The Victorian Era ushered in a new kind of freedom. Until this time, elaborate clothing had been reserved for the noble and the wealthy, but the industrial revolution had made fabrics and trims cheap, the sewing machine made sewing fast, and the development of synthetic dyes made it possible to create just about any color under the sun. All of this suddenly became available to the general public and whole new realm of elaborate dress design flourished and became available to the average woman.
The Literary Society dress is an example of a fashionable dress that would have been popular in the 1870s. This two-piece dress is cut in the fashionable silhouette of the time with a full back, higher waistline, sloped shoulders, and form fitted sleeves. The front of the skirt is finished with a ruched overlay that drapes over a ruffled hemline (the ruching is optional if a plain front is preferred). Five rows of ruffles accentuate the full skirt back. The ruffles and ruching can be edged with lace or left plain. The bodice features a built in underbodice with a high neckline that accentuates the low square-cut overbodice neckline. The square neckline can be finished with a ruffle for formal social events or left plain for casual outings such as a seaside adventure. The underbodice fastens in the back with a single button and loop closure and the overbodice fastens in back with two buttons and a snap at the waistline (hook and loop tape or snaps can be used, if preferred). The bodice waistline is defined by a narrow fabric band that sits just above the natural waistline and a series of drapes and aprons are hung from it to add the quintessential 1870s layering draping details. The sleeves of the bodice are fitted and can be finished with a plain hem or with a lace edge and side slit that creates an elegant flare at the wrist.
This dress can be worn by itself, but for the full effect it is recommended that it is worn over our Primrose Chemise and Lobster Tail Bustle.
This dress is easier to make than it looks, however it is rated as advanced because it requires you to pay close attention to the details in the instructions.
This PDF sewing pattern by Thimbles and Acorns is designed to fit 18-inch dolls such as American Girl®.
Suggested Fabrics: Bodice and Skirt in light to medium weight fabrics such as quilting cotton, cotton shirting, dotted Swiss, poplin, linen, lawn, or silk. Not suitable for knits. Underbodice in lightweight cotton, batiste, voile, lawn, and silk.
Skill Level: Advanced
What You Get: One 36 page sewing pattern that you digitally download as a PDF file so you can start your project immediately! The PDF sewing pattern provides full color 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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This pattern is great. I love the look and the instructions were clear and easy.
This pattern is very easy to follow. Created an adorable outfit
This is a beautiful dress, and I thoroughly enjoyed making it. It’s definitely a challenging pattern, but the instructions are well written with great accompanying photos … it’s just a matter of taking your time and working carefully through each step. While the dress is beautiful on it’s own, the addition of the recommended Lobster Tail Bustle really makes it a stand out outfit.
This pattern, like all other Thimbles' patterns I have tried, went together beautifully, and that was with my not following suggested fabric recommendations. It is not a difficult pattern to sew, and would be easier if I had used a suggested fabric. I, however, used a silky, flowing, lining weight polyester satin fabric. Had to pay extra attention to the fabric edges. And, I didn't have 6 yards of fine lace, so I made my own corded piping for the trim. And not just any trim fabric - it was a metallic lame fabric. Would have been easier with a cotton fabric, but WOW! You should see the dramatic result of black satin with silver lame trim. Oh so elegant. There's a framed bustle cage under the skirt to make the silhouette even more dramatic. I added a twist of gathered fabric for the hair accessory.
This was not an easy sew in total but each step is clear and not that hard with a little playing close attention to detail and taking ones time the effort is certainly worth it. The time to put it all together is certainly rewarded with the WOW factor of the finished garmet. Adding the lobstar tail bustle and petticoat is certainly worthwhile as well