V363: Semi-Finished Project: The “Green Acres” Bustle Gown

I’ve been a bad blogger, but only because I’ve been *really* busy trying to get the Green Acres gown done for a local Victorian ball, this past Saturday.

I suppose this is “Completion Stage 1,” because I have yet to make the apron for this gown, another large parcel of green silk to add even more ruffles, fluffles, and puffles to my buffle.

This was a godd shakedown/first-wear for the gown.  There were no major problems, nothing broke or busted, though a couple things had to be pinned.  I pulled the skirt up with a ribbon loop attached at the lower side-back, and that did pretty well for the Virginia Reel.

I’m really happy with this gown.  It’s the most complicated and heavy garment I’ve yet made, and I’m chuffed that it actually fits, yay!


  • Rachel

    February 4, 2013 at 11:19 PM

    Wow, wow, and wow again! That shade of green looks fantastic on you, and you can really see the difference in the bustle with the lobster tail thing you've got going on there (very technical fashion term…ahem). It really is too bad dupioni wasn't very popular in the Victorian Era. It has such a wonderful drape and presence to it, and will look wonderful as a steam punk outfit.

    How was wearing the dress after all of your corset training? Do you feel like it made a difference in the silhouette? Was it more comfortable for you?

    • Lauren Stowell

      February 4, 2013 at 11:37 PM

      I really quite like the dupioni, despite it having a reputation for being anathema for historical costumers. Don't we all wish we could always afford the most perfect silks, in the most perfect colors ever. Of course the intention is to wear this gown whenever I can, but its original purpose (one I'm still working towards) is for a photo shoot, so consideration was given to how various materials would look on film, and how they fit into my concept for the shoot.

      Corset training – it did make a difference in comfort. After wearing the corset for 2 weeks I'm much more used to it, and didn't really notice it at all when I had the whole outfit on. I made the bodice to about 26 inches in the waist, and was able to easily and comfortably lace to that in order to wear the dress.

    • Vienna La Rouge

      February 5, 2013 at 1:25 AM

      I think you did an amazing job with the dupioni, I love it.
      Knowing what your vision was for the gown and shoot, I can already see that it will work perfectly with this innovative mix of texture and color.
      The iridescence of this fabric is stunning, and I hope the camera catches it.


  • AuntieNan

    February 5, 2013 at 1:04 AM

    Even more gorgeous than on the Headless Wonder!! And yes, the color is… Well bottle green! Perfect on you. The style makes you look super shapely!

    Now, Devils Advocate here…. Do you need the apron? I know, you're dying to spend another gazillion hours making pleats 'n' ruffles, right?? But it looks soooo good already!!
    Nancy N

    • Lauren Stowell

      February 5, 2013 at 10:21 PM

      I like it quite a lot without the apron, too. I don't know if it needs it. I've cut it out, and look forward to making it, at least as a piece to go with other things in the future perhaps. 🙂

  • Beth

    February 5, 2013 at 3:22 AM

    You look so elegant! IMO, the most perfect costumes are ones that just look like clothes, and you pay more attention to the person wearing it than to the costume itself. And you nailed it here!

  • Anonymous

    February 7, 2013 at 10:50 PM

    Great job! I was wondering how you made the second to last trim (one above the knife pleats)? Did you gather it all by hand? I'm trying to make something similar but my gathering foot is not cooperating.


    • Lauren Stowell

      February 7, 2013 at 11:19 PM

      Hi Baroque –
      From the bottom of the skirt, the trims are:

      1. Knife Pleats
      2. A ruffle (just at the back of the skirt), gathered on the machine, sewn to the skirt by hand.
      3. Ruched strip, gathered on top, bottom, and middle by machine, drawn up, applied to the skirt by hand.
      4. Flutes, crimped on a Geneva Hand Fluter, gathered on the machine with a gathering stitch on the top edge only, then sewn to the skirt by hand.
      5. Swags.

  • elisa.b

    March 9, 2013 at 1:57 AM

    I stumbled across your blog (and shop) yesterday and I can't stop sifting through all your posts and drooling over all your wonderful work. I have little to no sewing skills (although I do have a sewing machine) and I am wishing I could make one of everything! Thanks for sharing your talent!


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