For once I had eight weeks notice for a school trip, with a list of costume requirements! Naturally, I was keen to make a costume using what I had – I am so glad I have the skills to make clothes. For people who don’t the odd dress up day must really add up financially! The costume was made entirely with what I had to hand, searching the internet for free patterns plus my paper pattern stash.
In my stash, I had a meter and half of navy fabric, it’s not cotton so not strictly Victorian but for one day’s wear, but I’m not going to worry about that.
DIY Victorian Girls Costume
Apron and Bonnet
A former duvet cover is perfect for apron and bonnet.
For the apron, cut a piece of fabric measuring 144 by 9cm for the tie, and for the apron piece 43 by 53cm. I cut a curve along one of the apron’s long edges, folded over and hemmed. The top of the apron was gathered until it measured 33cm. The tie is folded in half, pressed, opened out and the raw edges folded into the fold line. Pressed again then folded again so that the raw edges are enclosed. Place the apron in the middle of the tie, pin and stitch.
For the bonnet, follow fabulous instructions from sew historically. Find the instructions here (admittedly I did not sew any of the costume by hand as it would have been at the time).
Do you have a pattern in your stash you can adapt? (After much searching of the internet I failed to find a free pattern for a 12-year-old girl) I used the tunic pattern Simplicity 1704 to create the fitted top part of the dress. On the pattern is marked a line to add or remove height from the tunic, at this point instead of lengthening or continuing with the tunic I added a gathered panel to create the skirt of the dress.
At the fitting stage, I realised I had completely underestimated my daughter’s height, out of the original fabric I added a panel of black.
If you are tempted to make your own Victorian costume do allow time. Sewing a panel on the dress the night before the school trip had me muttering about wishing I had bought a costume!! Naturally, as soon as she put it on I felt a moment of pride.
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