Victorian Day Dress Back to Colleen's Costumes

Victorian Christmas This was one of the earliest costumes I made. I had made a faire costume and one skirt before I tackled this. (I like to really dive in.) I didn't know that historical pattern companies existed, so I found a picture of a dress that I liked in a book of plates from Harper's Bazaar Magazine from the Victorian era. I took a skirt pattern and just added gores until I got the fullness I wanted. I used a modern jacket pattern and just sort of changed it until it was kind of close to what I wanted.

When it was time to cut the fabric, I was so scared that I just sat there, scissors in hand, poised over the material, afraid to cut. My friend Debbie Mitchell, now Neville, who knew less about sewing than I did, sat next to my arm, saying, "It's okay. You can do it. Just cut it."

I really ran into trouble on the sleeves. I didn't want them to be like my modern pattern, but sleeves aren't cut the way they look. Luckily, my friend Cathy Soper, who makes beautiful costumes, pulled out her Janet Arnold book and showed me how to make the sleeves.

The costume turned out well, and I was able to wear it to Jerry and Jill Wood's Victorian wedding. (I finished just in time!) I look back on it now and see the many errors, but I'm very proud of it.

This picture was taken by Shawn Christmas of 1991, I believe. The quality is awful, because we didn't get the film developed for around 8 years. Oops!