Time Traveling to 1895

Hi Readers!

I’m happy to share my latest historical costume with you.  This one takes us back to about 1895, complete with huge puffed sleeves, ribbons and rosettes.  This isn’t my first foray into Late Victorian sewing, but it is the first time that I went with bold sleeves and a historically accurate flat lining and bodice boning.

To start with, I used Laughing Moon #103, an 1890’s waist with four bodice and five sleeve options.  I chose the simplest one, mostly as I wanted a gown where the color and the design took center stage, without a lot of frills. This bodice design dates to 1893-97 and has a center front opening, v-neck and full boning.

I have an antique late-1890’s dress in my collection and I spent a lot of time studying it while working on this as I used the same techniques.  It’s flat lined with brown cotton sateen (no longer available on the website, but there is sateen in other colors) with a rayon seam binding “Hong Kong” finish.  I mixed steel and German plastic boning which is hand sewn to the seams and darts.  I used vintage bias tape to create the boning channels.

I also used antique hooks and eyes from about the same period as this dress design.  They probably took the longest to sew on.  I started with eyes, but ended up changing them to bars at the midnight hour as the bars are better at keeping the bodice closed, along with being easier to hook.

The sleeves have a fitted undersleeve with a very large outersleeve which is stuffed with vintage tulle.  It’s malleable, so I can puff them up more or less.  I added ribbon rosettes and a bow.

For the skirt, I used the Scroop Historical Fantail Skirt, adding a train, which is really my favorite part of this outfit.  The skirt is also flatlined with cotton sateen and the seams have a faux French seam finish, which is also the seam finish on my antique dress.  I hand sewed the hem, catch-stitching it to the lining.

I used the emerald green poly taffeta from Cali for this dress.  It’s my favorite color and I was happy that Cali had this color available among all of the wonderful array of taffeta colors.  I generally don’t use synthetic fabrics in my historical costuming, but I was reminded by another costumer that it doesn’t always have to be silk.  I have to say that it was nice sewing with this taffeta, plus it didn’t wrinkle and I didn’t have to worry about ruining it while I was wearing it.  Plus, it’s cost effective, which really helps when you need 8+ yards of fabric.

I made this dress to wear to a murder mystery event and as I seem to be a last-minute costumer, I worked on it up until the night before the event.  I spent about two weeks sewing it, with most of my time working on the bodice and hand sewing.  It was my first historical evening gown and I’m looking forward to time traveling into other decades.

Tanya H, from TanyaMaile.com

Tanya is a Northern California ranch girl in love with retro prints and vintage patterns with a bit of modern flair. When not battling with her cat over her sewing table, she likes to repurpose junk, throw frisbees for her dogs, immerse herself in history books and geek out over sci-fi and fantasy. You can find her at her other home on the web: Mrs. Hughes.

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1 thought on “Time Traveling to 1895”

  1. Exquisite work, as always! I love the color especially: so often people think of Victorian garments as dour, but they had plenty of color and patterning in their clothes. And I wouldn’t necessarily have thought of a sateen for underlining but it’s an excellent callback to the polished or glazed cottons you so often seen in extant garments. Just more evidence of your attention to detail and faithful execution! 😀

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