Now this dress has been finished for some time and now I can finally show it off ;)
But lets do this layer by layer...
A chemise and a corset are of course not all of the undergarments a victorian lady would have worn. Drawers were quite common but not worn by everybody and I decided against them, because I felt I had way too much underwear for this dress already.
So what was still left to do for me was the bustle to give the dress its characteristic shape and a petticoat to go over that.
I considered buying a pattern for a bustle, looked at loads of pictures and in the end decided that I could make a pattern myself.
And, to my own surprise, it worked on the first try :-D
Looks a little ridiculous on its own...
When constructing the pattern, I first made one test piece on my dress form, with some cheap fabric, lots of pins and some garden wire.
When I had worked it out, I made the proper one out of white cotton I had left over from the corset. There's boning in there, which in this case is the rather thin, plastic stuff you can buy in fabric stores. I know that's not exactly historically correct, but I had some lying around and wanted to finish the bustle without having to wait for more spiral boning (having that delivered took almost a week).
The plastic also has the advantage of me being able to sit with it, by the way ;)
The next step was my petticoat. Wealthier women would sometimes have worn two petticoats, but I had to draw a line somewhere and I made "just" one.
It's simply a wide and long a-line skirt, which is elongated and gathered at the waist in the back to accomodate the bustle.
Petticoats often had a sort of ruffle at the bottom to give it more fullness and I added some decorative tucks to mine (which was a real pain, considering the ruffle was six meters long!)
And now, FINALLY, I'm wearing all of my undergarments. In our modern world I would now be more than decently dressed, but walking around like this in Victorian England... oh, the horror! It would have been a proper scandal ;)
So I guess I will have to continue with my dress, won't I?