An Early Bustle Ballgown

from 1870 or 1874


The base for the skirt. I wanted the skirt to look like it had a pink base, but not only did I not want to use silk for it, I only had about 1/2 yard left once I had finished the rest of the dress. Not enough for an underskirt! So, I made the underskirt out of cotton sateen and put a band of pink silk to peek through the ruffles.

A few pictures taken before the ruffles were added to the neckline. As you can see, the waist is very high. To make sure there wasn't a gap between the overskirt and the bodice, I basted the overskirt from the side back closure of the underskirt to the front closure of the bodice. It worked quite well to hold it up!

More pre-ruffle pictures. The buttons are made with 1/2 wooden button molds from Wooded Hamlet. I much prefer the wooden molds to the metal kits where you snap the buttons together. They take a little longer to make, but are much more secure. Basically, you cut a circle twice the size of the mold, gather the edges, put the mold in the fabric, pull and then sew the back till everything lies flat.

The neckline ruffle and the shortened neckline ruffle. I decided I didn't like the length of it, so I shortened it. Not fun to do once the ruffle is attached! The inner ruffle is from Farmhouse Fabrics. It's an embroidered Swiss organdy that's identical to the inner ruffle on the fashion plate.

The same view from the back.

The Dress
My Costumes
Bustle Era

I'd like to go home!