Category Archives: bodice

HSF #8 – The Rose Red Bodice

I’ve been consumed by the craziness of FCAT, but we’ve finally come out the other side. I’ve been working on things, but not had the energy or dedication to make myself sit down and blog about it. We’ve got three weeks left of school, which means that I’ll get to finally get some nonhistoric sewing in. Possibly even some summer dresses.

But moving on, I’ve got plans to come back and complete HSF #7. I had a lack of inspriation/I was determined to get The Rose Red Bodice finished. This was what I originally intended to do for the Fairy Tale Challenge, but due to construction difficulty and my stubborn desire to hand stitch the lining I wasn’t able to finish it in time. But I finally finished it!


In case you’ve forgotten, here’s the inspiration, this one is a different page from the same picture book I used in the last post.


The bodice turned out to be an amalgamation of the original pattern, standard Renaissance faire dress from my memory, and a painting.



It’s not the most historically accurate thing I’ve ever made. But since I only plan to wear it to the local Renaissance faire in a purely spectator manner, I’m not too worried about it.

I’ve been planning this outfit since the challenges for this year were released. I looked high and low for the perfect shade of green. In the end I found the perfect shade in a random sale bin. It is definitely not a period accurate fiber. It’s some kind of horrible, snag prone, polyester blend. The original pattern only called for layers of fabric, the fashion fabric and the lining. I decided that while I didn’t want to be wearing a pair of stays or anything too corset like to be running around a Renaissance Faire, I did need a little more stiffening. So I used scraps from the 1860’s Wine Dress to give a little more stiffness to the bodice. The lining is also leftovers from the same project (which I also used to line The Maroon Makeover Bodice). I started out by trying to flat line the lining to the middle layer, but that didn’t work out too well. So to make sure the slipper lining layer and the middle layer didn’t wiggle around I did a kind of modified quilting thing, which you can kind of see in the picture below.


I put more boning in than the pattern called for, basing the placement on what made sense to me. There are bones on either side of the grommets, along the the bust darts, and the side seams.

I freely admit this plays a bit fast and loose with the historical aspect of this challenge. But my goal is to get the outfit to look as close as possible to the inspiration.


The Challenge: UFOs and PHDs

Fabric: A random polyester green that I found on sale. The maroon lining is a poly blend. The inner stiffening lining is a cotton bottom weight material.

Pattern: Simplicity 3809

Year: 1500ish

Notions: Red and green thread, black cording for the lacing (which is already starting to fray so it’s going to have to be replaced with a sturdier braid), silver grommets, and steel boning.

How historically accurate is it? Eh, I freely confess not a lot. I’d say 30%, it’s more accurate than the original pattern, but I didn’t do a whole lot of research about how it should look historically.

Hours to complete: Lord, I couldn’t even tell you. It took 3 months of working on it off and on. The grommets alone took three hours, my punch didn’t want to go through three layers of fabric.

First worn: For pictures, I plan on wearing it to the next Renaissance Faire.

Total cost: The only thing I really had to pay for was the fabric, which was about $15. It’s got about $10 worth of boning. $3 worth of thread and $2 worth of black cording for lacing.

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.