Say YES to the Dress #2 ~ Under Pinnings and Basic Shape

And the winner is:

Opalescent Taffeta!

The linen was strong early in the voting, but then the taffeta squeaked through. Actually, I am just as happy NOT have to sacrifice these beautifully made curtains to my sewing scissors. They are really too lovely.

So, we proceed with the taffeta.

When watching the Red Carpet the fashionista’s always mention, well, the unmentionables-the “foundation garments.” The corsets, the spanks, the bras, and copious amounts of body tape that make these stars look incredible.

In 1863 skirts were still quite large so a gal would definitely need a crinoline (‘crin’ is the French for horsehair and ‘lin’ the linen thread it was woven with). Rather than buy one (what’s the fun in that) I decided to cobble one together. I bought a petticoat from the thrift store for $6.95 less 25% off. (Roughly $1.80 off) Then I bought $1 laundry hampers and took the springy wire out of them. (Interesting article about crinolines (and the perils of wearing a cage around your waist HERE.)

underpinnings I made a channel in the petticoat and then fed the wire through. And voila! A hooped skirt! Then rather than make a corset (which are really works of art in their own right) I just used the bustier I wore under my wedding dress. (A cheat, admittedly.)

This shape was de rigueur in the 1860’s ~ cinched waist and belled skirt. Achieving the elusive 18 inch waist was not as extreme as in the Edwardian Era, but the skirts were the widest in the period~remember, the wider the skirt, the smaller the waistline appears. (Click HERE is you want to know more about “Tightlacing.” Click HERE about the myth of rib removal. Click HERE is you want to see a rib cage of a corset wearer.)

I bought a pattern from the internet for the basic shape of our gown. It is a German pattern from the time period. I got a giggle out of the instructions describing German ladies as having “a larger body frame.”

dress drawingdress pattern

As you can see this particular pattern has a pointed waistline. But that can easily be changed to one with a natural waistline. Which would you like to see?

AND, while we’re at it, would you like a rounded neckline or a “V” neckline? A square neckline? The high neckline shown in the pattern as well as the sleeves can, and will, all be modified.

We are getting closer! This next week, I will begin sewing and we will  see our dress taking shape. Don’t forget, if you find a wonderful dress, send it to me!  Anne, my heroine, will wear this gown at a pivotal moment in Mad for the Marquess!

Seeing that innocent warmth in her eyes, he had wanted it for his own. He had wanted to steal it from her and push it deep within so it might kill the cold, blank emptiness inside him.

~from Mad for the Marquess

Thanks for taking a peek! And don’t forget to VOTE!



About jessrussellromance

Award winning romance writer.
This entry was posted in best selling author, Jess Russell, romance, romance writer, Say Yes to the dress, sewing and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Say YES to the Dress #2 ~ Under Pinnings and Basic Shape

  1. Sorry for the interruption, but I thought you might be interested in my new blog on interpreting corset images.
    My recent posts include looking at posture, 1740 young girl in tight stays, and ladies on bicycling in corsets in 1899.

    It’s here….please add your comments.



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