Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘victorian costumes’

Blouse

1910’s Edwardian blouse, made from cotton batiste

I made a Victorian Fan Skirt a while ago and recently made a bolero jacket to match, using the last of the leftover fabric. The next thing to make was a blouse, often called a “shirtwaist” during this period.

Blouses for women had increased in popularity during the second half of the 19th century. This new form of dressing for daytime meant that there was a bit more flexibility in shirt-and-skirt combinations than had previously been the case, especially when the mode of dress in previous times had been only gowns. This change in fashion during the Victorian era, from gowns to two-piece ensembles, really paved the way for a new element of women’s dress that would continue into the 20th century, gradually making women’s clothing more similar to mens.

I particularly wanted a blouse with a high collar, back-closing, with a pin-tucked front and insertion lace, and with sleeves that were not too full. In short, I can’t tell if my new blouse is an early Edwardian blouse or a late Victorian one!

Pattern

I used a variety of sources to “make” my pattern.

Ladies' Street Costume, Summer 1893, from Authentic Victorian Fashion Patterns.

Ladies’ Street Costume, Summer 1893, from “Authentic Victorian Fashion Patterns”.

The pattern I used for my bolero jacket (from Authentic Victorian Fashion Patterns, edited by Kristina Harris) included a pattern for a shirtwaist blouse. I used this pattern for the sleeves and the cuffs, as well as the back panel.

A free pattern from Ladies Treasury for a sleeveless blouse was helpful to use for the collar shape.

A free pattern from Vintage Connection for an Edwardian blouse was helpful to use for the enlarged front panel, which I needed to make the tucks.

I graded the different parts of the original patterns up and then made the necessary adjustments according to my measurements.

This blouse was made from white cotton batiste, with cotton embroidered insertion lace, cotton lace edging, and plastic “mother of pearl” buttons.

Construction Steps

Step One: First I did pin-tucks down the centre front of the front panel. There were fours sections of pin-tucking, each with four rows of pin-tucks each. Then the material was slashed in-between the two rows at the left and in-between the two rows at the right. This slash allowed for the insertion lace to be attached.

The front panel, with rows of pin tucks.

The front panel, with rows of pin tucks. The slash on the left of the centre front is for a row of insertion lace.

Step Two: As my insertion lace had a “seam allowance” on each side, I could not sew it the easier way. Instead I had to slash the material and sew the lace on right-sides-together. The unfinished raw edges were folded under on the wrong side and hand-stitched down.

The insertion lace pinned down to sew.

The insertion lace pinned down to sew.

Step Three: The last thing to do on the front panel was to pin-tuck the shoulder seam area. This was tucked to fit the back shoulder seam. The tucks were released before the bustline, to allow a bit of extra fullness.

The front panel shoulder seam is tucked to fit the back shoulder seam. The tucks are released to form fullness for the bust.

The front panel shoulder seam is tucked to fit the back shoulder seam. The tucks are released to form fullness for the bust.

Step Four: Once the centre front was completed, I turned my attention to the back panel. As the back panel housed the button placket, I prepared the centre back by folding over the centre back edges.

The back panel, with button placket preparation.

The back panel, with button placket preparation.

As it turned out, the back panel was not wide enough for my figure and I had to unfold this section and then add a separate button placket later to give me a few more inches!

Step Five: The side seams and shoulder seams of the blouse were then sewn.

Step Six: The top edges of the collar were sewn together. A small lace edging was also included in this seam so it would adorn the top edges of the collar when it was right side out.

The two layers of the collar was sewn right-sides-together. A small lace edging was also sewn in the seam.

The two layers of the collar was sewn right-sides-together. A small lace edging was also sewn in the seam at this step.

The collar was then attached to the garment, sewing the outer layer of the collar to the blouse with the machine, and then hand-sewing the inner layer of the collar, making sure all the raw edges are tucked under. I did gather (or heavily eased) the neck edge of the blouse to get the collar to fit better.

The collar finished, showing the lace edging.

The collar finished, showing the lace edging.

Step Seven: The sleeves were then sewn. As this blouse needs a shirt-sleeve placket, it is wise to make the placket *before* you sew the sleeve seam (which of course is NOT what I did!). Here is a great tutorial on making a shirt-sleeve placket.

Once the sleeve seams were sewn, the head of the sleeve was gathered and set into the armhole of the blouse.

The bottom edge of the sleeve was gathered to fit the cuffs. The cuffs were sewn together, with the same thin lace edging around the outer edge that I used in the collar. Then the cuffs were attached to the bottom of the sleeve. (For more on the basic attaching of cuffs, see this tutorial.)

The cuffs finished, showing the lace edging and the button.

The cuffs finished, showing the lace edging, the button, and shirt-sleeve placket.

Step Eight: The final finishing steps involved hemming the bottom of the shirt and running a bias-binding casing around the waist. A cotton tape was inserted through this so it could be drawn up to fit snuggly underneath the skirt. Finally a row of buttons were sewn as fastenings down the centre back and on the cuffs.

