Fashion is where expression meets practicality and lures it into the realm of the extreme. Though fashion trends have a tendency to push the limits, practicality always manages to bring them back into balance... at least for a time. Full skirts were the hallmark of the early Victorian era and by the 1860s they had expanded to as wide as six feet in diameter. However, as railroads began forging paths around the world, women began to travel more and more. Full skirts and crinolines made for poor traveling companions and the boundary for this fashion trend had been reached. Still, it would be a gallant exit. The 1870s saw a great boom in the textile industry. Hand looms were replaced by more efficient steam driven power looms which resulted in a larger supply of cloth and fancy trims at greatly reduced prices. The great cage crinolines were shed and the surplus fabric from the full skirts was draped in elaborately decorated layers and pulled toward the back in large bustles that were reminiscent of those worn a century earlier. The fashionable silhouette had become smaller and more mobile, but what was lost in size was more than made up for with the elaborate trimming which would become the hallmark of the later Victorian Era.
This dress pattern features a basque bodice that closes in in the front with five buttons or snaps and 3/4 length sleeves finished with two piece turned cuffs. The simple five paneled bustle skirt has a slight flair and extra fullness in the back giving it ample room to be worn over a bustle. A draped overskirt gives this dress a quintessential Early Bustle Period look. The overskirt can be attached directly to the underskirt or mounted on a separate waistband to allow for mixing and matching pieces.
This PDF sewing pattern is designed to fit 18-inch dolls such as American Girl®.
Recommended Fabrics: Dress and Lining in lightweight woven fabric such as cotton, cotton blends gingham, lawn, linen, or silk. Not suitable for knits.
Skill Level: Intermediate
What You Get: One 26 page sewing pattern that you digitally download as a PDF file so you can start your project immediately! The PDF sewing pattern provides digitally drawn step-by-step illustrated instructions and full size pattern pieces. A PDF reader is required to view and print the files (example: Adobe Reader or Preview for MAC). The download link is received immediately after the transaction is complete. Print copies are NOT available.Download, Print, Sew!
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I enjoyed working with this pattern. It is well thought out and well written. My problem with it came from my choice of fabric: an embroidered silk with corded motifs. The fabric was difficult to control, but the results were very good. I chose not to include the buttons on the bustle. I did use 3/8" glass buttons down the front since I had them in my stash of notions. I want to make this pattern again, lengthening the under skirt and making a rounded evening neckline on the jacket. I think it will make a very nice holiday party gown in silk taffeta. Would I buy this pattern again? Indeed I would!