Victorian Visiting Costume
My husband and I are delighted to be part of Dicken's Fair. My dress is authentic to the period in pattern but the material is cotton stretch twill trimmed with poly satin. I chose the stretch twill #1 because I love the burgundy and mustard herringbone #2 because the cotton breathes and the stretch was a bonus for dancing all day at fair. I purchased about 10 yards of the twill of which I used 2 in order to cut the bodice. The remainder I divided up after much algebra into the three layers of chevron ruffles. This was challenging because the points are graduated. The points on the bottom row are several inches longer and wider than on the top so it was not a simple matter of dividing by 3. The front and under sleeves are made from Battenburg lace. The under sleeves are removable so they can be machine washed. I spent a few hours experimenting with ways to do the shirring on the shoulders. I am very happy with the way it turned out. I combined a several different methods and came up with something that looks like hand made cartridge pleats and has the elasticity of smocking but only took a few minuets to execute by machine once I developed the technique. I am also very pleased with the closure. It is nice and tight like a zipper but is done with hooks and eyes.
I also made a bonnet, tatted snood and false hair piece to go with this costume. The hoop was purchased.
This dress won the 2002 Costume contest at Dickens' Fair