Unfortunately I had not taken adequate measurements of my width, nor my height, nor my arm length! This meant that the centre back had to have an extra placket added (as mentioned above), the bottom of the blouse had a bit added beneath the casing to make it longer, and the sleeves still need to be pulled apart and re-made so they reach down to my wrists! This is one of the lessons I seem to have to learn again and again with each sewing project.

Anyway, here is the finished garment!

The front view

The front view, with three decorative buttons sewn down the centre front.

The back view

The back view, showing the buttons and the casing ties.

Myself and my daughter at our recent outing to see the new Anne of Green Gables movie.

My daughter and I at our recent outing to see the new Anne of Green Gables movie.

My new ensemble was now desperately looking for a place to “go-and-show” and it was lucky that the new Anne of Green Gables movie was coming out in Melbourne at just the right time! My daughter and I got dressed in our finery, stocked ourselves up with some raspberry cordial and plum puffs, did our hair the best we could, and took ourselves off to the theatre.

My daughter wore her Anne of Green Gables outfit, while I wore my gored petticoat, fan skirt, bolero jacket and my new shirtwaist.

Needless to say, the movie was a great success! Whilst it could never compare to my own personal favourite Megan Follows, I am excited that a new series may reinvigorate a new generation to be Anne-ites.

Related Posts

Making a Bolero Jacket

Making a Victorian Fan Skirt

Making a Gored Petticoat

Sources and Relevant Links

Image Source: 1910’s Blouse at Adored Vintage

Authentic Victorian Fashion Patterns: A Complete Lady’s Wardrobe, edited by Kristina Harris – buy on Amazon

Sleeveless Blouse for Suits, c. 1905 – free pattern from Ladies Treasury

Edwardian Shirt Waist (Blouse) Pattern, c. 1903 – free pattern from Vintage Connection

How to sew insertion lace – by Wearing History

Attaching a collar – by Grainline Studio

The Shirt-Sleeve Placket – by Off The Cuff

How to sew a button cuff – Youtube tutorial by Professor Pincushion

Reflection on the White Shirt and Womankind – by Fashion Archeology

The new Anne of Green Gables movie – trailer on Youtube

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

Ladies' Street Costume, Summer 1893, from Authentic Victorian Fashion Patterns.

Ladies’ Street Costume, Summer 1893, from Authentic Victorian Fashion Patterns.

Quite a while ago I made a Victorian Fan Skirt, which I generally wear dancing with just a T-shirt. However, I began to feel that it would be nice to make a matching jacket using the left over material. It could then be used as more of a complete costume, instead of just a dancing skirt.

I did not have very much material left, so I thought a bolero jacket would be the easiest option, as it used the least fabric.

Bolero jackets had been quite popular since the 1850’s and 60’s, and continued to be so through to early Edwardian times. They differ from the warm winter jacket and coats, that clearly were designed for warmth. Instead they seem to be more of a decorative fashion.

Pattern

I used a pattern from Authentic Victorian Fashion Patterns, edited by Kristina Harris. This pattern book is a reproduction of patterns that were published in the popular dressmaker’s journal, The Voice of Fashion. The patterns are all authentic 1890’s patterns and cover a wide range of women’s clothing.

I graded the original pattern up and then made the necessary adjustments according to my measurements.

The pattern drafted and then cut out enlarged to fit my measurements.

The original pattern is drafted onto grid paper and then cut out enlarged to fit my measurements.

This jacket was made from the same materials as my Victorian Fan Skirt, with blue cotton outer and white cotton broadcloth lining.

Construction Steps

The construction of this bolero jacket was very simple, as there was no sleeves, no collar and no fastenings. It was also fairly simple to fit without doing a mock-up.

Step One: I began by sewing the side seams together in the outer fabric. Then I sewed the side seams of the lining together.

Step Two: Then the outer and the lining were placed right sides together and sewn around the outer edges. In the picture below you can see that the only part left unsewn is the shoulder seams.

The side seams have been sewn and now the outer is attached to the lining.

The side seams have been sewn and now the outer is attached to the lining.

The curves are clipped and then the jacket is turned the right way and pressed well.

Step Three: The shoulder seams can now be sewn. The outer layer is sewn first with the sewing machine, and then the raw edges of the lining are folded in and handsewn down.

Step Four: Embroidery is one embellishment that I love to do on my clothes, and this jacket was no exception. I drew a design on the edges and embroidered it with one strand of white DMC cotton in chain stitch.

The embroidery, which is a more mid-19th-century design.

The embroidery, which is a more mid-19th-century design.

And here is the finished garment!

The front view

The front view

The back view

The back view

Stay tuned for the next post on making a shirtwaist blouse to complete this ensemble!

Related Posts

Making a Victorian Fan Skirt

Making a Gored Petticoat

Sources and Relevant Links

Authentic Victorian Fashion Patterns: A Complete Lady’s Wardrobe, edited by Kristina Harris – buy on Amazon

Pattern for a Bodice with Bolero Front (c. 1896) – at Ladies Treasury

How to make a simple bolero jacket – Youtube tutorial

Read Full Post »

The drawing in Janet Arnold's

The drawing in Janet Arnold’s “Pattern of Fashion 2”.

