Hogwarts house bustle dresses

Yesterday marked the 20-year anniversary of the publication of Harry Potter. I didn’t actually read the book until a couple of years later when I got the translated version for my 10th birthday, but nonetheless I think this warrants a Harry Potter themed post!

So, inspired by this lovely Hufflepuff dress and this plan describing a Ravenclaw one, I thought I’d do some inspirations of Hogwarts house-themed bustle dresses! I tried to get both house colors in, which only failed for Slytherin as I couldn’t find any real green-silver dresses, so those are just pretty green.

Hufflepuff

Yellow-Black

robe en 2 parties | Centre de documentation des musées - Les Arts Décoratifs

Dinner dress ca. 1877

Dress,1872–74 Culture: American Medium: silk, cotton

ca 1870s two piece dress

 

Gryffindor

Red-Gold

Dress  1879  The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Abito femminile in due pezzi. | Atelier Compagnie Lyonnaise, Roma (Designer) and Gabinetto fotografico SBAS, Otello Ciuffi, Antonio Quattrone (Photographer)

Dinner Dress, circa 1880

Charles Frederick Worth, Evening Dress (Bodice & Skirt). Paris, c. 1885. (View 2)

 

Ravenclaw

Blue-Bronze

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A very bright blue French afternoon dress from the early 1880s.

Dress  1888-1889  The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Day dress ca. 1880. Blue & gold floral brocade with bustle back. Golden brown rouged silk trim at cuffs & front of bodice, which fastens center front with long line of covered buttons. Skirt tiers in contrasting fabric; silk with a bow at center front. Bonhams

 

 

Slytherin

Green-Silver

Promenade dress Emile Pingat (French, active 1860–96) Date: ca. 1888 Culture: French Medium: Silk, metallic

Circa 1874 Silk, Satin, and Taffeta Wedding Dress. Courtesy Of The Chicago History Museum.

Walking dress ca. 1885–86. Patrimonio Histórico Familiar PHF Pinterest & Instagram

Dress  1872  The Victoria & Albert Museum

 

1870s Day/dinner Bodice

After I finished my 1870’s ballgown, I started thinking on making a day bodice to go with it. A fair number of existant dresses come with a bodice for day and one for evening. This way you basically have two dresses for different occasions, but only need one skirt! As skirts take up a lot of fabric, they would also have costed quite a lot. Having two bodices means you get more use out of it. For me, making my own dresses, it means I only need to make an extra bodice to open up a whole array of occasions to wear the skirts.

Some existant examples of day/dinner/evening dress combinations.

My design for the bodice was based around a couple of things. First, I knew I wanted a low, square neckline. These are more for dinner, or visiting dresses than for outside walking. However, you can add a gilet or chemisette to fill in the neckline and still wear it outside (as shown in the first existant dress of this post). I like versatility, so wanted to go this route. Because I owned the Truly Victorian 400 pattern, that decided the shape of the front, and I also used the peplum back.

This resulted in the base bodice! I flatlined the silk in white cotton first. Then I sewed the main seams and the darts. That’s where it went slightly wrong, because I hadn’t pinned the darts properly. After sewing, it became apparent that the silk had shifted and not all fabric was caught in te darts as should be. So, out came the seam ripper, and I took them out again. To prevent this from happening again, I first basted the darts this time. This fixed the problem. You can see how far off I was in this picture, the old puncture marks are where the first dart was, while the basting is a couple of mm inside the line of where it should be…

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After getting this fixed, I could put in the sleeves and finish all the edges. The center front is finished by folding over the silk to the inside, the top and bottom I finished with bias binding. This was a first for me, before I always turned over the outer fabric to the inside. However, I’ll say that the bias facing is definitely easier, as it goes along the curves way better, so I’ll probably be doing this in the future!

The finished plain bodice:

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And an inside view. All the seams are tacked in place to prevent fraying.

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For trim, I had some lace left I’d used on the over skirt. I was further inspired by this dress:

Wedding dress, English, ca. 1869-70. Two pieces. Blue silk grosgrain with white lace trimming around edge of bodice and cuffs.:

I really love the cuffs, which seem to be fake, made out of trim only. I ended up making my fabric trim slighlty narrower, but it was made using a similar technique. I tried out something new for this trim, so the seams on the end of the fabric wouldn’t show. Don’t know if this is period, but it does give a nice result! It is best used for narrow trim though, as it’ll eat fabric when you make it very wide.

I started cutting strips of fabric, a little over 2x as wide as my eventual trim would need to be. I wanted 3cm wide trim, so I cut 7cm strips.

