Sunday, 8 November 2015

My first adventure into the 1880s

With all the leaves changing colours I thought I would share this outfit which has very autumnal tones even if I did wear it during the summer!

This was my very first 1880s bustle dress, made for a Victorian event on the Isle of Wight's steam railway last year. Although the railway did exist in the 1860s, I decided that clambering on and off of trains all weekend in a crinoline was not going to be practical. Moreover, I was eager to try out a new decade of Victorian fashion and the bustle silhouette.

The outfit was made using all Truly Victorian patterns : the TV101 Petticoat with wire bustle, TV170 Victorian Petticoats, TV261 1885 Four-gore Underskirt, TV364 Autumn Overskirt and TV463 1884 French Vest Bodice.

TV 101 - Image from Vena Cava Design
TV 170 - Image from Vena Cava Design

TV 261 - Image from Vena Cava Design
TV364 - Image from Vena Cava Design
TV 463 - Image from Vena Cava Design
I used two very reasonably priced curtaining fabrics that I found at a local fabric store - a rust-coloured faux silk and a thick rich brown cotton cloth, with white cotton undergarments trimmed with broderie anglais. The buttons are tiny antique glass buttons from a Czech factory with amber coloured centres each featuring a cameo, held in brass-coloured metal frames.

I very much enjoyed wearing this dress and it was the perfect choice for steam travel. Easy to wear and to ride on the trains.

I accessorised with vintage rust-coloured gloves, a small antique wooden case, my Vena Cava lace parasol (although I can't wait to have a go at covering my own parasol) and a small bonnet made using the same materials as the outfit and Lynn McMasters late Victorian pattern.

And I had lots of fun posing for photographs on and off of the trains, including some beautiful shots taken by a photographer friend who created some really lovely images for me.

Photographs courtesy of David White Photography, Ventnor, IoW
Photograph courtesy of David White Photography, Ventnor, IoW
I even considered running away to pursue a career on the stage with Mr Alexander's Travelling Show! He very kindly let me make use of his beautiful stage for a photo shoot and I made the most of the opportunity to try out some theatrical poses!

With Mr Alexander, and auditioning....(for what I'm not quite sure!)

Later, when the heat finally got to me and the public had gone home, I did something very un-Victorian and decided to remove my dress and relax in my underwear. This may have been very unlady-like and inauthentic but it did mean that I got some nice pictures of my underpinnings!

All in all this is probably my favourite of all of my outfits so far and I am keen to do more 1880s in the future. I already have all sorts of things in my stash lined up for bustle projects- fabrics and trimmings and buttons.... I can't wait!


  1. Lovely dress and the colour fits you well!

    1. Thankyou. I'm glad you like it. I do really like these colours.