In the first part of this series, I concentrated on making the skirts of this early-1870’s gown. The skirts have such a nice drapery about them!

For this post I will be looking at the construction of the ballgown bodice. Ballgown bodices of this era often had short sleeves or were occasionally sleeveless. They were quite decorated around the bust and sleeve area, and often appeared to be almost off-the-shoulder.

Pattern

The pattern I am using is from Janet Arnold’s Patterns of Fashion 2. This particular gown has three separate skirts (the underskirt, the overskirt and the basque), as well as two bodices (the evening bodice and the day bodice).

I normally post pictures of all the pattern pieces, but I have found this gown slightly more complicated than others that I have done, so I suggest purchasing the book if you are intending to make this particular garment. Instead I have listed the pieces below:

  • Bodice front (cut 2, plus 2 lining)
  • Bodice back (cut 1 on fold, plus 1 lining on fold)
  • Bertha (left, right, front and back) (cut 4, plus 4 lining and 4 net)
  • Sleeve (cut 2)
  • Sleeve lining and gusset (cut 2 of each)
  • Sleeve band (cut 2)
  • Waistband (cut 1, plus 1 lining)

This garment was made from a printed striped cotton fabric and the lining was a white cotton broadcloth. The trims on the garment are made from a polyester shot maverick shantung.

I made a mock-up of the bodice first, just to sort out any fitting issues. I had to adjust the bertha quite significantly to fit it properly, and the waistline had to be enlarged.

Construction Steps

Step One: Once the pattern pieces were cut out, I mounted the outer fabric of the bodice pieces onto their corresponding lining pieces and treated them as one.

Step Two: I sewed the bodice side seams, then the front darts to fit. I sewed the shoulder seams.

The darts and side seams all sewn.

The darts and side seams all sewn. The shoulder seams are yet to be sewn.

Step Three: The bertha has an outer layer (cotton), lining layer (cotton) and inner layer of stiff net. There are four bertha pieces (front left and right, and back left and right), so altogether you should have cut out 12 pieces (four bertha pieces each in outer, lining and net).

Note: In the pattern the bertha pieces are all the same shape (for both front and back) but I had to adjust this in order for the garment to fit properly. My front and back bertha pieces, therefore, are different shapes.

I sewed each of these four bertha pieces to their corresponding layers (outer, net, lining layers) together on the upper edge.

The net sewn to the outer and lining pieces.

The bertha (front left piece) sewn to all its layers (outer, net, lining) along the upper edge. It is now opened up and pinned to the front right piece along the centre front.

You should now have four bertha pieces that are all attached along the upper edge. Now they need to be attached in the centre front and centre back. Do this by opening the pieces out and pinning right sides together at the centre front/back and sew.

Bertha is sewn at centre front and back.

The bertha is sewn at centre front (and likewise at centre back, not shown). Clip seam allowances and turn right side out and press.

The front and back bertha pieces are now sewn at the shoulder seams.

Step Four: The bertha can now be attached to the bodice. Match centre fronts and backs and shoulder seams. Sew the bertha outer layer (including the net) to the upper edge of the bodice (right sides together). Press the seam towards the bertha and turn the raw edge of the bertha lining under. Slip stitch it down.

The bertha is attached.

The bertha is attached. The bertha lining is being turned under and hand sewn down.

Step Five: Sew the sleeve seam. Gather the top and bottom edge of the sleeves (outer).

The sleeves are gathered top and bottom.

The sleeves are gathered top and bottom.

For the sleeve lining, slash the mark and insert the gusset. Sew the sleeve seam.

The lining sewn, showing the slash with gusset inserted.

The lining sewn, showing the slash with gusset inserted.

Mount the sleeve outer on top of the sleeve lining (wrong sides together) and pin. Attach the sleeve band, turning the excess to the inside and slip stitching the raw edges under.

The sleeve mounted on the lining and cuff strip attached.

The sleeve mounted on the lining and sleeve band attached. The raw edges of the sleeve band are pinned under and are ready to hand sew.

The sleeves can then be attached to the bodice.

Step Six: Attach the waistband to the bottom edge of the bodice.

Step Seven: Attach lace around the bottom of the sleeves and around the neckline. I used a 2 inch wide insertion lace. A thin cotton cord can be used to draw the fullness of the lace in so that the bodice does not fall down over the shoulders.

The front of the bodice, showing the cord lacing up the insertion lace at the front.

The front of the bodice, showing the cord lacing up the insertion lace at the front. The trim is also sewn down.

Step Eight: Make the trim (the same as is detailed in “the skirts” post) and attach it around the sleeve cuff, and around the bertha as per the diagram in Janet Arnold’s book.

Step Nine: Attach hooks and eyes down the centre front of the bodice. The centre front of the bertha meets edge to edge with the trim hiding the hooks and eyes, but further down on the bodice I created an overlap to more effectively hide the hooks and eyes.