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I then folded the strip and hemmed the edge with a narrow hem.

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The next step was to iron the strip flat, so that the seam was in the center.

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I then sewed gathers along the top and bottom edge of the strip.

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And the final step is to gather the strip both top and bottom!

This trim still has a raw edge on the back, but as I’d be sewing it to the dress both top and bottom, this didn’t matter overly much. You could, in theory, turn the strip inside out before ironing and gathering. Mine were rather narrow though, so it would’ve been a bit of a pain and so I didn’t bother.

With the trim made, it was time to plan where to put it! I knew I wanted the cuffs and lace and trim around the neckline. Ideally also around the bottom, but I didn’t know if I’d have enough lace for that. I pinned the cuffs and neckline first, to see what was left.

Playing with trim.

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Pinning it all down.

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In the end, I didn’t have enough lace to fully go around the bottom. I did really want it there as well though, if only to visually separate the bodice from the same-colored overskirt. So I ended up cutting the lace in half horizontally, and stitching the fabric trim on top to hide the edge. This makes for slighly more narrow lace at the bottom, but it worked! After pinning down everything, I spent a full day stitching it all down top and bottom. My fingers were rather sore afterwards from stitching through all those layers of densly woven silk. The result is definitely worth it though!

To finish the bodice, I covered some buttons with black silk I had a little of. The bodice closes with hooks and eyes, so the buttons are just there for visual interest. They do really add a nice touch I think!

Finished:

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And some detail shots:

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Let’s hope it stays dry this weekend, because there’s an event I’d love to wear this to. Pictures with the whole day-version of the dress will follow when that happens!

A bustle dress for Marije – Progress

Around summer last time, I decided that I really wanted to go to the Victorian ball in Bath coming May. But I was hesitant to go alone, so I called a friend and asked her if she’d like to join me. We’ve been to a couple of Regency-themed events together, but she’s not a seamstress, so I offered to help her with her dress. She agreed, so we’ll be going on holiday together, and plans started on the dress!

She’d seen some images online, and had a particular color palette in mind, so that was our starting point. I ended up taking the 1870-71 day/evening dress from Janet Arnold’s patterns of fashion as main inspiration, as it was close to her inspiration images. This is the original dress with the ball bodice.

Manchester City Galleries

 

Back in autumn, I found fabric for her at the market, and with that choice made created the following design.

The corset and bustle cage would be made by someone else, as I felt that was a bit too much to take on. The only thing I’ve ever made for someone else before now was a pleated rectangle skirt, so I wanted to be a bit less ambitious. We started back in November with the underskirt, as I had a bustle she could try on and waist size wasn’t too important for the skirt. We used the Truly Victorian 201 underskirt pattern. I’d used this before, and as we’d be making the skirt together I thought using a pattern might be a good idea. At the end of that day, we had the basic very nearly done, only the hem left.

foto van Marije de Vries.

At the end of the day, wearing the skirt on top of my bustle and a substitory underbust corset.

 

For the rest, we divided the labor. My friend really wanted pleats on the skirt, so I suggested that she make those. It’s not very difficult to do, just time consuming, so perfect for someone with less sewing experience. I would make the overskirt base using the Janet Arnold pattern. I’d also make the bodice, including bertha and the basque (belt-thing). The overskirt base was made sometime in January, scaling up the pattern worked out quite nicely! I took the original waistsize and the one I wanted, and the original length and the new one which would give the same proportions. From that, I scaled the width/height. The back was gathered instead of cartridge pleated, to save some time. The only other change I made was to the closure. Because I didn’t yet know the exact finished waistsize it’d need to be (no corset yet), I made a split at the side. The front is still open, but it always needs to close at exactly the same point to look good. A split in the side will be far less noticable than center front.

foto van Marije de Vries.

 

Fast-forward to end of February, when her corset was done! This meant we could start on the bodice, so she came to my place another time. She’d already sent me her corseted measurements and I’d cut out the bodice lining with a very generous seam allowance to use for fitting. In that day, I managed to fit and construct the whole bodice, and pattern and cut the bertha and basque.

 

foto van Marije de Vries.

Fitting time! Second fitting was for marking the final waistline and neckline.

 

foto van Marije de Vries.

Trying on everything together at the end of the day. It still closes with pins, but we’re starting to see it come together!

