1894 Day Dress (Part I – skirt)


My first big Victorian project. I bought six yards of navy cotton sateen, six yards of navy cotton corduroy, and Ageless Patterns’ 1894 Dress with Draped Over-Skirt. I wasn’t aiming for perfection and intended this to mostly be a learning project where mistakes wouldn’t terrify me.

It was intended to be suitable for Yubaba from Spirited Away, so I could have an excuse to wear it to conventions.


I detailed the process pretty thoroughly over on tumblr, so I’m copy-pasting it all in here. Anything in bold is stuff I’m writing now for this post.

PART I – SKIRT (and corset)

I started with Truly Victorian’s Edwardian corset pattern, because I couldn’t find an 1890s pattern I liked. Cotton drill and steel, one layer. 

Screen Shot 2018-04-16 at 3.59.53 PM.png

Screen Shot 2018-04-16 at 4.00.02 PM

I’m using an antique victorian pattern for Yubaba, and the going is DIFFICULT. This is the overskirt – it’s supposed to have a normal pleat and then a four-fold pleat on each side, but the marks make no sense. So I screwed around with trying to get it right for a while and then gave up, unpinned it, and just tried draping it myself. Got a MUCH better result, but still not one that I’m happy with. (Pictured, from the side.) There’s still not enough shape around the hem.

The pattern also has a mark for a tape (think bustling) but then no indication of how long it should be??

I’m not actually sure what ‘four fold pleat’ means – The Art of Manipulating Fabric defines a four fold pinch pleat as this:


but I’m really not sure if that’s what is required here.

I think my next step is actually going to be making the bum pad and then putting that and a petticoat on the dressform, to more accurately simulate what this overskirt will be supported by.

Also in this pattern: a large rectangular “flounce” piece, which seems to me like a petticoat flounce, except that neither the underskirt nor the overskirt seem to have a spot for a huge flounce?? h e l p

(for reference: I am using the Ageless Patterns AG1839 – 1894 Gown with Draped Over-Skirt – you can vaguely see what the pleats are supposed to be doing in the drawing. )


If anyone has input on this weird pleating situation, please do comment!


also it is blowing my mind that bum/hip pads in this era are supposed to go under the corset?? ? ? i guess they’re less prone to moving about there, but….really??

clearly my blogging of this costume is going to be rife with question marks

What is a Burnous Pleat? 


Well, it’s wearable. Will put video on IG tomorrow.

/// pretty sure it’s supposed to sit a little lower? I should have made the waistband a bit longer, oops. Fairly happy with how the folds are looking. Not sure how i’m going to trim it, but it definitely needs trim.

Somehow, the pattern says the entire dress is 6 yards, but after only using my sateen for the underskirt, there’s no way i can fit the rest of the pieces on it – and i bought 6 yards! So the bodice might end up corduroy too, where I had only been planning the yoke to be. The sleeves are just so huge, they’re like a yard each XD

I made a corset cover for this outfit before realizing that it was the wrong style…

Screen Shot 2018-04-16 at 4.09.12 PM.png

I bound the corset cover armscyes this afternoon, so that’s 100% done! last undergarment will be a petticoat, whenever I get around to that – bought a bunch of cotton and a ruffler foot (that hopefully works on my Brother), so it’s just waiting for motivation.

Got some advice about the bodice – apparently it’s very likely a case of having the lining and fashion fabric closing at different points (the lining closes at CF, and the fashion fabric will be unattached to the lining between the CF and the side seam, where it will close). Almost like a bib front gown, but going from side to side instead of bottom to top i guess?

Still a lot of confusion here, but….at least now I know that the lining will be CF closing and I can sew it together to test fit XD

Part II – Bodice

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s