Red and Black Victorian Walking Gown – Ensemble


I made this striking gown to sell in my Etsy shop, but as soon as my daughter Shara saw it,  it became hers. I would say it has “attitude”.  She looked so stunning in it that I had to give it to her, and in retrospect, perhaps I made it for her without realizing that I was doing so!  Shara and her husband like to do a little Steam Punk once in a while and this gown lends itself  to that, as well as to a strictly Victorian look. Shara therefore considers it a pretty versatile addition to have in her historical wardrobe.SLR_2_5600-2 It did look wonderfully festive when it was worn to the Victorian Christmas at the O’Dell House Museum.

For accessories, I bought a plain black, buckled, ladies felted top hat to go with it. I decorated it with red lace, black french netting, a few cocky feathers, a black net train and a big red rose. It also has a black parasol and matching reticule. Shara also wears netted black crocheted gloves, and a black beaded choker. Black brocade Victorian style booties complete this ensemble.

IMG_0014-002This Victorian walking gown consists of a polonaise and a walking skirt. I find it has a French feeling to it and  I also like it as a riding habit. The skirt, which is made from a black embroidered taffeta, has one large ruffle and is trimmed in black and red venise laces and satin ribbon. It is slightly trained at the back.

SLR_2_5437-002The polonaise, is made in a rich blood red and black shot striped taffeta and is fully lined and boned. It incorporates both the bodice and the over-skirt and has a nice large bustle, as well as a pleated basque at the back.  It is trimmed with matching black venise lace, tulle lace at the neckline and sleeves, and  ruched black satin ribbon. I had about a half yard of a very long, red, 8 inch venise lace, which matched the red of the taffeta exactly, so I added that to the front of the polonaise as well. I find it really stands out against the black of the skirt. This bodice closes at the front with black satin fabric self made buttons.

I’m planning to make a variation of this ensemble again as it is so striking. I have more of the striped taffeta, not only in the red but in a blue as well.

Don’t forget to click on the pictures to get the full size and effect!SLR_4_2486-002


A Victorian Ball Gown

SLR_3_7331-002I am very fortunate to have two very beautiful young women to model the historical gowns I make! The next two posts concerning gowns, will feature two crew members, my daughter Shara, and my feels like a daughter, friend Katherine, wearing Victorian ensembles.

2012_04_051-007This Victorian Gown was made for a client in Japan who is planning to wear it as her wedding gown. Once again our lovely Katherine is modeling this.

This is a circa 1875 – 1878 Ball gown which sports a full bustled over skirt, a double tiered ruffled underskirt, and an off the shoulder basque back style bodice with pouf sleeves. The patterns that were used came from Truly Victorian. They are TV324, which is the Long Draped Overskirt, and TV416 which is the Ball Gown Basque Bodice. The underskirt is of my own design.

2012_04_051-005I used a Seafoam green faux silk which is embroidered with ivory, gold, tan and turquoise florals and leaves, for both the overskirt, and the main part of the bodice. The pouf sleeves and the underskirt are made of a 100% pure golden dupioni silk. The bodice is fully lined and boned for added shape and structure, and buttons at the front with self covered golden dupioni fabric buttons. This bodice also has a lovely pleated basque back.The draped overskirt is fully lined and was lengthened at the back by several feet to incorporate a long and elegant train for the evening.2012_04_051-004

To trim this gown, I used golden pearl teardrop beading around the sleeves, around the bottom and extending around the basque back of the bodice. I also used this beading on the draped front of the overskirt. I used golden swagged and scalloped rayon venise laces, which were hand-dyed using potassium permanganate. This method of dyeing gives lace a rich golden colour, and perfectly matches the silk dupioni. The result lends a very antique quality to the gown.SLR_3_8484-003

Katherine is also carrying an authentic Victorian lace fan made of bone and wearing a pair of beige, non-shiny, elbow length gloves. She is wearing a single strand of golden pearls around her neck and wrist, and golden crystal drop earrings. Simple but very effective accessories.

Something I really enjoy doing is creating matching foot wear for these gowns. For the Victorian gowns I purchase vintage lace booties, which I then dye and decorate with left over scraps of the lace and trimmings used in the creation of the gown. For this dress, I tea dyed a pair of lace boots and decorated them with the left over golden lace. I also re-laced them with a matching satin ribbon. The effect is very lovely when worn with the dress.

