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Forum > Vintage Sewing > 1880 - 1890's Day Dress ( Moderated by JEF)

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1880 - 1890's Day Dress
Using "Past Patterns" #903 - Welcoming your Tips
Silknmore
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Date: 9/2/11 10:41 AM

My SIL has asked me to make a period dress for her volunteer work as a docent in a period home. The pattern she has chosen is "Past Patterns" #903 pattern link

I've made fancy dresses and wedding dresses but have never taken the dive into period costumes. I'd welcome any tips or resources on this type of sewing and fabric recommendations.

Thank you
Annette

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Silknmore
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Margaret
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Date: 9/2/11 5:46 PM

I've actually made that pattern but didn't get around to reviewing it I'll add my comments on the pattern, but I don't do a huge number of period costumes, so maybe someone else can provide more information there, especially on fabrics?

It seemed like a good pattern (well drafted with well-researched instructions that won't have you end up with something obviously inauthentic, as far as I can tell), and is a bit of an easier-to-sew style than some of the others from its time. The bodice is underlined, but there is no boning on the seams or lining in the skirt. I personally used a nice, smooth cotton print, blue on cream, and added blue velvet ribbon trim. For the underlining I used a plain cotton broadcloth.

Do check the length of the shoulder seam, because I found it slightly broad-shouldered for the size I used. IIRC, I think it is *probably* sized to be worn over a corset, but not for a really tiny waist -- anyway, it's definitely worth measuring the pattern. If worn without a corset, the lack of boning in the bodice might cause some wrinkling, although the underlining may help some.

I think the skirt looks best with at least one petticoat/underskirt to make it stand out some at the bottom and visually counteract the (otherwise possibly bulky-looking) gathers... not to mention that petticoats would certainly have been worn at the time. Also, do NOT use pointy buttons -- there are over 20 of them and fastening them gets to be a pain! I used diamond-shaped buttons and have come to regret it.

HTH!
-- Edited on 9/2/11 5:46 PM --

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Stash turnover:
Q1 2014: -17.655yd +4.222yd
Q2 2014: -72.3yd +14.08yd

stirwatersblue
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stirwatersblue
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In reply to Margaret


Date: 9/5/11 11:00 PM

Quote: Margaret
I think it is *probably* sized to be worn over a corset.... If worn without a corset, the lack of boning in the bodice might cause some wrinkling, although the underlining may help some.



I think the skirt looks best with at least one petticoat/underskirt to make it stand out some at the bottom and visually counteract the (otherwise possibly bulky-looking) gathers... not to mention that petticoats would certainly have been worn at the time. Also, do NOT use pointy buttons -- there are over 20 of them and fastening them gets to be a pain! I used diamond-shaped buttons and have come to regret it.



HTH!
-- Edited on 9/2/11 5:46 PM --

Exactly what I was going to say! Before you start sewing, find out whether it's intended to be worn over a corset. It will affect the fit in a huge way.

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~Gem in the prairie

auntie bellums
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Date: 9/28/11 5:34 PM

Depending on the cut of he pattern it may need a bustle pad. The 1880's marked the return of the bustle so you may need to fill up that fullness or bunchiness at the base of the back with something.

They are pretty easy to make, there are patterns, but I don't know that you need one. Here is a like on how to make a simple one.

bustle pad

You can always alter the pattern to get rid of the bustle, It's just an adjustment at the top of the back of the skirt.

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It's not your mamma's sewing.....It's your great grandmamma's

Margaret
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In reply to auntie bellums


Date: 10/1/11 6:13 AM

I didn't find the dress had enough fullness/extra length in back to really need a bustle -- it's supposed to be from the very end of the 1880s, when the bustle was going out of fashion. But it depends on the shape of the wearer too

You might consider adding a ruffle of some stiff fabric (horsehair? many layers of netting?) on the inside of the skirt, attached at the waist seam, if it seems to need it. Or petticoats with the gathering concentrated to the back might be enough. The bustle pad pattern could also probably be adapted to be smaller/flatter if needed -- thanks for linking it!

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http://stoffandnonsense.blogspot.com
Stash turnover:
Q1 2014: -17.655yd +4.222yd
Q2 2014: -72.3yd +14.08yd

Silknmore
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Date: 10/1/11 7:35 AM

Thank you all for the tips. I'll let you know how it goes as I work on the dress. Maybe the biggest challenge is that this is a long distance project.

Annette

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Silknmore
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PittyPat
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PittyPat
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In reply to Silknmore


Date: 10/25/11 5:46 PM

Quote: Silknmore
Thank you all for the tips. I'll let you know how it goes as I work on the dress.

SilknMore, I have sewn several period patterns and the best advice I can offer is to always make a muslin of at least the top and maybe a sleeve.... Patterns from other eras then to fit a lot different than the modern ones. I cut my muslin out of pre-shruk muslin fabric and baste it together to check for fit. I will usually do at least one sleeve and baste it into the bodice to check if there is enough room in the upper arm and to swing arm back and forth.

Quote: Silknmore
Maybe the biggest challenge is that this is a long distance project


If you have time, you could send the muslin to the wearer and have her try it on to check for fit. I am thrifty by nature, so if the muslin works out, I use it for an underlining of the bodice.

Depending on what occassion she will be wearing the garment - a cotton print would be nice for daytime wear. For evening a velvet/velveteen would be nice; or winter wear, a herringbone tweed or solid tweed would be okay.
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