 

She spent all day cutting out strips for the pleats, and managed to seam a lot of it and get started on the pleating. We’ll need 6m of pleated trim, which means there’s 18m of fabric to seam (on both sides) and pleat. (This was the point where she wondered what she’d gotten herself into 😉 ).

foto van Marije de Vries.

 

The next couple of weeks I spent time making up the bertha & basque, finishing the bodice by hand-sewing all the edges and putting in boning, and trimming everything.

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Boning, made of heavy-duty zip ties sewn into bias tape channels.

 

The bertha and basque are both trimmed in small pleats, first roll-hemmed and then box pleated. Those for the bertha were 3cm wide when cut out, for the basque I made them 4cm. After hemming, I sewed them on in the middle of the pleat, which gives a nice 3D effect. For the bodice I made the mistake of pressing them slightly before sewing them on, which slightly kills the effect. I figured it’d be easier to sew on this way, but in the end it wasn’t worth it. They’ll fluff back in time, but just for anyone trying this type of trim; it works best without any pressing.

foto van Marije de Vries.

The pleating process. About 7,5 m for both the bertha and the basque. It took a lot of pins!

 

foto van Marije de Vries.

The pleats really set off the bertha. It’s nearly invisible without them, but they give a nice contrast.

 

foto van Marije de Vries.

The same goes for the basque, which is also lined in the light blue.

 

The finishing touch for the bodice & overskirt were the fabric covered buttons. I opted to do them the modern way, for practicality’s sake. The buttons are all decorative, everything actually closes with hooks and eyes. I saw that the original had this on the overskirt and decided it’d be a lot easier than sewing all those button holes by hand. It also makes slight re-fitting more easy, moving hooks & eyes is simpler than moving a button hole!

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Buttons on the bodice

 

For the overskirt & bertha I used metal hooks & eyes. The bertha is left open on one side, and sewn to the bodice on both shoulder seams. The front part hangs loose and is attached to the shoulder with hooks and eyes. For for the bodice I decided to do the eyes with thread. This shows a bit less on the right side of the fabric.

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Closure of the bodice, metal hooks with thread eyes.

So this is where we are now! The bodice & bertha & basque are done. The overskirt only needs the pleated trim. Pictures were taken on my too small dress form for now, pinned to the back to fit, so only a front view. Pictures of the full outfit worn will follow when everything is complete!

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Bustle Skirts

Since my last post on my 1870’s dress, I’ve continued working on the skirts. In total the skirt consists of 3 garments, an underskirt, overskirt and separate train. The separate train isn’t really a typical thing for the 1870’s, most of the time the underskirt would be trained and could be bustled up. I wanted to be able to remove it completely though, so I decided on a separate train.

The underskirt was made with the Truly Victorian pattern TV201.

TV201 - 1870s Underskirt

It was a great pattern, very easy to put together. My only note would be to check the length you need before you cut. I ended up doing a white cotton hem facing so I only needed about 1 cm of skirt fabric to do the hem, but I also didn’t really have much more! I consider myself short, but I have to remember that’s by Dutch standards (I’m 1,67m). So if you’re average or taller, check if you don’t need to cut extra length on this pattern.

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The hem facing on the underskirt. It was machine-sewn to the bottom and finished by hand at the top.

Also, this pattern has a pocket option! To make it a bit more sturdy I made the main part of the pocket from cotton instead of the silk.

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Pocket from the inside.

From this same pattern, I also made an extra petticoat. Although my bustle has ruffles built in, the weight of the skirts and train warranted an extra layer. The only thing I did different was that my petticoat doesn’t have a pocket and I made ruffles for the petticoat.

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Ruffle

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A rolled hem on all the ruffles.

I made some pictures of my skirt over the bustle, with & without petticoat. These were taken before I trimmed the skirt, and really show the difference.

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With bustle cage underneath

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With bustle & petticoat underneath

 

The basic construction of the overskirt I patterned myself and already blogged about here. The only addition I made was black lace around the edges.

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The black lace on the edge of the overskirt

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From the inside.

The train I patterned myself as well. It’s basically a rectangle with a curved end, pleated on the top side to lay smoothly over the bustle.

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First stage of patterning, old sheets!

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The eventual pattern on paper. Every square is 5cm.

I didn’t want to add an extra waistband, so I’ll be attaching the train to the overskirt. The overskirt has ties on the inside from the bustle. In these ties I made small buttonholes near the top. The train has buttons at the top to attach it to the overskirt.

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Buttonhole in one of the bustle-up ties on the inside of the overskirt.

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The top of the train, with 3 buttonholes to attach to the ties. In the photo it just lies on top of the underskirt, that’s the waistband you see behind it.

