Sunday, September 9, 2012

Victorian Tennis Dress--Construction

I thought that after the spotty dress I wouldn't want to make another dress with a strange side closure/plastron thing, and after the pink and green bustle dress and pleated teens skirt of ages ago, I wouldn't want to make another dress with a full, ironed in, pleated skirt.

Wrong. I fell in love with this striped tennis, seaside, etc. dress at the Met.

The original dress is unlined except for the center back and made of corded cotton. The striped fabric extends past the waist and forms a little peplum of sorts. It now has a purple silk collar that was originally blue. It hooks closed on the left side.

The skirt has a built in bustle and hooks onto the bodice.

Though I was using a lighter weight cotton, I decided to leave mine unlined. I also used purple silk for the collar--in part because I had already bought the silk when I found out, and in part because I liked it so much. I also decided on a separate bustle because I prefer wearing a separate one to a built in bustle, and both are accurate for the era.

On to construction! I took fewer pictures than I should have, but there are so many similarities to the spotty dress. I tend to take fewer pictures when I've done something before.

Tennis Dress Construction Tennis Dress Construction

To pleat the center back, I cut a strip of lining fabric based on the center back of the pattern. I then pleated the striped fabric to it, placed the pattern piece on top, and cut the striped fabric.

Tennis Dress Construction Tennis Dress Construction
Tennis Dress Construction

After the back was completed, I sewed the side pieces and the side front pieces on. I pinned the shoulders together to fit the darts, and then sewed the front pieces on. The front pieces became the pleated part.

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And here we have a fairly large jump in construction. The front panels were pleated, shoulder seams sewn, the collar sewn over all the layers, and plastron sewn in. The waistband was sewn at waist level.

Tennis Dress Construction

The sleeves were then sewn in, and now, it needed cuffs. Although the original had the cuff bands pointing in different directions, I decided to make mine match.

Tennis Dress Construction

First, the cuff is bound with a wide bias band.

Tennis Dress Construction Tennis Dress Construction

Then I made bands to put over the join in the cuff.


And the finished--except for the neck bow--bodice!

Tennis Dress Construction

And for fun, pleating the skirt. I made the skirt portion three times the yoke so it would be easy to pleat. I ended up not using the ruler to do the pleats, but rather following threads to mark each pleat. It ended up being more accurate!

I don't have any pictures of overskirt construction. The front part of the overskirt though, was two trapezoids pleated to fit, and the back is a large rectangle that's pulled up in parts. The front overskirt is sewn directly to the underskirt waistband and the back overskirt is set on its own waistband which is then sewn on one side to the underskirt waistband and then hooks on the other side, covering the center back closure.

And that's the basic construction of this dress!

1 comment:

  1. Interesting about the purple/blue collar! I love the purple myself - I've always thought it was such a striking detail on that dress!