Wearable top

Finally have the bodice in a completely wearable state. I won’t consider it done until it has a bertha (and maybe tucker), but I could wear this to a performance if necessary.

The sleeves were pretty straightforward. I used the sleeve lining pattern of Truly Victorian 442, and didn’t use the puffy outer sleeve. It’s silk taffeta lined with muslin, with two flounces of lace on top.

I wasn’t able to sew them and the piping at the same time, since that would have been way too many layers to maneuver through. I basted the piping onto the bodice, then hand-sewed the sleeve in.

3 bodice front

4 bodice back

Aaaand after talking with the Danse Libre director, I realized that the shoulders are sitting too low. The straps should really be sitting just on the tip of the shoulder, and not falling down. That is causing that giant wrinkle across the back.

So, I put it on this morning,  pinned a good inch+ out of the front seam, and I like where that hits. Now I am deciding how properly I want to fix this.
1) Do it for real. Take the piping off the top, take in the seam, and redo the piping.
2) Do it lazily. Just take in the seam, meaning the piping gets sewn over too.

My goal is to be completely done on Monday, so I can wear this to rehearsal and test it out. First performance in the dress is on Friday!

Let’s pull up the checklist from earlier:

Chemise (done. Except I hate it. I’m going to wear a tank top under my corset for now, and make a new chemise later with these instructions)


  • try Peling’s bodice over my corset
  • mockup1 – Took a pattern of Peling’s bodice.
  • mockup2 – This one needed to have the back and front raised, a point added to the back waist, and getting rid of the huge gap between my arm and the armscye
  • mockup 3 – Trashed my mockup from Peling’s bodice and cut one from my Truly Victorian pattern
  • mockup 4 – On the advice of Heather from Truly Victorian, recut the bodice with a smaller back and larger front
  • mockup 5 – tweaking the sizing
  • mockup 6 – final one (jeez I went through a lot of muslin to get this)
  • cut silk
  • cut silk organza interlining (organza)
  • cut lining
  • sew bodice (doesn’t get to be crossed out until I fix the top
  • overcast seams (nearly done, just need to do the sleeves)
  • boning
  • make piping and bias tape
  • sew piping
  • eyelets
  • bertha base
  • bias tape on bertha
  • attach bertha
  • figure out wtf I want for sleeves
  • sleeve mockup
  • cut sleeves
  • attach sleeves
  • tucker


  • Buy base fabric  – Got some green cotton from Joann (the only natural fiber they have)
  • calculate flounce length and width
  • Sew base skirt
  • Bind bottom with fashion fabric – It goes about 5-6 inches up the front to hide the cotton. I sandwiched some cotton tape in the lining to kick it out a bit.
  • Scallop template
  • test flounces and fraying
  • Cut flounces (on the bias)
  • gather flounce on cord
  • sew flounces to skirt
  • cartridge pleat (or knife pleat?)
  • sew to waistband
  • figure out skirt closure
  • hooks & eyes to attach skirt and bodice (I’m actually leaning towards basting the two together instead, since hooks & eyes tend to come out, and are harder to line up precisely)
This entry was posted in 1850s, Danse Libre dress. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Wearable top

  1. Caroola says:

    Big Wow.

  2. Pingback: Ada Bodice | Avant Garbe

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