The hooks and eyes sewn to fasten at the front. They are tucked behind a slight overlap in the fabric.

The hooks and eyes sewn to fasten at the front. They are tucked behind a slight overlap in the fabric.

Three waistband/trouser bars were also sewn to the back of the bodice waistband to correspond to matching hooks on the basque.

The back of the bodice, showing the hooks and bars sewn to attach the basque.

The back of the bodice, showing the hooks and bars sewn to attach the basque.

All finished! My dressmakers form is not the same shape as my corseted body but hopefully you get the idea.

The front

The front view

The back view

The back view

My last post in this series will be about making the day bodice for this ensemble. For more information on my costuming, go to my Costumes page.

Related Posts

Making an Early 1870’s Gown: Skirts

Making a Victorian Corset

Sources and Relevant Links

Patterns of Fashion 2: Englishwomens’ gowns and their construction, by Janet Arnold – buy on Amazon

Setting a gusset – by Sempstress

Attaching a waistband – by Fashion Freaks (This tutorial is for a skirt, but the same principles apply.)

1871 ballgown – by Before the Automobile (See this beautiful version of this dress made by someone else!)

Read Full Post »

Making a “proper” Victorian bustle gown has been on my list to do for a while. For 15 years actually – ever since I first saw a lady dancing in one and marvelled at its drapery.

There were two distinct periods in history where bustles – in their most “Victorian” extreme – were used. The first was in the early 1870’s and the second was in the 1880’s. Elsewhere in history, bumpads of all sorts have been frequently used, but here I am talking about the much more prominent Victorian bottom enhancer.

The 1871-3 three-piece-gown described and patterned in Janet Arnold's book. (Photo found on Pinterest, from manchestergalleries.org,but I can't find the original entry.)

The 1871-3 three-piece-gown described and patterned in Janet Arnold’s book. (Photo found on Pinterest, from manchestergalleries.org,but I can’t find the original entry.)

From 1871 to 1873, gowns were remarkably similar. Gown ensembles were most often in two pieces; the skirts and the bodice. The skirts were gored (which made them nice and full) and often included an outer or overskirt that ended around the knees. This overskirt was generally pulled up in a polonaise-style over the bustle behind. For day bodices, the sleeves were not highly gathered around the sleeve head, but instead often flared out at the bottom, sometimes in layers, in a manner very similar to 1970’s pants! For evening bodices, the style was almost off-the-shoulder with short gathered sleeves.

The gown that caught my eye more recently was found in one of Janet Arnold’s pattern books, and I even had the material purchased and waiting patiently to be made up!

This particular post will deal with making the three skirt layers: the underskirt, the overskirt and the basque.

Pattern

I used the pattern by Janet Arnold, in her book Pattern of Fashions 2. I had to make several alterations to it so it would fit me. For the skirts, this included increasing the length of the underskirt, and increasing the waistline measurements.

The drawing in Janet Arnold's "Pattern of Fashion 2".

The drawing in Janet Arnold’s “Pattern of Fashion 2”. This gown ensemble is made up of a day bodice, an evening bodice, an underskirt, an overskirt, and a basque.

I normally post pictures of my pattern pieces, but this gown is quite complicated. If you are interested in making this pattern I suggest you either get Janet Arnold’s book or get a similar historical pattern to use.

I dont often bother making a mock-up of the skirts of a gown, so I got straight into sewing!

Construction Steps

The Underskirt

Step One: Sew the underskirt panels together, leaving an opening for the placket, which is on the seam to the left of the centre back. To make the placket, I just pressed the seam allowance open and top stitched around the placket edge.

Step Two: Janet Arnold’s pattern includes a pocket in the front left seam of the underskirt. I highly recommend putting one in! Mine is made from white cotton broadcloth, and set on an angle (facing towards the centre front) in the left seam. Make sure you make an opening big enough to fit your hand in, and that the pocket is big enough to hold your fan or any other item you feel is essential.

The pocket sewn on an angle in the seam. It is positioned ... from the waistband.

The pocket sewn on an angle in the seam. The top of the pocket opening is positioned 5 inches down from the waistband.

Step Three: Laying the two waistband pieces right sides together, sew around them, leaving an opening for to turn it in the right way. Turn it in the right way and press. Sew the opening closed.

Step Four: Neaten the upper edge of the underskirt, pleat and attach to the waistband. I laid the waistband on top and sewed through all thicknesses. (As compared to the normal method of sewing a waistband.) Attach hooks and eyes to the waistband for fastening.

You can see the top stitching on the placket opening, and also the topstitching on the waistband (which secures the pleated skirt). The hooks and eyes are also sewn on.

You can see the top stitching on the placket opening, and also the topstitching on the waistband (which secures the pleated skirt). The hooks and eyes are also sewn on.

Janet Arnold is not clear exactly how to attach the skirt to the waistband. She does indicate cartridge-pleating was used in the overskirt but does not state that this was also done on the underskirt. I initially cartridge-pleated the underskirt, but after it all unravelled at the first ball it was worn to, I decided to pleat it the second time around instead!

