Costuming Projects


On Sunday, my sister left for Seattle early in the morning, so I had some free time to spend on working on the 1861 corset.  (I had blogged about this in November.)  I am using duck canvas in a natural color, although it looks white in this pictures.  The style is quite different than the 16th century corsets; those were intended to give the upper body a conical shape, with a smaller waist, although the corset was not intended to make the waist smaller.

This has been a forever ongoing project, I think I started it in November of 2008, made some progress that next February, and then had to order the busk and other supplies, and got side tracked with other projects. I finished sewing it when I was procrastinating on the Venetian gown, and then had to wait to order a higher quality grommet setter. I had been using cheap grommets from Joann's, but when they are set in a garment, they split all around the inner edges, which grabs the corset string and causes it to weaken and fray.

I love finishing projects. The sweet feeling of success. The Victorian is especially sweet, because it's a fairly involved project with a lot of pieces, and very fitted tailoring, so it was a little challenging, and a little nerve wracking, and a lot of fun. First, because the pattern requires very accurate measuring and sizing, as opposed to modern patterns, I took my measurements while corseted, then traced the appropriate pattern pieces, and adjusted them to my measurements. Then, I made a mockup out of muslin to test the fit.

1890 Victorian Bathing Suit When I first started looking for Victorian dress patterns, I stumbled across a pattern for an 1890 Victorian bathing suit. I instantly fell in love, and I bookmarked it  under "future projects".  I kept revisiting the site, there was just something about that outfit that I found irresistible. But, I had no where to wear an outfit like this, and it required quite a bit of fabric, so I hesitated.  I think I lasted about a month before I bought the pattern.

When I first started planning the 1883 Victorian walking dress, I came across a photo of Victorian ladies in mourning. Apparently, photographing people displaying their grief was common; they wanted a way to memorialize that part of their lives. I was fascinated by the photo. I started researching mourning etiquette, wanting to learn more.   The Victorians took mourning very seriously; at first, that seems very morbid. But, it serves a very important point. It gives people the time and the right to grieve; to process and to mourn and to wallow.

Yay! The butterfly train is done. This is worn over a regular skirt (bustled or natural form) instead of an overskirt, and with any of the Victorian bodices. It is fully lined in black satin.


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