A Prairie Princess Bustle Dress (To Beat Those Winter Blues)
Hi all! I realized I never properly blogged about this dress I made back in the spring of last year. So what better time than the middle of winter, right?
In April, I visited American Duchess HQ in Reno, NV. Abby took me to Mill End Fabrics while I was there, where I proceeded to buy a bunch of really garish cotton print including a rather psychedelic paisley (I blame jet lag? Or something?).
I was invited to a Victorian tea at my friend the Modern Mantua Maker's house in DC in May, and thought it was a great excuse to actually make the thing. I was primarily inspired by this printed cotton gown from the V&A.
I basically used the same patterns as my 1880's Plaid Bustle, but where that gown is tailored and chic, this one is ruffly and ridiculous--and super fun.
I met up with Lauren of American Duchess on the same East Coast trip, and we had a fun photoshoot in Central Park. Then I almost got her killed with my idea of a photo on 7th ave in rush hour traffic. Ooops. Worth it though, right? Lauren is a great photographer, and it's fun to work with someone who understands both historical dress and composition etc.
The skirt is made on a base of random muslin from my stash, with visible portions covered in fashion fabric. The ruffles and overdrape are applied to this. I got a bit carried away with my bias cut ruffles, and ended up with not quiiiite enough fashion fabric to do as much swagging in the back as I would have liked. And I'm always saying to mark everything before you cut to make sure there's enough...but I'm the worst at following my own advice.
I faced the hem in some magenta stash cotton, but I need to replace it with something else because it's not quite colorfast. My petticoat ended up a bit pink around the edges. Ooops!
The bodice is a pretty simple affair. It is flatlined in some polished cotton that I have had in my stash forever, boned on the seams, and buttoned in front. The back has a pleated, pointed peplum. A waist tape holds things in place. It's a bit more wrinkly than I would like through the upper torso once I move around in it, but we see the same wrinkling in photos from the period so I'm cool with it. I also have not padded the side bust area as I did on the plaid bodice, which would probably solve a majority of that issue.
For undergarments, I'm wearing a chemise, a custom version of our 1880's Victorian Corset, a bustle in size S, and a petticoat.
I finished off the look with Tissot shoes by American Duchess, a bonnet I made from a thrift store hat. You can read the tutorial for that here.
Looking back at these photos, I am reminded of all of the adventures I had and friends I saw in 2018. It was a busy, difficult, thrilling, and overall successful year.