Don’t forget to click on the pictures to see the full size and effect!SLR_3_8470-002

A Victorian Wedding Gown for a Texas Lady

SLR_3_3660-002This is a  Natural Form Victorian Wedding  Gown that I was commissioned to create for a very kind and lovely young lady living in Texas.

kara-008I acquired the patterns to create this gown from Truly Victorian, a very good and quite authentic pattern company for making Victorian reproduction gowns. They have a good variety of patterns for period clothing, both for women and men. The instructions are clear, concise and easy to follow, however, I would not recommend them for the beginning seamstress as they use techniques that were used during the Victorian era.

photo-015To create this gown we chose Truly Victorian patterns #TV225 – 1878 Fantail Skirt, #TV420 – 1879 Cuirass Evening Bodice and #TV328 – 1880 Split Pannier Over Skirt. We made a few alterations to each of them since we wanted a differing neckline in the bodice, and we also combined the fantail skirt with the split panniers to create one skirt rather then two. The panniers were also rounded instead of left square.

photo-018For Fabrics we chose, a creamy ivory satin matelasse, complimented by a matching 100% pure shantung silk for contrast.  I used  a variety of matching ivory trims and  laces, both venise and bridal type as well as chiffon. I was careful (insomuch as was possible) to choose only laces and trims that were historically accurate representations of what was used during the Victorian period. The gown is fully lined and boned.  I used Chinese knotted silk buttons also in a matching ivory for the bodice. The sleeves and neckline are trimmed with ivory venise lace and the sleeves also are ruffled with ivory bridal lace. The back fantail skirt is made of satin matelasse and has 8 layers of overlapping lace and chiffon on the fan, and is decorated with satin ribbon. The front section of the skirt is made of ivory shantung silk and trimmed with bridal lace and two layers of silk pleats at the bottom. The split panniers are made of satin matelasse and are trimmed with bridal lace and venise lace.

SLR_3_5076-002In order to get the fit required, I made up several mock up bodices and because of the distance between us, sent them out in the mail. She would try them on, pin them where alterations were required and send them back to me. Although in the end we were quite successful in getting the fit right, she did have to go to a local seamstress to have slight alterations made to the shoulders and waist.  I would not consider this an unusual occurrence however, since almost all of us have to have alterations done when purchasing a wedding gown.kara3-005

For accessories for this gown, I purchased a pair of vintage lace booties and decorated them with laces left over from the gown. I also made a matching reticule from left over fabrics and laces. This gown was created over a period of about 5 months

Don’t forget to click on the pictures for the full size and effect!

Ivory Victorian Wedding Gown (SOLD)

(Please click on images to see full view)

Watch the heads turn when you walk down the aisle in this absolutely gorgeous Victorian historical reproduction bustle gown. Modeled after a ballroom style made popular during the 1870s, this beautiful gown features all the details, and truly embodies the elegance, beauty and opulence of the early Victorian era.This is a brand new, never been worn, Man The Capstan original gown crafted by Johanna, it is a one of a kind, there is no other gown quite like it.

Carefully handcrafted using tailoring methods authentic to the time period, it is made in a satin matelasse and 100% pure shantung silk combination. Sure to make your wedding day truly special and to become a beloved heirloom, it has been decorated with all the finery that the Victorians loved.

This gown consists of three full pieces; an off the shoulder lined satin matelasse basque back bodice with contrasting silk pouf sleeves, a pure 100% silk pleated and ruffled unlined underskirt, and a matching lined satin matelasse ruffled and pleated over-skirt with bustle and train. All pieces boast hand pleated and hand ruffled self trims, no less than twenty metres of beautiful matching ivory venise lace, plus florals, satins and faux pearl buttons at the closures, all of which have been applied by hand. You will not find a zipper here. The over-skirt can be removed for reception, the underskirt is beautiful on it’s own with the bodice, has no train, and is lovely and cool for a warm evening of celebration and dancing.

Suggested accessories: Victorian lace boots or satin slippers, opera length non-shiny gloves, a parasol or a fan and a Victorian style mantilla veil or a small floral feathered headpiece. Victorian ladies also often carried a bible decorated with flowers to their weddings. Many of these accessories can be acquired on-line and should be purchased in ivory. I also suggest an A-line crinoline to make the most of the skirts. This should not be too large. The dress  should not pouf out too much at the sides and front, rather the mass of the fabric is pulled to the back.

Size – approx 12 – please measure carefully prior to purchasing.
Bust – 38 (will fit 37)
Waist – 30 – 31
Hips –  a lot of freedom here
Nape to true Waist – 15

This gown can also be worn by someone slightly larger then these measurements if a good Victorian corset is worn. Ladies often made the waists of their gowns smaller by 2 inches or more than their actual size, since it was quite possible to whittle that amount away by the use of a tightly laced corset. Victorians also padded the upper parts of a bodice in order to attain the classic V – shaped torso.

Also included with this purchase is a matching reticule or keepsake pouch and a bustle “pillow”, (makes it easy to get the right look for the bustle). This is to be worn over the underskirt and under the over-skirt.

Because the front interior satin lining of this bodice was snagged during a problem during button holing, I am offering a $200 dollar discount on this gown.This snagging is present on the inside lining fabric only and is absolutely invisible on the exterior of the gown.

With discount – $800.00

Please ask questions
More pictures are available upon request.

If interested in purchase, please email me and I will arrange for an invoice. We use Paypal.