Thursday, February 2, 2017

A Plain and Simple Dress Without A Lot Of Frippery

I made this dress for the Little House Party. The idea was to have a good winter dress that was relatively plain. Don't get me wrong, I love frippery! Bows and ruffles and flowers and ribbons make my heart flutter. But I wanted something that was more sensible for everyday wear, or possibly Sunday best for someone of more limited means.

We do enough dress up events here that I knew this would get a lot of wear, and I know it will be a great wardrobe staple to fall back on.

The other idea is that this dress is a blank canvas. I have a contrasting wool for a coordinating bodice, and I have a vague idea of some cute little over-bodices to pair with this. A black lace fichu would not be out of the question either.

Enough chatter, on to pictures! These were all taken at the Hill House during our Little House weekend.

The skirt is plain, made from the same basic Peterson's skirt I used for the Green Ruffle Bustle dress. I ended up fiddling with the pattern to eliminate the (very) slight demi-train and also made it a little narrower in front. I gave the skirt a wide bias hem facing, which I eased to shape at the top and hand-hemmed.

I used the same bodice pattern as my last few dresses. I call it Bodice X. It started out as a Truly Victorian Early Bustle bodice but I put it through a lot of changes. Now I basically use it as a sloper. I am pretty pleased with the fit. There are always more tweaks I could do, but it's pretty good.

The sleeves are also an adjusted version of the same pattern. For 1870s they could be a little looser, but I like the cap shape and my arm mobility is good!

The overskirt is just made up. It has a pleated self-fabric trim around the hem. I made a self-lined tube so I wouldn't have to hem anything and used a fork to create my pleats.

The fabric is a silk and wool blend (60/40 I think) that I got from Treadle. I bought the entire bolt, maybe 8 yards, almost the day it arrived.

This is one of my hurried "just in case" shots from before we left the house that day. The colors look slightly off, but you can see the back, anyway. I might go back and fiddle with the overskirt draping some more.

A couple detail shots. Did I really have to line it in this awesome shirting stripe? Not really. Do I totally love it though? YES.

Spiral bones in the curved side back seams, white steel in the darts.

The buttons are vintage from work. I was unsure about committing to something so contrast-y, but I love the way these work. 

The buttons are functional and I machined my buttonholes.

Overall, I was super happy with how this dress turned out!


  1. Despite being a "simple" dress I think it is really lovely! The fabric is a great color as well.

    1. Thank you! I am quite pleased with it!