Samstag, 31. Mai 2014

1883 winter bustle dress - planning

This year I made the resolution to return to my roots and make at least one bustle dress. Bustle dresses are my costuming roots because I totally fell in love with them after I saw Francis Ford Coppola's Dracula movie. I had to have one, and after a quick research revealed that there was absolutely no way I could afford having one made, I decided it would be time to start learning how to sew. That was in 2004 (hey, that's 10 years ago! Anniversary! Whee!).
I didn't dive right into the subject but started with some easy stuff like skirts and bags, and stayed there for a while. My fascination for victorian fashion was rekindled a few years later when I went to Budapest, visited the Hungarian National Gallery and came across this painting of a lady dressed in a purple gown:

"Lilaruhás nő" (Woman in a purple dress) by Szinyei Merse Pál, 1874 
I love this dress so much I named this blog after it. :)

Anyway, because life in general and motivational problems in particular tend to get in the way of my sewing plans, I still didn't make a bustle dress until 2009, when I needed something to wear for my first historical ball. I literally had no idea what I was doing, and of course the gown was a mess and my mom had to sew me into the bodice so it would stay shut.

Mom in a surprisingly beautiful rental dress and I :) .
The velvet part of my dress looks black but it's actually a rich shade of royal blue.
I know it looks fine on the picture, but believe me, you wouldn't want to know how the bodice looked on closer inspection. Not to mention that it is actually far too small, and that I wanted a lot more trim on the dress.
I disassembled the bodice right after the ball, and to my shame I have to admit that to this day I still haven't put it together again. That's another plan for this year, but there will be a separate blogpost.

Back to what this is actually about: plans for a new bustle dress. It's not going to be the purple dress, because I must use some of these ridiculous amounts of fabric I own before I can justify buying any new, and at the moment I couldn't afford it anyway.

So I decided to tackle another dress I've been admiring for some time, and I already have suitable fabric for it in my stash. It's the left one from this fashion plate from Illustrirte Frauen-Zeitung Nr. 22 from November 16th, 1883.

Image from

I just love the combination of dark blue shades with white or cream (see my bustle ball gown). On the fashion plate it looks as there are even some  grey and green hues in the blue. I was very lucky to find a suitably coloured wool mix fabric at a bargain price a few years ago, which was such a good deal I actually bought the whole bolt.

Fabric and possible fur trim

It has woven stripes, which in my opinion makes it even better, although the stripes are not that conspicuous when not photographed with flash.
Below is some fake fur I might use for the fur trims. I'm still not sure if it looks too fake or if it is fine, but I decided not to worry about it prematurely.

Fake or fine?

I'll start with Truly Victorian patterns 261 (underskirt) and 460 (bodice) and work my way from there.

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