Underneath every beautiful Victorian gown was a system of undergarments that not only defined and provided the structure for the fashionable silhouettes of the time, but also helped maintain Queen Victoria's stringent standards of propriety. A chemise and a pair of drawers were worn next to the skin to protect the corset and dress from the skin and the skin from the corset and the dress. The drawers main purpose, however, was to provide a bit of cover should some mishap cause a dress to fly up. A corset was worn over the chemise and drawers, to smooth and shape the torso as well as to disperse the weight of heavy petticoats and dresses in an effort to relieve back strain. Petticoats provided extra warmth and to filled out a dresses skirting. Before the crinoline was invented, it was common to wear seven petticoats at a time. The crinoline was quickly embraced by ladies wanting to shed their hot heavy layers of petticoats. Only one or two petticoats were needed, an under petticoat for warmth and and an over petticoat to smooth out the ridges of the crinoline. As necessary as these garments were to create the fashionable silhouette of the time, undergarments were considered very private articles of clothing that a proper lady would not even consider mentioning in public.
Make a set of Victorian Unmentionables for your doll with this pattern historically inspired ensemble by Thimbles and Acorns. Designed to be worn with Thimbles and Acorns 1850 and 1860 dresses, this set is suitable to wear with many other similar Victorian Era dress designs. The chemise is made with a wide neckline that sets elegantly on the shoulders just above dainty short puffed sleeves. The placket opening fastens with a single button. Simple drawers can be made with either an open or closed crotch and fasten in the back with a single button or snap. A working boned corset is the central feature of this ensemble. Fastening in the front with hook and eyes and lacing in the back, it can reshape the figure of even the fullest soft bodied dolls. The crinoline ties on at the waist with a drawstring and the three rows of boning provide the perfect structure for mid-nineteenth century skirting. A ruffled petticoat trimmed in lace and fastening in the back with a single button or snap tops off the ensemble.
Last Revised: August 7, 2019
PDF Pattern for
18-inch dolls such as American Girl®
Victorian Unmentionables, by Thimbles and Acorns
This PDF pattern ensemble includes a chemise, drawers, corset, crinoline, and petticoat. It is designed to be worn with the 1850s and 1860s Thimbles and Acorns dress patterns, though the corset, chemise, and petticoat are suitable for the entire Victorian era.
Skill Level: Intermediate. The basic pattern itself is not too difficult, but some sewing experience is helpful.
What You Get: One 27 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
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There were different difficulty ratings for each garment and there were a few places where I had a hard time figuring out what the instructions meant. So I'd d definitely say the ratings were a good heads up and accurate. Even with my prior sewing knowledge historical garment construction requires some new skills. I also have older Pleasant Company American Girl dolls, and I found initially things didn't fit, you may need to add to the seam allowances. But all in all I am so satisfied, and very happy I bought these patterns. Every doll I have will get its own set of undergarments.
I have only made the hooped skirt so far. It was easy to assemble but the plastic boning I had is impossible to sew through especially with double layers. Having made a hooped skirt for myself in the past I know it is simpler and just as effective to thread boning through casing until both ends overlap and are located away from the opening. They don't come out or even shift around and are not noticeable under the outer garment. A much easier and less frustrating fix especially for doll garments.
I made the corset, the drawers, and shift from this pattern. All worked out fabulously. I love the historically accurate open-crotch drawers. She really does all the details in her patterns.
The pattern is very well done with clear instructions, I really enjoyed making the ******.
Love the pattern and the fact they gave us the glossary terms. I do suggest you read through the steps before you start (as the directions indicate) as it will help you understand some of the other steps a lot better. Gave it four stars as the directions need to have a little more explanation. Example: packaging needs to be added to the glossary terms or changed to state “facing” to match step 2 for consistency. The step referring to the drawers (18) needs to clarify that the sides are different on the pattern so they cannot be on on the same side when making the hems. I still can’t follow the directions for the neck piece of the chemise, but that could just be me. Things like that. The Pictures were a great addition, but some pictures with real fabric may be able to help explain the steps that can be confusing. The drawn pictures for most steps are a great help while others make it hard to tell what the steps are referring to. Overall this is a great pattern and I would tell my friends to buy it. Also, the staff was wonderful at answering questions and if you join the sewing class the people making the pattern are also there to help (as well as the other student).