Videogame costumes sometimes lack those practical details like fastenings, pockets or underwear. Fortunately, people living in 1880’s certainly had all this stuff. For this dress, I’ll use period patterns with just a little mod. The “fabric” looks a little shiny, like a duchess satin or silk tafetta, which will be even historically appropriate fabric for a reception gown worn by a member of royalty. A bridal satin might be a good choice as it’s a nicely flowing fabric with a luxurious sheen. I’ll also need a light aqua and a dark aqua satin of similar weight.
I can see two options for how this dress can be made – as one piece with a detachable belt and tail (this is more fantasy-ish layout), or as two pieces with bodice and skirt (this is rather historical layout which I’ll go for).
My dress parts will be:
drawers, chemise, corset and petticoat I already have (they are vital for achieving the proper period silhouette, they add some “wow” and “awww” to your overall look, and all period patterns suppose that you’ll wear them under your dress!)
base skirt consisting of two layers of white satin; the bottom layer is just plain white, the top layer has a big triangle-pointing-up-shape in the front with one inverted pleat in the middle
overskirt with two overlay V-shaped points in the front and longer V-shaped point in the back
rouleau-embellished bodice with a mandarin collar and a tail, closed with hooks and eyes in the front
belt in dark aqua satin with a white almond-shaped embellished piece; this belt will cover the gap between skirts and bodice; the almond will partially hide the bodice closure
And here are my patterns – all from Truly Victorian:
I made this dress for my theatre group friend. She was nursing her son and wanted something stylish and useful yet simple-looking. Serviceability was more important to her than historical accuracy. I made a woolen cotte using my usual standards: historically-looking on visible places, helping myself with modern sewing techniques on hidden places. Inner seams are machine-made and machine-serged, hems and lacing holes are hand-finished. There’s no lining inside as the cotte is meant to be worn over a linen underdress and a chemise.
My friend is incredibly thin with A-sized bra cups so no complicate fitting was necessary. Front part of the dress consists of four pattern pieces, back part is made of two pieces. The skirt is widened by six gores. I drew the pattern myself directly on the fabric, based on my friend’s measurements. My pattern looks like this (it’s not purely historical but it has the required semi-fitted late 14th century silhouette):
Nursing openings are hidden in front seams, they’re fastened with two patents each. (There are plackets in appropriate parts on my pattern.) Here’s how it fits together:
Her chemise has the nursing openings too (unfortunately, no pictures yet). The cotte is put on over one’s head and laced on sides. Dress like this would have been worn by a middle-to-upper class woman.
(As you can see on pictures of Nursing Madonna, historically accurate fastenings would be buttons or lacing.)
5.5 m length of 1.5 m wide pure wool fabric in blue-grey colour – 1925 CZK
four black metal patents – 15 CZK
linen thread, poly embroidery yarn – found at home
machine sewing – three afternoons, approx. 9 hours in total
hand sewing – done continuously on one-week-lasting camping event, approx. 15 hours in total
(That’s where the female multitasking myth came from – I’m able to sew a historical costume, discuss a book I’ve read recently, watch my friends’ children playing near our tents and listen if a tourists’ group is coming, all at the same time. It’s not multitasking, guys. Women seem to have a special talent to automate many routine things they have or want to do. And they have hearing of a whole colony of bats.)