HSF #5 – The Maroon Makeover, The Bodice Edition

For the Made Do and Mend Post I originally intended to post my progress on a dress that I’m redoing for my sister. As I mentioned, things are going a bit slower than expected. I haven’t had much practice sewing for other people and especially not for people I don’t have access to for fittings.

Here’s what the original dress looked like. DSCN0044

The bodice was far too big. As you can see, it sags off her shoulders. Her ladies also didn’t quite fill out the bust.


The back had some interesting fastenings going on. In case you can’t tell…the dress originally buttoned up. Then at some point the previous owner (or the second owner) lost weight and added a second row of buttonholes and laced it.


I am happy to report that I’ve finally got the bodice finished. Well…mostly. I still need to figure out the trimmings that I want to do for it. I’m thinking a bertha of some sort (can I just say that’s the most unattractive name for any piece of clothing ever). Maybe something along the lines of this, only in black.

Anyhooo, here’s the finished bodice. The skirt still has some work that needs to be done, but more on that later.


Sadly, my car has needed some major repairs, which has eaten my dress form fund and my new computer fund. Since my sister won’t be home again until Tuesday and my measurements are a few inches larger all the way around, you’ll have to make do with flat pictures. I’ll update some modeled shots later.

This was my first time sewing with any kind of slinky fabric. I’m not completely happy with how it turned out. The front darts are wrinkly, which will eventually be not quite so noticeable (I hope) after the bertha is added.

While the outside doesn’t quite meet with my approval, the inside is a work of art if I do say so myself. If the outside had turned out as well, I would have named this the Hard Work, But Worth It Bodice.


The bodice was flat lined and then French seamed, mostly because that’s my favorite way to sew, but there are enough extant examples with French seaming that I don’t feel bad about it. I made self fabric bias tape and boning channels, then hand stitched everything down.



The Challenge: Bodice

Fabric: black poly satin and red cotton/poly lining

Pattern: Truly Victorian’s 1860’s Ballgown Bodice

Year: 1860’s

Notions: black and red thread, boning

How historically accurate is it? I used poly blend fabrics, which takes quite a bit of points off. But the pattern and construction methods are authentic(ish). I’d say maybe 60%? 70%?

Hours to complete: Heavens, I couldn’t even guess. This was such a piecemeal project. I’ve been working on it off and on for about five months. And it’s still got some work until it’s ballroom ready.

First worn: Only for fittings.

Total cost: I’d say about $40.

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

<span>%d</span> bloggers like this: