Saturday, January 25, 2014


I got some good sewing momentum going at the beginning of this month, finishing the first two challenges almost simultaneously. I posted about the re-made petticoat already for the first challenge, but what I didn't mention was that underneath it in the pictures was my completed second challenge! After struggling with ideas for a few weeks my imagination was sparked by a book my mother got me for Christmas that mentioned the crinoline and what an important fashion innovation it was. Since I don't really make costumes from when the original crinoline was popular I decided to go with its descendant/successor more commonly called a bustle nowadays. Thanks to a great tutorial from American Duchess I was able to complete a "Lobster Tail" bustle for my planned 1880's dress with relative ease.

The bustle is made from the same subtly striped white cotton/poly blend that the petticoat is made from. While sorting through and organizing my stash at the beginning of the year I found that I still had a yard or two of this fabric that had been untouched when making the petticoat last year. It was exactly enough to squeeze the bustle pattern on to with enough excess for the two large ruffles at the bottom. The smaller ruffles are strips that had been cut out to make a second ruffle on the original petticoat that I gave up on after struggling forever with the first ruffle. Since it was the very last bit of this fabric I decided I might as well use it up, you can never have too many ruffles! I had already cut out the two large ruffles for the bottom before I found the extra small strips or I probably would have made them all the same size, not that the way it turned out bothers me at all.

Being really excited to get the bustle together and being a little short on funds I sort of improvised on the boning. I had a roll of spiral steel for corsets laying around in the stash and I thought maybe it would work for the bustle. It holds up alright on the lower hoops, but the top one tends to buckle if any pressure is put on it so they will have to be replaced when I get the time to order some proper hoop boning. I'm hoping stiffer bones might give it just a little more 'oomph' in the back. Other than the boning I'm completely pleased with the bustle, and bunny is too.

 The Challenge: #2 Innovations

Fabric: Cotton/poly blend

Pattern: Tutorial from American Duchess

Year: 1880's

Notions: Thread, twill tape for ties, boning

How Historically Accurate is it? Besides the poly content of the fabric I'd say mostly accurate

Hours to Complete: About 3 I think

First Worn: Not yet

Total Cost: All stash items, so $0 for now but new boning is going to cost around $15 I think

Keeping my momentum going is my main goal for now. I've finished the third challenge already and have my fabric and plans for the fourth. I'm really excited to get a lot of these pieces done but am trying to be mindful of the six week guideline for starting projects early. I'm trying to get some things out of the way as soon as I can to leave myself a buffer zone in case something throws me off later in the year. I have a few extra historical pieces outside of the fortnightly challenges that I want to get done as well, and I've just received a commission for a cosplay costume for Anime Boston so keeping on top of things is essential!

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