1880s Day and Evening Dress

Pattern and Construction

I started by cutting the lining, then I used the lining as my pattern. Here you can see the cotton sateen on the velvet. It takes a little longer to cut this way, since you cut each layer of the velvet individually, but it's worth it because you know that your lining and fabric match perfectly.

The bodice is flat lined and the seams exposed.

Next, I pinned all the pieces. I was very careful moving them so I wouldn't shift the layers. This makes it possible to skip basting the two layers of fabric together.

Next, sew the seams.

Once the seams were sewn, I tried the bodice on inside out and pinned the darts in. Then I sewed them in place and checked the fit.

The darts are then cut open to reduce bulk.

Time for the sleeves. The back sleeve seam lines up with the side back seam. The sleeve fits smoothly into the armscye, with no gathering or easing stitches.

I then whipstiched all the seams to finish them. The original seams are unfinished, but my velvet ravelled too much to not finish the seams.

To make the collar, first sew the velvet and lining, right sides together along the two short sides and one long side, leaving one long side open.

I drew a 1/2" seam allowance on the pattern. However, I used a 1/4" seam allowance. If you use the 1/2" allowance, be sure to trim it so it doesn't add bulk.

Turn the collar right side out and press. (This is possible with velvet, just use a fluffy towel below it so the pile doesn't crush.)

Cut a piece of bias tape the same length as the collar.

Pin the collar to the neckline. Each end should be about 1" from where the center front will be.

Pin the bias tape on top of the collar, sandwiching the collar between the bodice and the tape. Sew.

The collar and bias tape sewn into place.

Fold the end of the bias tape under and handstitch into place.

The Pattern
Pattern and Construction, Page Two

The Dresses

My Costumes
The Bustle Era

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