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!))