Step Five: Bind the lower edge of the skirt with matching bias binding. I cut my own bias strips and made binding that matched my trim.

Step Six: Sew the wide bias strips of flounce onto the bottom of the skirt, folding the raw edge under and sewing through all thicknesses. Attach trim to hide the seam. (See below for trim construction.) Sew binding to the bottom edge of the flounce.

The flounce has been applied to the skirt, and the trim hides where it has been sewn. You can see the two bound edges on the bottom of the skirt.

The flounce has been applied to the underskirt, and the trim hides where it has been sewn. You can also see the two bound edges on the bottom of the skirt. The bottom edge of the flounce does not overhang the skirt, but is the same length as it.

The underskirt is finished!

1871-3 underskirt front

The front view

The back view

The back view

 

The Overskirt

Step One: Sew the skirt panels together, leaving the centre front seam open. Note: On the side seam of the front panel, two upward-pointing pleats are done prior to sewing the side seams.

Step Two: Take two waistband pieces and sew them in the same way as I sewed the underskirt waistband. Note: The waistband needs to be a finished piece (no raw edges) when a skirt is to be cartridge pleated to it. This is a different method of attaching the skirt and waistband than is normally done.

Step Three: Cartridge-pleat the upper edge of the back panel of the overskirt and attach to the waistband. Attach hooks and eyes to the waistband for fastening.

The top edge of the overskirt, being cartridge pleated.

The top edge of the overskirt being cartridge pleated. Note that the raw edge is folded over before the cartridge pleating stitches are started.

The finished cartridge pleats

The finished cartridge pleats in the back of the overskirt.

Step Four: Right sides together, sew the bias strips of flounce to the bottom edge of the overskirt. Attach trim to cover the seam line.

Step Five: Close the centre front seam by using covered buttons. For the bottom four buttons, overlap the two edges (right over left) of the skirt and sew through all thicknesses. For the remainder, sew buttons to the top layer (right) and attach hooks and eyes to fasten beneath the button, hidden from view.

All the buttons are false; that is, they do not have corresponding buttonholes. The buttons are the top are sewn through the left side of the placket and hooks and eyes are hidden beneath (not shown). The buttons at the bottom are sewn through both sides of the placket.

All the buttons are false; that is, they do not have corresponding buttonholes. The buttons at the top of the picture are sewn through the right side of the placket and hooks and eyes are hidden beneath (not shown here). The buttons at the bottom of the picture are sewn through both layers of the placket.

Step Six: The inside of the overskirt is draped using a system of tapes and buttons. The exact placement of these is detailed in Janet Arnold’s pattern, but can otherwise be done by pinning to see what looks best.

The tapes are sewn to the waistband and have buttonholes sewn into them. The buttons are sewn to the skirt. There are two tapes sewn to each side of the skirt which tie together to keep the skirt sitting at the back.

The tapes are sewn to the waistband and have buttonholes sewn into them. The buttons are sewn to the skirt. There are two tapes sewn to each of the side seams of the skirt which tie together to keep the skirt sitting at the back.

The overskirt is completed!

The front view

The front view

The back view

The back view

The Basque

Step One: Sew the pieces of the basque together. Sew the pieces of the basque lining together in the same way.

I discovered that there is a mistake in the Janet Arnold book, which confused me for awhile. The CB FOLD instructions are on the wrong pattern piece (the front), but when changed to the other (back) pattern piece, it all makes sense again.

The "CB to fold" instruction has been mistakenly put on the wrong pattern piece.

The “CB to fold” instruction has been mistakenly put on the wrong pattern piece.

Step Two: Right sides together, sew the basque and the lining together along the bottom and centre front edge. Fold the right way and press. Trim can now be added to the bottom edge.

Step Three: Make the pleats in the waistline and bind the top edge with bias binding to hold the pleats. Janet Arnold’s example was not bound with bias binding, but I found it easier to do that to properly hold the pleats in place. You could also attach it to the waistband in the normal manner instead.

The basque, with the trim attached and the waistline bound with bias binding, ready to attach to the waistband.

The basque, with the trim attached and the waistline bound with bias binding, ready to attach to the waistband.

Step Four: The waistband is made up of two main pieces: the outer layer cut on the bias, and the lining on the straight grain. The two layers can be laid wrong sides together and bias binding sewn around the top and bottom edges. The raw edges on the two short sides of the waistband can be turned to the inside and sewn down.

Step Four: Hand sew the bound upper edge of the basque to the waistband. I stitched “in the ditch” between the waistband binding and the outer material, through all thicknesses. Add hooks and eyes to fasten.

The basque is finished!

The front view

The front view. The bound waistband meets edge to edge.

The back view

The back view

Making the Trim

Step One: Cut bias strips from your chosen material, joining the strips until you have the necessary length. Fold the raw edges in on the wrong side and press. You piece should now look similar to bias-binding that can be bought in the store.

