Saturday, April 25, 2015


Busy day today. After working til almost 11:30 last night, I woke up early to come back in. We hosted an amazing embroidery workshop by Larissa of Olde Towne Bead Supply and now I'm TIRED.

"But the bridesmaid dress!" you say.


The inspiration: 

The corset

And the dress

Skirt is Truly Victorian TV208, and the bodice is TV400. The overskirt is an original 1869 Godey's pattern for a pannier overskirt. 

Now if you'll excuse me, my couch and a period drama marathon are calling my name (Oh who am I kidding? I'll be sewing until at least dinnertime. Down time between projects is MY time!) 

Thursday, April 23, 2015

A Bridesmaid's Bustle

My oldest and dearest friend, K, doesn't sew. Well, that's not true. She can hem a pair of pants and reattach a button. But that's pretty much it. So when I asked her to be a bridesmaid in my Victorian wedding, it was with the knowledge that I would be making her dress, along with all the underpinnings. 

K loves red and black. I did her corset in a red and black rose brocade (finished in a hurry for her birthday, so no pictures!). When it came time to tackle the bustle, I decided black was boring, so I went for a vibrant red. I used Truly Victorian TV108, the petticoat bustle so I wouldn't need to make a separate petticoat.



Back. So. Many. Ruffles. 

K is a tiny thing so I shortened the pattern so much I lost an entire tier of ruffles. I also extended the bottom ruffle around the entire hem since there won't be a second petticoat. 

And a sneak peek of the untrimmed but otherwise completed dress (she's doing her final fitting tomorrow): 

More photos tomorrow when I have her in it!

Monday, March 23, 2015

A Petticoat from Nothing

While home over the holidays, antiquing with my mom, I picked up the most amazing(ly awful) wedding gown, circa 1990. What it lacked in taste, it made up for in an abundance of lovely pleated organza and lace trim, and a nice long, full train. 

I mean, come on, who wouldn't want to put this on their body?

Forgive the already detached pictures, I had it taken apart before I remembered to blog. 

To give this sad creature a new life, I decided to turn it into a Victorian petticoat.

Step One: remove zipper and bodice. Laugh some more at the care tag. 

Step Two: Measure out a piece of ribbon (I used petersham, you can use grosgrain or twill tape) your waist measurement + 2 1/2". Press under 1/2" on one short edge and 1" on the other short edge. This will support your closure. 

Step Three: Mark center front in your waistband and center front of the skirt. If you need to shorten the skirt, do so now, from the waist edge. To lengthen the skirt, measure a band of matching cotton the extra length you need plus 1" and stitch it to the top of your skirt with a 1/2" seam before attaching the waistband. Mine turned out to be fine, length-wise, so I didn't do either of these things. 

Step Four: pin both closure edges and center front. On the waistband edge where you pressed under 1/2", line the fold on the waistband up with the folded edge of the fabric. On the edge you pressed under 1", line the folded edge of the fabric up with the END of the ribbon. You will have 1" hanging over the edge. This is for your overlap and closure. 

Step Five: Gather or pleat the fabric to fit the waistband. You want to gather a bit more densely in the back if you want it to accommodate a bustle. I left 6 inches ungathered either side of center front, a little less than half my waist measurement. 

Step Six : Attach your waistband. I used a 1/2" seam. Adjust to your preference. 

Step Seven: Attach closures. 

And done!