This is a photo diary of my costuming "travels"; where I've learned and struggled to make historical costumes for myself. They're not always pretty, but always fun, most of the time. And I want to share with others what I learn along the way. **You can find me on Facebook, or have my posts delivered to your email by signing up at the lower part of the right column.**

About Me

My photo
HI, my name is Val. I'm a member of Costumer's Guild West in Los Angeles, Dean Emeritus of 2018 Costume College; Past President of the San Diego Costume Guild, member of Orange County Costume Guild, and a representative of the San Diego History Center. I make my own historical costumes but don't sell any unless I get tired of one.The eras I've made so far are 1770 up to 1918. My favorite is the 1880s bustle.


Thursday, October 11, 2018

There has been some sewing: 1873 Purple Voile Bustle

I took a break from sewing after Costume College was finally over at the end of July. I walked away with my brain fried, body exhausted, and mind frazzled. But a tiny illumination of a dress kept popping up and reminding me I wanted/needed to make it. I’d saved this painting above for a few years and finally found some purple floral printed cotton voile I could use for it. I am in love with cotton voiles, and keep a lookout for any that I come across. They’re so hard to find anymore. I’ve seen a few of my friends with this same fabric and knew I had to make mine not look the same as theirs. But I wanted it light and floofy-looking. Because I liked the square neckline of the 1870s, I decided to go with an 1873 style.

Before the mad rush of trying to finish things for Costume College, I was able to cut out most of my dress using Truly Victorian patterns # 462 with the short back, #201 for the skirt, with #303 for the overskirt. Both the overskirt and skirt would have ruffles around the edges. 

And so they all sat until around mid-September when I finally felt the need to sew again. Since the fabric is sheer, I had originally planned on lining it in white cotton, and had cut out all the pieces, including the skirt for it. Except the white made it look washed out. So, I used some lavender cotton and that made the little purple flowers pop. The white fabric won't go to waste though. I will be making a petticoat out of it to go with this.
After having my bodice muslin fitted at Shelley Peters’ workshop, I got the bodice sewn quickly (no boning or sleeve ruffles yet), and then the skirt. But since my dressform was still downstairs after CoCo, it hadn’t been brought back up to get its corset and undies put back on, so my first reveal of it is rather sad, The neckline is actually a lot lower than this too. But it gave me a working view of how to do my trims. 
The neckline will have a lace ruffle around it, and the sleeves will have self-fabric ruffles with the same lace on them. I first thought I would add a narrow purple ribbon along the edges of the neckline too, but remembered I had a purple silk rose I wanted to use on the front of my bodice, and it glaringly didn’t match the ribbon. So the rose won. 

My buttons are from a set of vintage embossed rose ones that I bought a few years ago in Port Townsend, WA, at the Button Bazaar. My hat from Atelier Mela, was custom-ordered to go with this, and I bought a pair of grape cluster earrings from The Lady Detalle after seeing those. 

Other than the skirt, that’s as far as I’ve gotten with this, and am a bit distracted by the thought of making a red/green plaid cotton bustle dress for some Xmas teas coming up. It would be so much more comfortable that the silk taffeta dress I’ve worn in the past, but if it doesn’t happen, then that dress may get some white fur trim added to it.
Since I am leaving shortly for a vacation, this is as far as everything has gotten but I hope I come home rested, and ready to get back to work on everything.