This was something I was able to sew very quickly to wear to the Port Townsend Victorian Heritage Festival for 2017.
So, my favorite part began: researching from various sites of ideas for fabric colors/patterns, different ways to trim the bodice and skirt, hats, purses, and of course hair. Except the hair never happened. I ran out of time before I had to leave town and wear the dress.Pinterest has become my go-to site now for photos of extant clothing, and I especially love it when the item is dated, although you still have to be wary of that since even museums get it wrong sometimes. Besides getting ideas for fabric to look for, I picked some of my favorite parts of the dresses for adding a trim to the shirtwaist, and I knew they liked bright colors. I liked the contrasting bow you often see on the back of the collar but later saw it was near the end of the 90s, and my dress would be around 1894.
Here’s a note once you start laying out your pattern pieces. The back piece says CUT 2 ON FOLD. You only need ONE.
The sleeves call for a netting lining to help hold out all the floofiness. I tried doing this one other time and only lined them halfway but the ends kept wanting to roll up. This time I cut two layers of the wide netting, not the fine tulle stuff, top stitched it to the back of my sleeve fabric, then my layer of cotton lining, and sewed the sleeves together. I used a pair of thread nippers and trimmed off any of the netting I could get to inside the seams because you don’t want that stuff sticking out. It’s scratchy! But the beauty it gives those floofy sleeves is amazing. Later this year I’m hoping to take a class to make sleeve supports for these and my 1830s dresses, but in the meantime, this works. And netting is cheap too. Since it’s so wide, I bought one yard and was able to cut all four layers out of it.
I flatlined everything with brown cotton, then sewed my front plackets on first to the shirtwaist so they were lined up nicely. Then I pinned my side seams on me so they were roughly fitted and sewed them. I sewed the gathers on the body, and on the peplum, after sewing it together, then pulled them in to fit each other. Voila! Next up was the collar, which I just did the standing collar, not a high one because I have a short neck and high necks aren’t so attractive on me. Or maybe I’m not so attractive in them. This then gave me the opportunity to work on my lapels. I drew a pattern as wide as I could, cut it out of the aqua fabric, and lined the back with brown fabric to save on the aqua. I really would have loved to have really wide lapels but it wasn’t to be. Since this is handstitched on, maybe at some later date when I find more aqua taffeta I can remake them. Later I relocated the lapels to be part of the front plackets and liked that better. And the sleeves got attached! Yay, it’s almost done!
https://goldstartool.com/Grommet-and-Snap-Press/ I bought the $69 one with one die set. If all you need is the small 00 size grommets that most of us use for corsets, that’s all you need. The photo with the arrows shows you the two die bits it comes with. You don’t need a cutter one because if you’re a costume maker, you know you never cut the fabric. You simply separate the threads with an awl and spread it to hold the grommets.
For my hat, I pulled out a boater with a black band I had, covered the crown with cream taffeta and added stuff. I saw lots of big bows, feathers, and many with a buckle or brooch in front.