Mi's oft geeky sewing blog

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Summer Victorian - Write up

I thought before I posted the pictures from the shoot I would do a making of post. So I sifted through my camera pics and found… one in progress shot. I’m 80% sure I took more but I can’t find them :/

Anyway, I started writing this up and it was taking so long, I got impatient and posted the pics 8D

But I figured I’d still do a write up, and supplement with other pictures! So again, the original inspiration for this shoot was a Tissot themed picnic.

Source: via Mi on Pinterest

After looking at loads of his paintings I picked some stylings I liked and started looking at extant dresses.

Making of!

This dress from the 1870s was my main inspiration, I really like how simple it is, but love all the little touches like the bias under the ribbons.

Then I flipped through my historical patterning books and found this dress:

In Patterns of Fashion 2 by Janet Arnold. That was super exciting because I bought this in Bath and was itching for an opportunity to use it.

So then I did a little searching to see if I could find a pic of the actual dress.

Pinterest to the rescue!

It’s not totally like my inspiration dress, but it’s definitely similar enough, and even in the same colour scheme! (as if that really matters)

So I made copies of the pattern diagrams and got to marking them up in preparation for scaling. Usually I loooove scaling, because I like numbers and mathing. But after scaling and cutting out a muslin of the bodice I found somewhere in there I’d made a mistake. I think my mistake was in the very beginning, a simple addition error that led me to believe the extant garment had the same waist as I do. Serious absent minded mistake :/ But so when I scaled, I did a direct scale and didn’t size up for me, resulting in a too small mock up.

Okay now is where I mention how I had TOTALLY procrastinated on this thing, and we had a scheduled shoot with a professional photographer and everything, a date set in stone. So I knew I didn’t have time to rescale, and it was my own fault ;_;

Instead I had to pull out the bodice pattern I’d used on my previous Victorian, the pattern modified from Truly Victorian 463, and go from there.

In the interest of time I traced the pattern directly onto my muslin, modifying as I went, which is pretty much my standard M.O. because I always procrastinate :/ I totally removed the seam for the faux vest, did away with the dart (but that’s because my waist isn’t different enough from my hips/bust to need it), modified the neckline, and chopped the whole thing off a few inches below the waist.

It fit almost perfectly, I only had to modify the shoulder line (per usual, curse my tiny shoulders!). Then I had wanted to semi-replicate the center front of my inspiration dress, and wanted to have a 2” inch opening, with the ties going across, and a chevroned panel behind that.

Which is where my one actual progress pic comes in:

Chevroning is probably one of my favourite things to do ever 8D

Anyway, I think it was right after I took that picture when I thought “Huh, this panel seems pretty wide…” and then I looked back at what I’d done aaaaand, instead of a two inch gap I’d cut two inches off both sides. Far too late to do anything about it so… I just had to go with a 4” center front panel. This is why I keep telling myself I won’t procrastinate, because I make stupid mistakes when I’m rushing :/

Here are some pics I took just this morning of the bodice, I really should have ironed it first...

This is the back, more chevrons! I also tried to match up the side back seams’ stripes as well as I could, but curved seams so what can you do. Which is why I love the piping in the seam, it breaks up the line juuuust enough.


This is the shoulders and back, I also piped the shoulder seams for much the same reason. Beyond just liking piping. That piping was actually a pain, I used a Joann fabric from the casa collection, the crepe I think? Anyway, the blue matched really well, I bought the rest of the bolt, which was something like a yard maybe a yard and half. For bias tape I thought that’d be plenty. Nope. I ended up having to go to another Joann for more, and the dye lots didn’t match, so I used one dye lot for the plain bias tape, and one dye lot for the piping. I think with the sheen it’s not so obvious…


I found some ribbon that matched really well, so was able to use that for small accents as well. This is the sleeve, with really light gathering. I ended up not doing the strip of striped bias with ribbon/solid bias like my inspiration picture because I realized I’d have to hand sew that and there was so not enough time 8D


For the front I ended up using the ribbon and buttons to try and make it seem less… wide. Then I used some scrap of bias tape and gathered it into that flower. I don’t know if that’s historically accurate? But I liked it.

For the skirt I combined the Janet Arnold pattern with Truly Victorian 201, which is what I used for the brown underskirt of my other Victorian. I cropped the train from the JA pattern a bit, and lengthened the TV skirt. There’s a plain white cotton broadcloth underskirt, because my fashion fabric is a bit see through, then the main skirt is basically the same thing, with a bias border and piping in the seam. I looooove piping! And bias cut stripes :D

For the 2nd/over skirt, I went back to the JA pattern but lengthened the pattern in the back.

I really like the back of this dress, so I wanted to do something similar. Once the piping and trim was on, I pinned it to my dressform and draped the side ruching. Which reminds me I reeeeeally need to reform my dressform, it’s a nice hanger but I can’t drape anything truly fitted on it :/

What else…. I ran out of time to do as much trimmings as I wanted, but then I also really like the simplicity of it, so I’m not sure I will add to it… Oh hat~!


I took a straw hat I had on hand for something else and tore it apart, then zigzaged it back together in a circle.


Then I took leftover crepe in a rectangle and free hand pleated it to the edge.

I did a running stitch along the free end and just gathered the whole thing into the center and tacked it in. Then covered the edge with bias tape.


(Sorry my hat is really smushed right now D:)
My mum is really good at make ribbon rosettes so I asked her to make a bunch of varying sizes and tacked and glued them on “artfully.” And I think that’s it!

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