So, let’s talk about innards. You know, of the Danse Libre bodice. The part that costumers love and geek out over, and the rest of you are welcome to be all

Front seams:

front seam

  • Pressed open
  • overcast each side individually
  • Boning cases (cotton twill tape) catch-stitched on (no real proof of this, I just liked the idea)
  • The top seam has massive seam allowance because I had just that much gapping at the top, and this is how much I ended up taking in.

Side seam

side seam

  • Same as the front seam. SA pressed open and overcast. Boning channel catch-stitched on.

Back seam


  • Lining and interlining are cut with no seam allowance. Taffeta is cut long, folder over twice, and whipstitched down
  • Machined-sewed a line down edge to make a space for the boning. Boning is inserted between the layers. I wish I had made this seam closer to the bone, since it’s about 1/8 inch too big, letting the bone wiggle alot.
  • Hand-sewn eyelets of varying quality, done with a regular satin stitch (aka not a buttonhole stitch)

Side-back seam

Now with more cat hair!

Now with more cat hair!

  • Cut down from 1/2 inch to uh, less. Overcast all layers as one, since it’s on a curve.



  • Hand-sewed the boning in with a running stitch. Keeping the boning in a tight space stops it from wiggling, and stops wear-and-tear.
  • Note the inner green stitch is *not* the boning stitch, that was to hold the layers in place before sewing the dart. The boning stitches are much closer in (easier to see on the left)
  • Hook has a corresponding bar on the skirt. Not sure if I should have sewn this on the angle (like I did) or parallel to the floor.

Neck and waist:

bottom piping

  • Piping is creating and sewn onto the bodice with one seam (aka, I did not sewing the piping, then sewing the piping on.) Inspired by extant bodices seen on Your Wardrobe Unlocked (paid subscription required).
  • The top piping was done by machine, since it was a relatively straight line. Waist piping done all by hand, since there was no way I was getting around the bodice point with a machine. And you can see bad the point still looks by hand.
  • Trimmed down the seam allowance like whoa, folded the outer layer of the piping over twice, and whipstitched.



  • Unlike the top and waist piping, I did this in two rounds, since there were so many layers and they are super curved.
  • First I sewed the piping onto the bodice.
  • Then, I sewed the sleeve (which had lace attached) onto the bodice, trying to go through the same stitch line I had created by sewing the piping on.


bertha hook

  • Sewn onto the dress on the front and half the back. Hooks over the right shoulder using hooks and hand-sewn loops. The ugly stitching holding the hooks on is covered up by the strip above.

For images of extant bodice insides (and comparisons of how much neater their handsewing was than mine), check out this amazing pinterest board.

This entry was posted in 1850s, Danse Libre dress. Bookmark the permalink.

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