Tuesday, September 18, 2012

The 1880s Book Cover Dress

Project Update:

I'm coming out of my sewing funk...I had fun with my five day steampunk project and now I'm sewing bow ties.  I've started the Book Dress with a mock up using the Truly Victorian bodice, but I've made changes to how I cut the pattern -- I will discuss that more below.

I made some changes in how I want the final product because I realized I really didn't like the stripe on the sleeve on the original book cover dress.  I did the best I could do with my kindergarten like art program to change the picture to more of how I want the dress.  So the bottom line, it is no longer an "exact copy."


I began my mock up by setting up my dress form with my corset at the desired waist size, my TV bustle and my TV skirt from another costume so I could get an idea where things would fall.  I cut the bodice pattern just a size larger than my usual pattern size so I could get a lot of adjustment.  I already know that my bust-waist ratio requires extra fiddling with patterns and that I am short waisted so that requires some adjustment as well.

I cut the TV pattern without the back folds since this pattern appears to stop at the waist.  I will also add hooks and eyes at the waist to keep the skirt joined with the bodice.  Here are photos of the mock up at stage one....big and loosly pinned with only some beginning adjustments, note dart at bust:


I've never attempted to replicate a dress from a book, fashion plate, or photo.  Now for a Guild holiday tea in December I've decided on another bustled dress.  I love bustled fashions and now that I've done the 1870s I'm excited about a new bustle project.

I already made the Truly Victorian bustle, a simple wonderful project that I used industrial tie straps instead of steel for the boning with great success.  I will also use the 1870s underskirt pattern as a base, rather than buy an 1880s pattern, and the 1884 French vest pattern as a base for the top.  Here are the Truly Victorian patterns: 


The dress that I will try for is on the cover of  "Victorian and Edwardian Fashions from 'La Mode Illustre."  Many costumers have this in their collection, I believe it was a Dover publication which was readily available a few years ago:

Here is a close up of the dress:

I decided on trying a blue dress after I scored two beautiful panels of jewel tone blue cotton velvet and wanted to do something "wintery."  I have looked for a really long time for the right contrasting fabric and haven't found anything with the dark print on the red background.  However, I have found a red with a gold weave. It would be 100% match to the picture but it will be close.  I will have to construct the striped fabric from the two fabrics I use.  I don't plan to use a third printed blue fabric, and will use the solid blue velvet throughout.  The dress, I believe, is not made from velvet but I thought would look really pretty, and make such a good winter dress in the heavier materials.  There are no pictures of the other side of the dress so I'm not quite sure how I will drape the striped portion, but I have time to figure it out.  I will also have to add lapels to the Truly Victorian pattern if I am to simulate this dress.  I'm not in a great hurry ot work on this, my home hasn't quite recovered from sewing three projects in a row...lots of pins and bits randomly around, but the tea is December 29th and I will be doing mock ups first. I will post as I go on this one.

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