Summer Ensemble, c. 1871

Summery early bustle ensemble inspired by many extant examples and illustrations of this style and era of dress. Mine is made in light weight floral cotton and lined with cotton. The bodice is made from my own pattern, closes at the front with hooks and eyes (the buttons are decorative only), has piping on the edges and at the join of the sleeve to the shoulder, and is trimmed with satin ribbon sewn by hand into little “puffs.” The skirt is also trimmed in this same way. The 1870s foundation skirt from Hunnisett’s “Period Costume for Stage & Screen 1800-1909” was used for the underskirt, and Truly Victorian #305 for the overskirt. The hat shown is a purchased straw form (the “Clio” from Truly Victorian) that I trimmed with ribbons and “silk” flowers.
Dress Diary
7/10/05
I enlarged the pattern for the 1870s foundation skirt from Hunnisett. It was made for someone with a smaller waist than me, so I will need to eliminate one of the pleats, but that is fine. (In these pictures, I had eliminated one of the pleats in back, but I have since taken one from the side instead, which has given it a better hang.
      
7/27/05
Here is the overskirt in progress (note that I have not yet folded the waistband down at all, and that the back will look better when all the tapes are sewn in place):
      
3/21/06
I've been doing a little work over the past few weeks on this ensemble again. Mainly, I've been draping and muslining up a storm to try to get the perfect bodice. I thought it would be best to start with a fitting lining, and then the fashion fabric layer could have fullness to create the look I want. Here is the fitting of the lining:
   
6/18/06
Since my last post, I finally got around to making a new corset, since the old one wasn't fitting so well any more. Once I got that done, I tried on my most recent bodice muslin for this 1871 ensemble, and found that not much needs to be done after all, other than tweaking the darts and perhaps nipping it in at the lower CB. Thank goodness! I also have the start of a sleeve, which will be cut off at the elbow, since it won't be long-sleeved, but rather, will come to the elbow and flare out.
   

7/9/06
I've been working more on the bodice and sleeves. I tried two different ways of getting a flare at the elbow, one being just a gathered rectangle, and the other a shaped piece. I liked the shaped piece much better, and so that is the one I'm going with:
      
7/30/06
Here are some shots of my progress:
      
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