Sewing Sunday: A change of pace

At least for me! I love late Victorian on everybody else (so many of you make really fabulous things!), but I've never been able to get excited about it. I have that one rather ratty striped cotton early bustle, but it never thrilled me, and I've started a couple other dresses that have been abandoned (oops). I even started and mostly finished a natural form corset last year, then abandoned that too (oops).

But last week I somehow got a bee in my bonnet that I wanted to dress Victorian for My Birthday Outing - it's an excuse to play dress-up in whatever era I want, shhh - in early February. More specifically, natural form, as an illustration in Patterns of Fashion had caught my eye. And most importantly, I already had most of the underwear.

So I've spent the last few days finishing my 1876 corset, and it's pretty okay. It will definitely do the job, anyway! I'll never make gorgeous perfect corsets like some people (ahem, Before the Automobile, ahem), but it looks okay from a distance, in fuzzy pictures!

It's made from an 1876 Corset for Cuirass Basques pattern (I bought mine from Ageless Patterns), from a blue silk taffeta, and layer of cotton duck for strength. I I used cable ties because I am cheap, and I've had no problem with them thus far, for everything from 18thc stays to a 19-teens corset. As a side note, I probably wouldn't use them again in such a curvy corset (1876-1908ish); they do bow out just a little in odd places. Nothing dramatic, though.

The bottom of the corset is the most wonky bit; it could definitely use a tuck there at the CF, but the boning was in the way of doing that, so I just left it. And there's an absurd amount of padding in that corset. I have no figure to speak of, especially for something like Natural Form (ha ha ha. SO natural), which really needs it. Bust pads of fiberfill and batting just stitched into the hips...all poly because I had it on hand.
I tried my 1880 skirt over it to see if the wonky bottom edge affects it; looks like not, which is good.
And, the dress?

It's from the first section of Patterns of Fashion 2, a Gainsborough Princesse Dress, from January of 1879, The London and Paris Ladies' Magazine of Fashion.
I could figure out the pattern from the book...but I already have Truly Victorian patterns that will work, so I decided not to bother! The tea gown pattern in particular has back pieces that are almost exactly the same shape, so I'll just have to tweak the front.

All-stash project (apart from trim on the mantle I also want, but more on that next time), and as I wanted the main gown to be wool, that limited my options a bit. But after some hemming and hawing, I decided on a purpley-blue wool for the gown, pink shantung for the waistcoat, and striped taffeta for the underskirt.
Started the underskirt yesterday, and got the front panel gathered:
If I stop distracting myself with the internet, I can probably finish that today, and then mock the gown up tomorrow...we'll see!


  1. Don't sell yourself short! Your corset is magnificent!!! I love the color and the shape is spot on! Your dress is going to look stunning!! I can't wait until this outfit is completed!!!

    1. Aww, thank you! I'm better at stay-making than corsets, but I guess I haven't failed completely, then, haha. It's a new era for me and I'm pretty excited to branch out!

  2. I saw this article and thought of you even before I read this post:

    It is about the importance of wearing a corset with period clothing. Thought you might enjoy it.

  3. Well,
    I saw this article and I read it. I think you are a good Basques maker. Good luck.
    Corsets UK


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