Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Green and teal ruffled bustle dress

My absolute favorite historic era for dresses is the Early Bustle Era, from about 1869-1876. I made this dress in the spring of 2015 for an event at the Leduc historic estate in Hastings, MN.

The dress is made of silk taffeta in three colors; green for the main color, teal blue for the ruffles, and a light silvery grey for a small amount of accent. The bodice and skirt are lined in brown polished cotton. I made it mainly with the sewing machine. The buttons are fabric-covered wooden molds and aren't functional; the bodice actually closes with hooks and eyes. The triple overskirt is actually just a single overskirt with three ruffles applied.

To make this dress, I copied a fashion plate from 1873. It's not an exact copy; my sleeve cuffs are different, my silhouette is a little fuller, and I didn't do the hat, but I tried to get it close.

Patterns: I used the Truly Victorian Early Bustle Bodice as a base, but altered it for the style I wanted. For the skirt I enlarged this diagram from Peterson's magazine 1870, and the overskirt I just made up.

The hat is a straw doll's hat from the craft store. I shaped and trimmed it years ago and re-trimmed it to go with this dress.

I dyed a pair of shoes to match. These are Tissot Victorian pumps from American Duchess. I used color A156. I had to guess at the color and I think it came pretty close!

I am wearing it over my Truly Victorian combination undergarment, my white twill corset, new green twill wire bustle, and several petticoats.

The only thing that ended up being wrong with this dress was I couldn't raise my arms much! My "tried-and-true" sleeve pattern turned out not to be so true after all. I probably don't have enough fabric to fix it so I will just live with it. It was fine, except I couldn't drive wearing it, and I had to put my hat on before my bodice.

There is a matching evening bodice in the plan for this, which I will make for the January 2016 ball.

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