Anchor your thread with a few stitches to one folded edge of the strip.

Use a few stitches to ancor the thread at one side of the trim.

Use a few stitches to anchor the thread at one side of the trim.

Step Two: Using a running stitch, weave your needle in and out of the material until you have reached the other folded edge of the strip. Don’t pull your needle out, as it makes it more difficult to gather the threads in the next step.

Weave the needle in and out across the strip, creating a running stitch.

Weave the needle in and out across the strip, creating a running stitch.

Step Three: Use your fingers to squeeze the material together whilst it is still attached to the needle, creating a series of gathers.

Use your fingers to squeeze the material together whilst it is still attached to the needle.

Squeeze the material together whilst it is still attached to the needle.

Step Four: Pull the needle through the material, still holding the material tight in its gathers. Make a few small stitches on the other folded edge to anchor the thread.

Anchor the thread by stitching a few more stitches on the other folded edge.

Anchor the thread by stitching a few more stitches on the other folded edge.

Step Five: Hand sew the trim onto your gown, trying to make your stitches as invisible as possible. I hand sewed the top edge and the bottom edge of the trim to the gown, rather than just securing it at the gathers. That then ensures the raw edges are all anchored securely.

The trim attached

The trim attached

And here is the skirts all layered together. My dressmakers form doesn’t seem to hold the bustle in the right place on the waist, so the back does tend to droop. However, it doesn’t do that when I am wearing it.

The skirt layers together.

The skirt layers together.

Keep an eye out for the next post in this series, the evening bodice.

Related Posts

Making a Victorian Corset

Making a Victorian Chemise

Sources and Relevant Links

Image Source: Pinterest (but the original is reported to have come from manchestergalleries.org)

Patterns of Fashion 2: Englishwomens gowns and their construction, by Janet Arnold – buy on Amazon

Sewing a waistband in the normal manner – by Fashion Freaks

How to sew cartridge pleats – by Historical Sewing

1871 ballgown – by Before the Automobile (See this beautiful version of this dress made by someone else!)

Read Full Post »

An 1880's petticoat, worn over a bustle.

An 1880’s petticoat, worn over a bustle. From The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Another one of the numerous undergarments worn by the Victorians were petticoats, and – depending on the particular decade of the 19th century – there could be many layers of them.

I needed to make a petticoat that was worn with a bustle, generally made with layers of frills to soften the line of the cage-like structure underneath. As my bustle was most similar to those worn in the 1880’s, it was no surprise that the petticoats that really suited my purpose were ones from the 1880’s.

The one I really liked is pictured to the left, with small flounces to add body and pretty lace that could peep out the bottom of the dress. It was really unfortunate that I had so little time to incorporate any of this into my own petticoat, but I had only two days to make mine!

My fabric choice was a white cotton broadcloth, 4 metres in length.

Pattern

I made my own pattern from the picture above, using the measurements of myself and my bustle as a guide for size.

Measurements to take (with bustle and corset on):

  • Waist circumference
  • Waistline to floor at centre front
  • Waistline to floor at centre back
  • Waist to floor at side

Using these measurements, measure out the pattern pieces on the fabric. The waist-to-floor measurements should correspond to the length of the pieces (minus the depth of your intended bottommost frill). The front area of the petticoat at the waist is not gathered so the front and side pieces (on the top edge) together should measure the same as the front part of your waist (or a bit further around). The back area is gathered, so the top edge of the back panel should be double this part of your waist. Add seam allowances too!

Pattern pieces:

  • Front panel (cut centre front on fold)
  • Side panel (cut 2)
  • Back panel (cut centre back on fold)
  • Waistband (cut 1: 2″ x 28″ or waist measurement, plus seam allowances)
  • Frills for back panel (10″ deep, plus seam allowances) Each frill should be roughly double the length of the line (across the back panel) that it will be sewn on. I tried to cut these frills against the selvedge.
  • Bottom frill (10″ deep x double the length of the bottom edge of petticoat, plus seam allowances)
These are my panels; from left to right, front, side and back.

These are my panels; (from left to right) front, side and back.

Construction

Step One: Sew the front panel to the side panels, neatening seam edges.

Step Two: Hem one long edge of each section of frill (those frills that are for the back panel) and gather the other edge (I gathered the selvedge edge to avoid neatening it). Attach the frills to the back panel, one at a time, by sewing it on top of the back panel, through all layers.

The first frill is attached along the upper edge of the back panel.

The first frill is attached along the upper edge of the back panel. Each frill is roughly twice as long as the section it is sewn to.

The bottom frill is attached along the bottom of the back panel.

The bottom frill is attached along the bottom of the back panel. The bottom edge of the frill reaches slightly below the bottom edge of the petticoat.

Start with attaching the first frill along the top edge of the back petticoat panel and then do the bottom frill. Then you can space the other frills in between. There should be an inch or two overlap where the upper frill falls over the one under it. I had a total of four frills on the back panel.

Step Three: Pinning the edges of the frill to the edge of the back panel, sew the back panel to the side panel (making sure you catch the frill edges in the seam).

