Apr 152011

Some time ago I discovered another fabric in my fabrics collection that I had almost forgotten. It’s a beautiful blue wool fabric which is covered with black velvet swirl patterns. Draped over my shoulder, it looks like this…

I always wanted to make a nice day dress for myself; no matter from what period (I have so far planned and / or made only evening / dinner / very fine dresses, so a day dress was really needed!)

While thinking about what I could do with the above shown fabric, I stumbled over those two images:

The first shows a fabric which is much likely to my fabric above… but I like the overall bodice shape in the second image better.

Then I remembered a gown from Patterns of Fashion, this one here:

It’s pretty – and perfect for what I want. It has two different bodices, one evening bodice (I’m so sorry, but I just *love* pretty evening bodices!) and a day bodice which resembles the bodice shown in the second image above, but that day bodice also has a detachable gillet (=front middle insert), which makes the gown resemble the first image. I first wanted to make that gown from a striped cranberry red cotton fabric that I bought some time ago, but I guess I’ll find a different purpose for that fabric 😉

As I only have a few yards (approximately five, to be exact) of my pretty blue patterned fabric, I also had to look for a dress which would also be able to use different fabrics – I’ll „fill“ the spaces with black velvet, which will work perfectly with my fabric. I’ll also replace the flounces with blue satin, of which I also have a sufficient amount.

The planning is a gown which will look like this…:

This is basically just a colored version of the above shown picture from ‚Patterns of Fashion‘, underlaid with a shaded picture (shaded according to the drapes and folds in the overlying dress sketch from the book) of my fabric. Don’t look *too* close, it’s far from being perfect…

This picture shows that the coloring I have in mind will work and gives me an impression what my gown will look like. It took almost an hour to make this digital preview, but it was well worth the time because now I don’t have to *guess* if my coloring would work – I just *know* it. And I must say that I like it a lot 🙂 It looks elegant, yet wearable by day; and I like the idea of two exchangeable bodices.
I will change one thing on the pattern, though – I’ll split the front of the day- and evening bodices at one of their darts, so that I can sew up bodices which have blue, patterned fronts and black sides. This optically reduces the waist.

Additionally, I’ve made some kind of ‚digital fabric layout‘ for my blue, black patterned fabric, on which I have placed the pattern pieces of the above shown gown to plan the cutting really careful – as I’ve said, I have by far not enough fabric for the complete gown, just barely enough to cut the planned pattern pieces:

Digitally produced layout for cutting the various pattern shapes from the fabric. (Wideness of picture = Fabric wideness 1:10; length of picture = my fabric’s length 1:10).
I’ve omitted the parts of those pattern pieces which are covered with flounces on the finished gown. As I will flat line all those pattern pieces with black wool twill, I can cut *those* to the actual size, but the patterned fabric pieces will be cut just to the actual required length, without the underlay for the flounces.
That’s all of the fabric I have and as you can probably guess, I’ve had a nice time piecing this layout together so that really *all* pattern pieces would fit to it.
On top you can see two larger areas which are not covered by pattern pieces – I’ll need those to either re
cut pieces if I’ve done something wrong and / or to make myself a matching bag for the gown.
The pattern pieces have been filled with black in this picture, as the pattern is taken from Janet Arnold’s ‚Patterns of Fashion‘ and I wouldn’t want to get into any kind of copyright conflict by showing the actual pattern here.

I’ll also have to flat line my blue patterned fabric with a stiffer material – it’s *very* soft. I still have a larger amount of black wool twill which I can use for this purpose – this will also make sure that I can wear this gown outside during the colder time of the year. The ‚day‘ bodice will be flat lined with blue cotton twill; the evening bodice will be lined with blue silk satin, so that it won’t be too warm.
The only material I don’t have at hand to make the gown is the blue fringe which decorates the bodices and basque but I don’t think that I will have any problems in finding something. Perhaps I’ll instead use one of the laces from my collection, but I’m not yet certain about this.

To the making of the skirts, this way please.

  One Response to “Victorian Day Dress”

Comments (1)
  1. Thanks so much for this tutorial. I am about to attempt to make this dress, and I’m glad to finally find someone online who has attempted it. The bodice looks great so far and I hope it looks great when it’s done! Thanks again.

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