1870 wool traveling dress

I made this 1870 wool traveling dress specifically to be on the cover of Walks Alone by Sandi Rog. Here is the mock-up of the cover.

I used Truly Victorian patterns 400 for the bodice and 303 for the apron/overskirt. I draped the skirt directly on the dressform, creating my own design.

I highly recommend Truly Victorian patterns. The fitting method really works. I made a few adjustments, such as changing the neckline, and shortening the lower edge of the bodice, and I changed the dart placement and size slightly, but those changes are to be expected. I didn’t mark the pleats on the overskirt, opting to drape them myself since I didn’t have a full bustle support.

Undergarment support: chemise, petticoat, bustle pad, 1860 corset.

I didn’t spend a whole lot of time detailing the back since the front was what mattered for the book cover. Also, a traveling dress wouldn’t have extra detailing that would only be sat upon in a stage coach or train.

I love the seam detailing of the patterns of yesteryear! This photo shows the back of the bodice.

Once i sewed the peplum to the back of the bodice, the whole bustle look started to take shape.

This was my first experience piping an inside corner. Maybe it was fool hardy, but I didn’t even sew up a test! I think the neckline turned out quite nice anyway.

I lined the whole bodice with handkerchief weight linen, which worked wonderfully (you can see it inside the sleeve). The buttons are purely decorative; the functional closure is hooks and eyes.

While sewing and pressing the darts, I felt like I was molding the fabric like clay – wool is so nice to work with!

The pleated sleeve ruffles are piped, just like the ruffle on the skirt.

Am I obsessive when it comes to things like matching up seams? Maybe, but little details can make or break a project!

While pleating yards of fabric, I wondered whether the extra effort would be worth it. As soon as I stitched the ruffle onto the skirt, I knew it was!

It’s settled. Wool is my favorite fabric to sew with.

((Many thanks to my dad, Mark Newhouse http://gnuhaus.tumblr.com for taking the photos!))


19 Responses to “1870 wool traveling dress”

  1. Oh, WOW! It’s BEAUTIFUL! You did an amazing job. It’s so lovely. xxx

  2. Jordan, this is GORGEOUS! I’m so, so impressed.

  3. It is absolutely beautiful! You do such careful work, and it really “makes” the garment. I can’t wait to see it on the book cover!

  4. The third and bottom photos have spots. Did you clean those up before sending in?

    • Yes, a few photos have spots, but the dress itself is clear of them. My photos won’t be appearing on the book, I have sent the actual dress to be modeled. The publishing company will be taking care of the official photos. After I get the dress back I will retake some of the photos.

  5. Jordan, you are simply amazing. You did an AWESOME job. Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous!

  6. That is gorgeous!! Roseanna sent me the link because I’m a 19th century costume geek.

  7. Lovely work! It looks like it belongs in a museum. Thanks for sharing!

  8. What gorgeous detail. I can hardly wait to see it on the model. Must keep you in mind for God-willing my next cover with WhiteFire,

  9. Beautiful work, and great attention to detail! Love it!

  10. AWW! Wow to cute 🙂 Please stop by to see my giveaway! There are 11 different prizes and for every entry I will donate 50 cents to the winners chosen charity! I am your newest follower 🙂

    hugs! Hannah from http://www.hannahhandmade.blogspot.com

  11. that is amazing work. I love fashions from different eras.
    thanks for sharing the incredible amount of detail needed to create such a wonderful piece.

  12. Jordan, this dress is stunning! I’m so glad I got to see it. The crisp pleats all around the hem are are so eye-catching.

  13. Jordan, you designed that for a BOOK cover?! That is so, so, SO awesome! It looks great. Wouldn’t it be cool to actually dress up in clothes like that? I might get a bit sick of it after awhile (Okay, maybe two days) but it’d be fun.


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