Museum Sketching and Progress in 1879

Left to Right: me, Oscar, Debbie, and Jane

Last weekend a few of us Great Basin Costumers gathered at the Nevada Museum of Art to act as models for a sketching class. We were not stationary models – the Museum kindly provided us lunch, and we sat eating and chatting, while the students in the class captured quick, gestural moments.

The general theme was late Victorian, but that encompasses quite a spread. It was serendipity that we all arrived in 1870s bustle gowns.  We even had a gentleman accessory, Oscar:

There were Tavistock boots present:

It was a very fun day, and the museum-goers, both the students and general lunching public, were tickled by our attire (which I always enjoy).

I wore an old costume – a day bodice with a taffeta skirt – and once again the thing didn’t fit.  Luckily, thanks to Victorian ingenuity, I can let the darts out of the bodice and not have to sell it (because I really quite like it!).  However, I was inspired to begin in earnest on my 1879 ensemble, which I now have precisely 13 days to complete (eek!)  Here’s my progress so far:

It sure doesn’t look like much.  I put the foundation skirt together the same way as my Green Acres Gown skirt, using Truly Victorian TV 261, but leaving the back panel long, and slicing a godet into it.  All of the piecing and stitching will be covered in the deep pleat guard going on next.

TV 261

The fabric turned out to be splendid. It was a $3/yard cotton/silk blend (mostly cotton), marked as “dupioni” but resembling it not at all. It’s more like a crisper sateen, and has the sheen of a taffeta, but the drape and ease-of-sewing of a cotton. I *love* it.

I’m trimming in brown bias, various widths, with a vague nod to this gown:

Via Museum at FIT

I have a long way yet to go!


Leave a Reply

Discover more from American Duchess Blog

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading