian thing yet!