Monthly Archives: April 2020

A 1890´s Ball Bodice Part 3 – Finishing details and sleeves

Part 1:

Part 2:

For the button down front of View B mark the center front with a basting thread, as well as every single button hole.

These are pictures of another dress, but the button holes are made the same way. Sewing with a delicate fabric, best is to make a button hole on scrap fabric, with all layers simulated you´re having on your bodice. Stitch around the button hole with short stitches, don´t lock at start and stop but pull the threads in between top layer and facing.

Cut open the button hole, make an eye if wanted. Overcast the edges with a matching fine thread.

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A 1890´s Ball Bodice Part 2 – The sewing process of the bodice

Part 1:

OK, last time we did the fitting of the bodice, now it´s time to sew. This is the back, with all pieces joined and the seam allowances pressed open. Next step would be to sew the shoulder seam, then turning in the front facing and pressing the edge before piping the neckline.

For the piping I joined several strips, cut on the bias and folded in half lengthwise, wrong sides together. I inserted a piping cord, with a diameter about 1/8” (2mm) and stitched with the zipper food along the cord.

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A 1890´s Ball Bodice Part 1 – Research and Fitting

Some years ago I fell in love with an 1894´s evening gown from Worth. Just a drawing but the dress looked so elegant with its giant sleeves, small waist and flaring skirt, embroidered with branches of wheat. At that time I thought that I couldn’t do the thing with my sewing and embroidery skills. After some years of practice and research I decided to start with that dress, planning to wear it at the ball, during the Belle Époque week in Kandersteg (Switzerland) 2019.

Here is another extant gown from Worth, accessible via the online collection of the Metmuseum, shows a similar embroidery design. The dress dates just some years later, about 1900, without that giant sleeves, but with almost the same shape of bodice and skirt.

For the skirt I used as a base my 1890´s Fan-Skirt pattern. I made the front gore a bit narrower, with the side seam moved forward to the position of the original darts, an extra side piece with darts at the position of the original side seam to fit the hips.  I made the skirt with a train, which was not a good idea at all, as I had to loop up the train for dancing. And I danced a lot when wearing the dress the only time so far.

All embroidery is machine made, except the sequins and pearls, nevertheless it took me hours finishing the skirt and bodice. All the emboridery of the bodice has to be done before sewing the darts and joining the bodice pieces.

In this tutorial I´ll focus on the bodice, in the meantime I made to different versions, the same you get when buying my pattern. View A shows the bodice with the giant sleeves, closed edge to edge in the front with hooks and eyes, decorated as close to the template from Worth as possible. View B shows the bodice sleeveless, with a button down front, suitable for evening gowns from 1880 to 1890 and again the time around 1900, when the giant sleeves came out of fashion.

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