This dress was my first foray into 19th century dress. With time, it became slightly too tight, so I decided to re-design the front of it (I like to be able to eat a good dinner even while corseted...). I had already used all the seam allowance to get some extra millimetres, so I added a fake vest and blouse, making it both a bit bigger and a bit more elaborate.
Inspiration was pictures such as these.
I used the instructions of how to make a layered vest from Truly Victorian. That instruction assumes you already have a false vest front, so I had to start with deciding how wide my false vest front would be. I decided to keep the edges of the bodice straight, following the stripes. I cut away a few cm at each side of the center front opening, and stiched them down by hand.
I then added the soft white fabric that would be the "blouse" part and gathered it.
Then I cut the "vest" part in the same fabric as the skirt, made button holes, and sewed it onto the front part.
I then made buttons. I thought that large buttons in a contrasting color would make a nice touch, so I covered some old plastic buttons I found with scraps of a darker blue wool fabric.
I added the buttons. Just to realize that these large and darker buttons looked just like the buttons of a clown dress. Not quite the impression I was after.
Trying to see if adding revers to the bodice would help tie it toghehter. It did not!
Here I am experimenting with smaller buttons. The size is better, and the white ones might work, but I had only four. Time to go button-shopping!
What I really wanted was the kind of buttons that not have holes through them, but a loop at the back instead. These seems to be much more common for this type of dress. I have wanted this nice row of small buttons up the center front since I made this bodice the first time, but then I was to much scared of button holes to make it. Now I had the chance! These buttons proved to be hard to find, unless you wanted them in gold. I did not want them in gold. I found three different types in gold tones, but none in silver. I did not want gold, as it would look to much marine with blue and gold buttons. In the end, I bought gold ones and a can of spray paint. Ha, I got you, buttons!
The white under collar fastens at the side. It has two hook and eyes to fasten it to the front of the blouse, and then fastens to the bodice collar at the side with snaps.
The collar from outside and inside:
Maybe you can tell, by the time it was done, I was kind of tired of this project. It was supposed to be a quick and easy remake, but never ended. I knew I had to fiddle with this one until I was really satisfied with the look. "Meh, ok" would not do for this one. Otherwise, I would never wear this one when I am so happy with my other 1880's dress.
Finally however, I Was Done! After like 97 un-pickings and remakes of remakes. But then I am very happy with it, and with keeping at it until I was happy, not giving up. Photos, as always by Olof Tengstrand:
What the item is: Modifying my 1885 outfit by adding a false vest and blouse, in order to both get more room for eating dinner and making a bit more elaborate.
Fabric: Small pieces of cotton from stash.
Pattern: Instructions for construction from Truly Victorian. Drafted the shapes myself.
Year: ca 1883-1885
Notions: Metal buttons, silver spray paint. Waxed linen thread for the hand sewn parts and polyester thread for the machine sewn parts. Hooks and eyes, snaps.
How historically accurate is it? Construction is plausible but I have not researched it. Using layers and revers to simulate different types of vests and blouses was common but I have not seen this exact look, with a false vest and gathered blouse and a collar belonging to the bodice.
Hours to complete: After a while, I did not want to keep track. Probably not less than 15.
First worn: For turn of the century days at seaside Marstrand 22-23 Aug.
Total cost: 160 kr (about 17 Euro ) for the buttons and spray paint, the rest from stash.