I have had a deep and abiding love for costuming for as long as I could remember. I’ve dabbled in costuming here and there, but various internal and external factors have prevented me from doing anything too elaborate and large. However, I’ve decided to go ahead and take the plunge into full blown insanity, and make a neo-victorian costume from the skin up.
I’ve decided to make a costume based on this picture:
If we compare the picture, the back of the dress seems to be representative to either the Natural Form era (1877-1882) or the Late Bustle era (1883-1889). After much internal debate (or rather once my internal Pretty Princess stopped jumping around),I decided that Late Bustle was more of the style I preferred. This also fit the picture, as Late Bustle was known for the asymetrical skirts.
But for a truly neo-victorian outfit, one cannot merely make the skirt and call it a day (I know, I’ve tried). No, to get the correct look, one needs the correct silhouette, which only comes from the correct undergarments. And not just a corset. We’re talking corset and either a farthingale or bum-roll, topped by least two layers of petticoats.
But a little more research shows that a true Victorian woman would dare think of going about with only that. No, she had to have a pair of bloomers (possibly. This one is debatable, but I think I would feel more comfortable with at least some sort of underwear) and a chemise below the corset, and a corset cover over it to keep the fabric of her dress protected.
So now we’re looking at quite a few pieces of clothing:
Bum-roll or Farthingale,
2 (or more!) Petticoats,
and Jacket or capelet.
So not exactly something I could make in a weekend. I guess one could purchase some of these or modify existing garments to work, but where would be the fun in that? *Cue slightly hysterical laughter* Ehem.
Quite a daunting challenge for someone who hasn’t done more than make a skirt and a couple ill-fitting shirts before. And yet, I think I can pull it off. But making this outfit will be like eating an elephant - one bite at a time. And best done by having a plan.
As has been drilled into my head, all the best plans need to be SMART - Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely. Yeah, yeah, yeah… So my goal of “Make a neo-victorian outfit” has morphed into “By Conglomeration 2016, create a neo-victorian outfit (from roughly 1880 to 1890) based upon the Steampunk librarian drawing, consisting of bloomers, chemise, corset, corset cover, bum roll or bustle, two petticoats, skirt, overskirt, shirt, and jacket, with each item (or set of items) to be completed within a specific Quarter.”
I’ve made a rough outline of what needs to be done for each step, and guestimated a budget for each piece. Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go find my fork...