Step Four: Make sure the bottom edges of the petticoat are even. Trim off any excess if needed. You will notice that a little part of the last frill (in the side seam) is raw, and this was hemmed by turning under and sewing.

The frill at the bottom of the back panel is lifted up, and you can see me trimming the bottom edge of the petticoat.

The frill at the bottom of the back panel is lifted up, and you can see where I am trimming the bottom edge of the petticoat. This is because I made the back panel much longer than the front panels so it would go over the bustle.

Step Five: Hem one long edge of the bottom frill and gather the other long edge (in small manageable sections). This gathered edge will be caught in a seam so I used a raw edge (rather than a selvedge edge as I did in the back panel frills).

Step Six: Attach the frill to the bottom edge of the petticoat. You will notice that a small part of the side seams will need to be unpicked (where the back frills are sewn into the side seam) at this stage so that the bottom frill can go around neatly. You may need to resew (or hand sew) these parts afterwards so they sit properly again.

Step Seven: Gather the top edge of the back and side panels. Attach the waistband in the normal manner, adjusting the gathers to fit.

Note: Because I had sewn all the seams closed, I needed to make a placket in the left side front seam. I just sewed (top-stitched) the seam allowance open, reinforcing it at the bottom of the placket, and then unpicked the seam.

I used a pair of hooks and eyes for a closure, but a button or waistband hook and eye would work too.

The side view, with the bustle underneath.

The side view, with the bustle underneath.

The front view

The front view

All finished! And I really like it! One very handy thing is that, if it happens to be too long, you can take a few horizontal tucks around the bottom frill to raise the bottom edge, as it was done in the extant garment pictured above. Mine is slightly longer at the back, but not enough to trip on when I am dancing.

My next item in my Victorian wardrobe is an early 1870’s gown. – coming soon!

Related Posts

A Victorian Bustle

Making a Victorian Corset

Sources and Relevant Links

Image Source: from The Metropolitan Museum of Art

An overview of Victorian undergarments

Attaching a waistband – by Sewaholic

Read Full Post »

Evening gowns from the 1890's

Evening gowns from the 1890’s

In the late Victorian period the large bustles underneath the skirts gave way to the long, flowing lines that preceded the Edwardian period. The skirts of this period were close-fitting around the waist and very A-line in the front, but they fanned out to be quite full at the back of the dress.

In order to support the shape of the skirt, a petticoat was required that could hold this quite definite A-line angle. There were several different types of petticoats worn during this era, but I was particularly interested in the gored petticoat.

A gored petticoat, c. 1896.

A gored petticoat, c. 1896.

The Delineator magazine published a pattern for a gored petticoat in June, 1896. I have not been able to find the original article online, but Dressmaking Research has been kind enough to reproduce the pattern instructions, which I am very grateful and have found very helpful! For this reason, I have decided to do this petticoat for the Historical Sew Fortnightly Challenge #23: Generosity and Gratitude.

The skirt consists of a front-gore, two gores at each side and a back-breadth.

For the fastenings:

The top of the petticoat is finished with an under-facing, which forms a casing for tapes that are tacked [to the] back of the darts in the side-gores and drawn out through openings made at the center of the back, thus regulating the fullness about the waist and avoiding the need of a placket.

And for the ruffles:

The [top] flounce is ornamented by a deep, bias trimming flounce that is turned under at the top to form a self-heading and shirred on cords at the top and hemmed narrowly at the bottom; the trimming flounce is decorated with two silk ruchings, the whole arrangement increasing the flaring effect and making quite an elaborate foot-trimming.

How much material will you need?

To make the petticoat-skirt with the trimming flounce for a lady of medium size, will need twelve yards of material twenty inches wide, or eight yards and an eighth twenty-seven inches wide, or seven yards and a fourth thirty-six inches wide.

Jeepers! That’s a lot for a petticoat! No wonder the war changed the yardage available for women’s fashions.

The Pattern

There are three pieces to the skirt; the front (cut on the fold), the side (cut two), and the back (cut two).

Gored skirt panels always have the “front edge” cut on the grain, with the other “bias” side pointing to the back. In this case, the centre front fold runs with the grainline and the side gores have the front edge on the grain. For the back panel, the centre back runs with the grainline.

The two measurements that need to be taken are your waist measurement and waist-to-floor (length) measurement. The skirt panels plus the added length of the two rows of ruffles need to equal the waist-to-floor measurement.

In order to make sure the finished petticoat fits your waist correctly, the waistline of both the front and side panels should each measure 1/6 of your waist measurement. Because these panels are doubled over on the material, they should make up for 2/3 of the waist measurement (1/3 each), leaving the last 1/3 for the back panel.

As the back panel will be gathered in with ties, the waistline of this panel should measure 1/3 of your waist measurement (which is double what it needs to be, but allows the extra to be gathered in at the back).

The pieces cut out; (from left to right) front, side, back.

The pieces cut out and laid out as they will be sewn; (from left to right) front, side, back.

