When I first started this blog, I was an unemployed costumer attempting to create period gowns and costumes with very limited means. Although now employed, I still try to be as thrifty as possible. I am still "The Broke Costumer"!

In addition to posts about the outfits I make on a budget, this blog includes short research articles on fashion, history, accessories, styles, or whatever interests me at the moment.

I hope you enjoy my journey into the land of inexpensive costuming and short articles.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

The Half-Started Holiday Dress

My mother recently joined the Costume Guild, and is eager to sew Victorian gowns.  She bought some fabric in her favorite soft blue and grey colors.  Since she was familiar with modern sewing patterns, I gave her my Burda pattern 7880 to use rather than start her out on Truly Victorian.

Well, I guess its been awhile, because she cut out her dress size and NOT her pattern size!  She sewed the bodice pieces together, and it wouldn’t close.  She had made the underskirt first, plain with no embellishment.   She gave me the bodice pieces and plain underskirt, and she went out and bought more of the same fabric to start over.

I bought three yards of the crinkle poly taffeta at approximately $5 a yard to make an overskirt.  Then I thought about it.  I did not want the exact same dress as my mother, so I attacked the bodice with my scissors.  Instead of the high collared neck shown on the pattern, I cut a square neck.  I did not use the Burda overskirt pattern.   Instead, I used the Truly Victorian 303 Side Drape Overskirt pattern, which I love!!  Also to change it up, I cut about two inches off the sleeve length and added white lace around the cuffs.  

I decided to trim it out in white, as mom was using a grey braid for her trim.  I used about 4 yards of trim on the bodice, and 1 yard on the overskirt.   I used white flower shaped buttons down the front.

 I finished it enough to wear to the Costume Guild Holiday Party.  I did not have time to put the boning in, so that still needs to be done.  I want to find more of the blue the skirt is made from and add a row or two of ruffles around the bottom.

My mother and daughter joined me this year.   Here is a Three Generation photo of us.  My daughter is wearing a dress I made for her two years ago.  It is Truly Victorian pattern 216 - Parisian Trained Skirt with pattern TV 405 - Vest Basque.   Mom is wearing a Nataya dress with an added pink sash and underskirt.

Parisian Trained Skirt Pattern

Val and her beautiful dress

$15.00       3 yards of fabric for  overskirt
$  7.50       5 yards of trim
$  4.40       12 buttons
bit of white lace on cuffs from stash

Total        $26.90


  1. Suitably Jealous. Ladies, you look FABULOUS! Miss Cindy, you are such a talented seamstress. You make me want to start my sewing right away! Lovely job there.

    1. Thanks Frenchy! Your gowns are better than mine, you should post them.

  2. Okay! It looked great on you! The last picture shows the true color best.

    1. Your pink dress was amazing. Everyone needs to check out her blog at http://vintageattirew-dnalof2007.blogspot.com/2012/12/an-1870-pretty-pink-plaid-day-gown.html

  3. Your daughter's skirt is way past amazing! So much detail.

    1. Thanks Suzy! Its one of those patterns that looks hard but is super easy to make. I am going to be making another one for myself as soon as I figure out what I want to do with it.

  4. Someday I'm making that Parisian skirt. Your's always look so beautiful.

  5. Lovely Gals, lovely gowns!!! Can't say enough Cindy, you always look terrific! Now I really want to do the Burda 7880, I've had the pattern for awhile but have gotten caught up with other projects. Wondering if you found any blaring problems with either the instructions or the pattern construction itself?

  6. Sandra, I have never looked at the instructions :) My mother had cut out the bodice body and had sewn the pieces together. She gave me the cut out sleeve pieces and other random pieces. I did not put the neck high collar on, I cut a square neck out by eyeballing it. The sleeves went in as any other pattern. The skirt was very basic - attached to a waistband. The overskirt pattern was Truly Victorian, not the Burda one. Soooo this was basically a Frankencostume.

  7. You all look lovely! Van and I go to each other's blogs and I admire all of you who sew so brilliantly!