Thursday, June 21, 2018

1872 summer cotton bustle - June Historical Sew Monthly Challenge

What the item is: 1872 pleated cotton summer bustle gown
1872 white dotted swiss cotton
summer bustle by TheLadyDetalle
JuneRebellion and Counter-Culture: Create an item that pays homage to fashion rebels and clothes that flaunt their place on the fringes of standard sartorial society, or that was signature to a rebelling cause.

How it fits the challenge: 
During the later part of the 19th century, Victorian fashion migrated from the large hoop shapes of the mid 19th century 1850's and 1860's (Civil War and after), to the gradually narrowing shapes of the 1870's bustles. 1870's metal bustles used less metal support than earlier hoops, and they also used other material like horsehair, and layers and layers of ruffles underneath to create the look. Light summery  bustles like the early 1870's pleated cotton summer bustle I made (based on extants and fashion plates from 1870-1872) , were often worn at the seaside and were considered more daring and even at times "fringe" to society, rebellious in their own way with their light fluffy layers and often semi sheer or sheer cotton. 

Material: white dotted swiss cotton, semi sheer

Pattern: 1870 Trained Skirt Ensemble TV208 and 1872 Vest Basque TV405
Underneath is a Victorian corset made by Historical Designs on Etsy, my TV wire bustle and two TV ruffled silk petticoats. 

Year: 1870-1872

Notions: interfacing and boning for bodice, it needs buttons/fastenings yet

How historically accurate is it? Very. It was machine sewn (appropriate for the time), using Truly Victorian patterns, with all the appropriate foundation garments for support. I ran out of time to add buttons or fastenings, so it was pinned on. Pleated hems on trained skirt and apron front. 

Hours to complete: Many. I'm not great at keeping track, lol. I started in late May and worked on it sporadically on weekends and as I could grab some time weeknights. I stayed up really late the night before finishing the bodice and pleated hem.

First worn: this past Saturday to a friend's Victorian "At the Races" lawn party. I paired this with vintage seed pearl earrings & ribbon necklace from LadyDetalle on Etsy, and a white summer "floofy" hat I pinned together quickly two days before (previously I had wired it and covered the bottom and brims with cream silk, intending it for use for another era). 

Total cost: All STASH! The fabric was Jomar $2 a yard and I used approximately 14 yards. More yards coming as I'll add more pleats and trim in future (I ran out of time: I was starching and ironing pleats until 1:00 am the night before the event). Bodice boning and interfacing was stash.

This was a really fun summer bustle project that I've been thinking about doing for ages, and it was finally time! Have you made a summer bustle yet? What are your thoughts on the "rebellious" summer bustle trend?

New summer bustle first worn to a friend's
"At the Races" themed lawn picnic
Bustle "butt" silliness with Judy

Pinching and pleating yards and yards of pleats,
using heavy starch and my iron! 
Link to event album on Flickr (still uploading photos!).


  1. Your summer bustle is BEAUTIFUL! You're really on a roll with all the bustle stuff lately. All that pleated trim is amazing! A white summer bustle dress is my next project and I need to get started on it. Thanks for the inspiration!

    1. Aw, thanks so much! I have another bustle halfway done, so I'll have another soon for CoCo, lol. ;) Pleats! I was up so late working on the pleats and I plan to add more, I'm so happy with how they turned out: they are simply eye it, pinch with fingers, iron, heavy starch, pin, and repeat: lots of repeated starch, lots of repeated ironing, but loving the result. Oooooh, white summer bustle, share photos please! I've been drooling over them for awhile and so excited to finally get one done, I want to make more, lol. ;)