Unlike the base and over-skirt, I did line the train. Because my fabric is super thin and light, I wanted a bit extra weight to make it fall properly. The whole train is lined in white cotton, the silk edges flipped over and sewed down by hand. The very top of the train is made of just white cotton, as this part won’t be seen anyway. It’s hidden beneath the overskirt.

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The finished train from the inside. The lining starts where the silk does on the outside,

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The top of the train from the inside. As the top of the lining was on the selfedge of the fabric I left it as is.

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The edge of the train. The silk was turned over twice on top of the cotton lining and sewed down by hand.

 

Next it was time for decoration! I used a very pretty black tule lace as main decoration. The lace was sewn to the train both near the top and at the bottom to make it stay flat. At the top I used black thread to blend with the lace, at the bottom pale yellow so it wouldn’t show if the train happens to flip over a bit. For the skirt it’s only attached at the top.

As the top of the lace is cut tule, I also wanted something to cover the top. I looked at various trimmings and eventually settled on this ruched design. I generally like pleated trims better, but they are very geometrical and in this case a more organic design fitted better with the lace. The added bonus is that this trim is relatively quick to make and takes relatively little fabric. Only about 2 times the finished width instead of 3 as for pleats.

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I made small bits of trim to check whether to do pleats or ruches. 

I debated whether I would hem or pink the edges of the trim. Pinking has the advantage of being much quicker and saving bulk, but hemming is more common. I eventually settled on pinking for practical reasons. Most Victorian pinking is shaped in half circles with small triangles. Modern pinking lacks the half circles, especially when using a scissor as I did. But I figured since the trim design leaves the edges slightly curved anyway it’ll barely be noticeable.

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Strips for trim cut with pinking scissors

For making the trim, I first cut strips and sewed them together. Next was measuring and drawing the seam lines. My strips were about 8 cm high, and the triangles have a bottom length of 8 cm as well. After drawing was sewing the gathering stitches. I ended up sewing per 3 lines, not wanting to gather huge pieces with 1 gathering string. Final step was gathering the trim. And, of course, sewing it on.

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Marking triangles. The cutting guide of lined pattern paper came in handy to measure every 8 cm

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Gathering stitches

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The finished trim. 

All in all, I sewed on about 10m of lace and 9m of trim (made from 18m of strips) by hand. For anyone who thinks sewing the dress together takes most time, not quite ;). The trim really does make the dress though.

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To finish up this post, some pictures of the different layers while worn! (Apologies for the weirdness of my chemise in the back… It’s not supposed to be that wonky)

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Bustle over-skirts

For my ballgown I’ll be making an under-skirt, front-apron, back-bustle, back-train and a bodice. The front-apron and back bustle will be attached to one waistband forming one over-skirt. The train I’ll be making separately so it can be removed. I’m using a commercial pattern for the under-skirt only, the TV201 1870s underskirt, which I already had in my stash.

So for the rest, I’m drafting/draping my own pattern. The bodice will be similar to my 1860’s ballgown bodice. The train will be fairly straight-forward, just a large panel rounded off. The over-skirts I’m draping myself, and to help others these are the patterns I came up with!

The over-skirt I wanted to make is similar to these images from the Musee de Familles and the Journal des Demoiselles.

The striped one:

Journal des Demoiselles 1872:

And the yellow/red one:

Musée des Familles 1873:

I started with the back bustle. I was greatly helped by this tutorial from Historical sewing, where she shows how to bustle-up a back skirt.

I took an old sheet I had laying around for mock-ups, and started by pleating the top to fit the back width I wanted. I did this by eye, looking from where on the side I wanted the back bustle to start. After pleating, I pinned the top to the waistband of my bustle cage. For the mock-up, I used four large box pleats.

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Next I started to pleat up the sides. Again I didn’t really measure these out, just did it by eye and pleated the fabric up until I liked how long the pleated section was.

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I then looked at the center ‘swag’, and pinned around the bottom to where I’d like the bustle overlay to hang. I didn’t want to actually cut it, so I could re-use the sheet for latter mock-ups. This is what it looked like at this stage, if you look closely you can see the pins around the back marking the length.

 

I didn’t mark the position for the inside tapes which will hold the bustle in shape yet. The cotton held its shape quite well on its own, so I’ll make the tapes when I’ve cut and pleated the silk for the actual bustle.

