1880s Green Bustle Skirt

I’ve been working non stop on my opera gown for the 1880s bal (I know I said this many times before), and once the trained bodice was finished I could finaly start on the skirt.

39.384 0002After some thinking I decided I would need a good and strong foundation to hold all the fabric madnes on this skirt. So I decided to make a straight skirt out of a cotton sheet, which would serve as both lining and interlining for the tucks and pleats.

The next thing was to separate the different elements of the skirt into smaler sections.

39.384 0002The part in the middle seams like it have been boxpleated at the top and bottom and then left lose, giving it a bit of a over-hang. And since I would avoid any extra bulk at the waist, I decided to start the pleating a bit farther down the skirt.

39.384 0002This part looks like gatered stripes attached to a foundation. And this part would also have to start a bit from the waist, and be attached at a diagonal angel.

39.384_side_CP4The boxpleated hem are a no brainer. A decorative hem stiched on beneath the poufines of the middle section.

So I started by making the cotton foundation, using a cheap bed-sheet. Then I brought out my fabric – a dark pistage green cotton sateen with a beautiful sheen to it.IMG_5173

I draped the top of the skirt and basted it to the white cotton, using it as interlining.IMG_5179

Then I cut the skirt lenghts and used the whole widh of the fabric to get some nice looking pleats. I sewed it on to the white cotton in a straight line, and then cut it down to the diagonal drape.IMG_5185

I pinned it to the dressform to get a feel of how it would look.IMG_5186The pleats at the bottom, and the slightly to long fabric makes the skirt drape nicely over the hem.

Then I did the same with the back pieceIMG_5189

Pinning the upper pleats straight on the dressform.IMG_5190

Now it was time for the diagonal ruching. Cutting 15 cm whide stripes.IMG_5170

Then sewing them togheter and attaching a gathering thread at the seam.IMG_5298


Then I pinned and gathered the ruched fabric to the skirt base.IMG_5303

And hand stiched them in place.IMG_5305

Then I sewed the front and back piece togheter and put it on for the first time.IMG_5309

It looks pretty decent.IMG_5315

I really like the look of the front ruching, but I think I should have used a bit more fabric on the back. IMG_5326

Then the last step was to finished the waist and to boxpleat the strip of fabric for the decoration on the hem.IMG_5328

And finished:IMG_5387







The Facts:

What: A 1880s bustle skirt (to be worn with the 1880s evening bodice).

Pattern: None – draped my own.

Fabric: 4m of dark pistage green cotton sateen, and 2m cotton bedsheet for interlining.

Notions: Thread, strong thread for gathering, hook and eye.

Time: 10 hours (the pleating and gathering took forever).

Cost: 300 Sek (45Usd).

Things I would Change: I would have liked the diagonal draping to have started a bit higher and been a bit wider, also for the back draping to be a bit fuller. This was not an option though, since I used up every sckrap of fabric as it was. Perhaps I also should have made the entire skirt a bit slimmer.

Final thoughts: I’m happy with it, but feel it would be difficult to wear combined with a train-les bodice, since the back of the skirt is a bit of a rushjob. But overall the skirt looks nice.

(And finaly (you have all been so patient): I will show you pics from the bal in my next post)


8 thoughts on “1880s Green Bustle Skirt

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