Thursday, April 7, 2011

Blast From the Past...Really.

I wanted to share with you a project I did last year. I have been going to the Dickens Christmas Fair in San Francisco for years and I've always wanted to go dressed up in historical costume. I was just getting into historical costuming at the time and this was my first big sewing project. I mean, this dress took a lot of fabric and a lot of time to complete. Plus I made all but two of the undergarments. I think it turned out great.

I used Simplicity 3727 for the skirt, bodice, undersleeves, and bustle. I omitted the collar and opted to put black lace around the neckline instead. I also made the sleeves into one piece of fabric instead of two and I made them a little smaller so they weren't so giant they would be dragging through stuff everytime I reached over something.

Getting Dressed:

I used Simplicity 9769 for the chemise and drawers. I made these two years ago in preparation for my eventual 1850s dress. :)

This is one of the undergarments I didn't make. We bought this at the 2009 Dickens Fair. I didn't feel like putting in all the effort and work for a corset - I was a bit intimidated by the thought of making my own corset - plus this is so pretty! :)

This is the other undergarment I didn't make. I bought this at the 2009 Fair as well. It is NOT historically accurate but I didn't want to spend a lot of money on loads of fabric for a bunch of petticoats no one was going to see and that would add weight and bulk under my skirt. Also, I was going for an 1850s look, so I needed the bell-shaped silliouette but no hoop skirt (which I didn't want to deal with anyways).

I made this flounced petticoat to go over the tulle one I bought. I just made it out of all the leftover ivory and white fabric we had. I bought eyelet for the bottom two flounces but I really just wanted the bottom to look nice because it would probably be seen under my skirt a little as well as add width to the hip to achieve the bell sillouette.

the back with bustle (in the dress pattern)

side view with the skirt on

At the Fair:

Queen Victoria smiled at me!

I had a lot of fun at the Fair. I can't wait till next year. I would love to find another place to wear my costume. It took so much work (and money) and it's a shame to wear it only once a year. :) I would love to see some of your historical costumes. Leave a link in the comments.  


  1. Hi! I just found your posting and I just wanted to say I love your dress!


  2. Thanks so much! :) It's almost time to wear it again, too. :)