The only thing I would change to the skirt if I did it again is that I would make the front and side gores a bit more narrow and less full around the bottom edge.

The first row of ruffles were cut to be 10 cm deep and twice the length of the bottom edge of the skirt. The second row of ruffles were cut to be 15 cm deep and twice the length of the first row of ruffles. I did not make my ruffles on the bias as the pattern suggested, but ran them perpendicular to the grainline (mainly to conserve fabric).

Construction Steps

Step One: The skirt panels were sewn together; front to side, side to back, and centre back seams. Darts were sewn in the front and side panels to fit them around the waist.

Step Two: The ruffles were sewn together to form long lengths, which were then sewn with gathering stitch. I also hemmed the bottom ruffle to save doing it later.

  • Hint: Sew the gathering stitches on the ruffles in sections. Smaller sections of gathering will reduce the likelihood of breaking the threads and make it easier to make the gathers even.
  • Another Hint: Don’t gather the ruffles until you have sewn the ruching on, as it is easier to work with flat material.

Step Three: The ruching was made from bias strips with the raw edges turned under. A gathering stitch was then sewn down the centre through all thicknesses. The strip could then be gathered and stitched down in place on the ruffle. Once again, the gathering stitches should be sewn in smaller sections as it makes it more manageable to gather and attach it to the ruffle.

The raw edges of the bias strip are turned in and under before being sewn with a gathering stitch.

The raw edges of the bias strip are turned in and under before being sewn with a gathering stitch.

The finished frill with a row of ruching on each row of ruffle.

The finished frill with a row of ruching on each row of ruffle.

Step Four: A strip of bias binding was sewn around the waistline. This was then turned to the inside and sewn down to form a casing for the waist ties.

The bias binding sewn onto the waist edge. This will be turned to the inside and sewn down to form a casing for the ties.

The bias binding sewn onto the waist edge. The ties will come out through the seam in the centre back.

I used cotton tape for the waist ties, anchoring them at the darts in the side panel and then threading them through the centre back seam. They could then be drawn up to fit the waist.

This petticoat was just made with a plain poly-cotton which I found on sale cheap at my local fabric store. It took about 24 hours to make it in total, as it took ages to gather up all those ruffles! It cost roughly $18 AUD to make.

And now for the finished article. Often petticoats of this era were made with silk and were trimmed elaborately. However, mine serves the purpose – as a functional undergarment for a 1890’s fan skirt.

Side-front view

Side view

Back view, with ties

Back view, with ties

Related Posts

My Regency Journey: A Bodiced Petticoat

Sources and Relevant Links

1890s Under Dress – from Dressmaking Research

Historical Sew Fortnightly – hosted by Dreamstress

Read Full Post »

I have been interested in making costumes for many years now, and this is a costume I made when I was pregnant with my first child (now 13). As he was a boy, he missed out on the opportunity of wearing it, but luckily my first daughter (7) and my second daughter (1) have both been able to use it!

This outfit consists of a short-sleeved button-up dress with a collar, short panties, a pinafore-style apron with ties, and a soft bonnet. Whilst it is not designed to be a specific replica of any particular historical fashion, it does more closely mirror Edwardian fashion for children, especially with the little collar and pinafore apron.

Anne Shirley

The Edwardian era is considered loosely to be from 1901 to 1910, and is often blended or paired with the Victorian era that came before it. Anne Shirley, in Anne of Green Gables (set in 1905), wears a similar style of dress, with a very plain pinafore dress covering a collared long-sleeved dress. The Secret Garden is another movie that is set in a similar time and has similar costumes.

In this era, girls often had small rounded collars, made from matching or contrasting material or even lace, with the dress reaching midway down the calf. The pinafore dress could button up at the back or be more of an apron style with ties. This style of apron was initially designed to prevent the soiling of dresses during playtimes, and had been continually in use for most of the nineteenth century. Girls during this era, and even before this time, often wore pantaloons as well.

McCalls pattern 6853

I used McCalls pattern 6853, which also includes variations for a long-sleeved button-up dress with a collar and long pantaloons.

It is an ideal costume for a bush dance, “olden-day” dress-ups, or other family dress-up occasions. Unfortunately, my costume has only been worn a handful of times, partially because it is hard to come up with an excuse to get it out! Admittedly, it is also hard to put kids in clothes that you really would like to keep “as good as new”.

I used 100% cotton material that I got from the quilting section of my fabric store. I chose this material mainly because it had a country-style effect that I liked, which I couldn’t get with the other fabrics at the time.

My cutie!

You can just see the lace on the panties peeking out of the bottom of the dress, and the pocket on the apron. I love the effect that the lace has. She refused to wear the bonnet, and dissolved into tears when I tried to make her! I will try and take some better photos and post them soon.

Isn’t she cute! Children’s costumes are my cup of tea!

Relevant Posts

Panniers: An 18th Century Reproduction of a Sacque-back Dress

How to make a Regency Poke Bonnet in Ten Steps

How to use Ribbon to make Decorative Trims

Read Full Post »