1880s Evening Gown – Sewing & Construction

In my last post I told you about my trouble with the pattern for my opera gown. Now I will tell you about the sewing and construction of it, and also show you the finished gown (bodice and train only).IMG_5007

So after I got the mock-up to fit properly I brought out my fashion fabric. The dress is made in a polyester golden brocade, which both feels and behaves a lot like silk. IMG_5304

I bought 6 m of it on sale before christmas, and now it was time to lay it out on the floor. IMG_4980

I also cut the lining, adjusting the lenght of the train to the 4 m long ivory cotton. IMG_4987

The different layers (lining, fashion fabric, interlining (cotton twill) and paper pattern piece).IMG_4988

Then I marked all the darts (as usual being very bad at marking the notches), and basted al the layers together. IMG_4989

I recently learnt a new trick, on how to sew darts on fabric and interlinning which I wanted to try. You simply baste the layers close to the darts, then sew inside the dart, very close to the original sewing-line.

IMG_5000 IMG_5001

This way you can easy get a nice looking dart without any bulk, and the stiching won’t show once the dart is sewn.

I then sewed the whole bodice together, and dressed in corset and bustle for a try on. IMG_5021

IMG_5032 IMG_5044

Hm, not great. Some changes are needed. Like taking the armhole and shoulder seams in a bit. I also need to re-shape the front a bit, and make the neck opening a bit lower and bigger.

Once all the changes was made, it was time for the buttonholes. I started by practice on a piece of scrap fabric, and it looks pretty decent (if you ignore the green thread).IMG_5070

So, on to the real deal. Marking the spaces and finish covering the buttons.IMG_5076

The buttonholes took about 3 hours (guess I’ve becoming faster), and when finished I sewed on the buttons. I’m really pleased with the way the front bodice looks, and are happy I took the time and money to buy 5 extra buttons. IMG_5079

Then I pinned and sewed on some boning chanels (made from leftover cotton stripes) and put the cable ties in.IMG_5086

Then I once again got dressed to try it on.

IMG_5090 IMG_5106

And even though it fit much better now, it still needed to be reduced a bit at the shoulders.

But the waist and the front clouser looked fantastic (if I may say so myself).IMG_5122

Now it was time to make the piping for the neckline. I used a cotton cord and some leftover fashion fabric (cut on the straight grain).IMG_5125

Pinning those pesky corners, making sure they look neat, and cuting the seam allowence to get the piping laying smoothly.IMG_5124

Then I sewed on the lining. I folded the allowence and sewed it on by hand at the neckline/collar and buttonhole stand.IMG_5127

Then I started on the back pleats. Using the pattern as a guide and treating the two layers (fabric and lining) as one, box-pleating the three back seams.IMG_5128I then attached the pleats to the bodice sewing into the interling by hand.

Next up was the lenght – cuting and heming the train.IMG_5145

After sewing the lining to the train from the inside, I snipped the seam-allowence, IMG_5148

and pressed them flat, making sure the lining was a couple of mm smaler, les it would peek out.IMG_5149

Heming the train would have been an easy step, if I’ve cut the lining long enough. But no, I had to skrimp on the fabric, leaving me no other choise but to piece the train (using scraps) to the desired lengt.IMG_5457

Then I mesured/draped the train to get the right placement on the laces for the “poufines” in the bustle back.IMG_5451

When wearing the dress you simply tie the stings together to get the right lenght on the train. IMG_5454

When the bodice was finished I brought out the fabric I saved for the apron, and got to work draping it on the dressform.

IMG_5138 IMG_5136

I also decided the dress needed some more decoration. And finding this fringe trim the day before the bal caused me to re-visit the sewing machine, and using 8 m of it on the hem of the bodice, train and apron. IMG_5247(And since this was a last minute change, I haven’t got any picture of the trimmed dressed).

Even with the dress finished I’m not totaly happy with the neckline – the fabric is being pulled in some ugly directions at the neck, caused by some fiting trouble.IMG_5363But It is to late to do anything about it now, and the bal room will be faily dark…

So here it is, the finished dress/bodice.IMG_5412

IMG_5414

IMG_5427

IMG_5152Train un-draped

IMG_5426

IMG_5156 IMG_5160

Train draped leaving the sides straight/down, and then with sides tied up.

IMG_5166Train totaly draped (walking lenght).

IMG_5165

Facts:

What: A 1880s trained evening bodice.

Pattern: Truly Victorian 462 (totaly re-modeled)

Fabric: 6 m golden polyester brocade, 4 m ivory cotton lining, 0,5 m ivory cotton twill for interlining.

Notions: Thread, buttonhole thread, 15 buttons (which I covered in fabric), 2 m string for piping, 3 m string for busteling/draping the train, 8 plastic cable ties for boning, 2 m self made cotton bias tape for boning chanels, 8 m brown fringe trim.

Time: 25 hours

Cost: About 800 Sek (120 Usd)

Things I would do Different: I would definitely have draped my own pattern, and taken the time to do multiple mock-ups to get the fit over the shoulders and neck just right. I will also have changed the lines of the side/back piece which curved shape now causes it to pull a bit. And re-placed the straight boning with spiral boning in the curved side/back seam, for the same puporse.

Final Thoughts: I love the dress. I think it is cool yet elegant and I did get lots of compliments on it at the bal. The unusal neckline makes it so interesting and viasualy pleasing.

I would love to wear it again – perhaps at a steampunk convention, paired with brown throusers and some cool accessories.

Advertisements

17 thoughts on “1880s Evening Gown – Sewing & Construction

  1. How many ties did you use for the back to get that gorgeous effect? I’ve been having difficulty figure out the number of ties I need and the placement for my own bustle and would love any advice.

    • I used 8 ties (4 at center back, and 2 on each side).
      I could have used les, but wanted to be able to let the train down compleatly – the 2 ties on top (center back) could have been stiched down instead.
      I quite like that it is so versitale.

      • Thanks so much for your advice! I will probably use the same amount, I love the different looks you get from bustling it in different ways
        !

  2. Pingback: Inspiration – Outfit break-down | Atelier Nostalgia

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s