My Valentine’s Dress

A couple of weeks ago, I finished my Victorian laced corset and the corded petticoat. Time to make the 1847 dress using my beautiful fabric from Sweden. All blogs tell you that you should make a test dress first in some cheap cotton to make sure the pattern works.

Well, I didn’t even have a pattern. After having tried for a week to create one, I decided to spend $18 on a well-reviewed pattern suitable for the California Gold Rush, the Mexican American War, and the Oregon Trail. For this dress I would need almost 7 yards of fabric. Did I really want to spend that much money on a test dress?

I checked out thrift stores instead and had some luck.  I found several pieces of a pretty fabric with lots of ruffles – maybe some bedroom set? For $4 I got 3 Laura Ashley ruffled curtains and a matching round table cloth – probably about 7 yards in all and perfect for the project!

The pattern arrived in the mail with 51 pages of instructions and patterns for 3 different dresses. I picked the simplest design and began the work. I had no idea how time consuming it would be – but the instructions were very clear. Unfortunately, the size I had cut out was too small and I had to adjust and add pieces here and there. I guess that is the reason for doing a test dress.

Just as in the corset, there were bones to be inserted in the bodice. But I didn’t have any more and I couldn’t find any locally either. What else could I use? The eureka moment came when I found nylon cable ties that were of the right dimension! It worked perfectly.

About 40 hours later, on Valentine’s Day, the dress was finished. Hopefully it will take less time to make the one with the expensive fabric!


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