Next up was the front swag! I used an old shawl-like square of fabric. This one wasn’t pleated around the front, but pinned on straight. Then I pleated up the sides to match the length of the back bustle. As turned out the fabric I had wasn’t quite wide enough at the bottom and too wide at the top, so it’s a bit tilted in the mock-up version. It did give me a good idea of the dimensions the finished apron will need though.

 

After I’d pinned everything, I took the mock-up pieces from my dummy and started measuring to draw up my pattern. This is the eventual pattern I’m using. I hope it’s readable, I overlayed the measurements in black just in case. As the pattern says, my waistband will be 68,5 cm, the front apron has a 37 cm waistmeasure and the back 31,5 cm adding up to the total. The length of the side pleats downwards is 30 cm. The pattern is drawn to scale here, every square is 5 cm. The tapes for the bustle were determined with the silk bustle, as it drapes very differently to the cotton. The little image on the right shows the width of the pleated top back panel with the length of the tapes underneath. The colored spots represent which position on the tape was matched with which position on the fabric of the bustle (red with red, etc.)

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Made in my eventual fabric, this is what the inside of the back bustle looked like before sewing it to the front. I ended up making 8 box pleats at the top and the pleats on the side are also a bit smaller than in the mock-up.

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And all put together, shown over my bustle cage! It’s not fully done yet, I want to add trim to the bottom and roses to the sides, but to get a picture of the eventual shape and proportions. The right side has a slit to put it on, and to reach the pocket in the underskirt which is on that side.

From the front (left) and back (right)

From the sides:

 

Early Bustle Ball gown

Last year in May, Izabella from Prior Attire organized a Victorian ball in Bath. I didn’t go, but I saw a lot of images of the event, and many gorgeous visitors. I decided at that point that it’d be worthwhile to put the event on my wish-list, just to see if it’d be possible to go one time. It would have to involve a holiday as I don’t actually live in the UK, but it’s always fun to dream.

Shortly after the ball, the theme for next year was announced, namely early bustle. Even though I had no concrete plans to go, I started looking at gowns from that period and eventually decided to just make one! There’s another ball a bit closer to home in January, so if I could manage to finish before then I’d be able to wear it anyway.

So a new project was started! I now have the corset and bustle/petticoat finished, and it’s time to start working on the dress.

When settling on what to make, I started with looking at ball-gowns from this period, namely 1870-1876. I found quite quickly that most are actually a bit too frilly for my taste. Most dresses I saw had some elements I didn’t like. Some had a lot. I quickly decided that the ruching you see a lot was not for me.

Something like this was a nope…

Le Monde Elégant 1870:

So instead, I went looking for what I did want, to see if I could incorporate this into one design. First up was color! I didn’t have too much choice, as I wanted to buy the fabric at an outlet. This made buying silk possible budget-wise, but given how much I’d need I would depend on stock. Almost all ball-gowns in fashion plates are white or pastel. The very occasional red or black appears, but pink and baby-blue were definitely popular. It’s a little too sweet for me though. So I decided to go for a light green/yellow/sand color if I could find it.

And that worked out! I bought a lovely thin but sturdy taffeta in a very pale yellow/lime color. It’s fairly difficult to photograph the color right, but this comes pretty close:

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On to the rest of the design! I knew I wanted a train, as almost all ballgowns seem to have one. It’s not always practical though, so I want a train I can bustle up or remove. This means having the train as an over-skirt so that I can either remove it or bustle it up by attaching ties on the inside, should be doable!

For the front and back overskirt, I decided to keep it simple. This’ll be my first time making a bustle, and I don’t want to make it too complicated for myself. So the bustle will be based on a pattern as shown in this video.

For the underskirt I don’t want a train, so I can wear the dress without one. Ideally with trim all the way around so the train can be removed. I’m not certain if I have enough fabric for a lot of pleating, so I settled on another type of trim. Lace! You see quite a lot of examples of sheer-ish black lace on top of light fabrics, something I really like. This brown dress is a nice example:

Le Monde Elégant 1870:

So, lace it is! I also decided that I want flowers. They’re so typical for the period, and can serve to bring a little color into the picture. I’m aiming for (dark)red.

For the bodice, I’m going for pleating, inspired by this image, although I’ll probably do the basic puff sleeve.

 

Although I haven’t got the lace and flowers I’ll eventually use, I pulled something from my stash just to look  at the color combinations.

 

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And with everything kept in mind, this is the initial design! I might change some things along the way, but this is the plan!

Bustle design

To finish off, shortly after I made the design image, I found this fashion plate. I love how the middle dress resembles my design. I might even go for the lace as bertha as well…

Godeys 1874: