Making a 1890s black outfit, part 1

Hi everyone! The holiday season has started and so this means I have some spare time to work on my personal projects. This time I'd like to introduce my 1890s black outfit. I'm new to late Victorian costuming (oh well, let's say I explored very few of it) and let's say I'm not a fan of those huge sleeves. After looking at some extant examples I saw huge sleeves last

ed for a very short time and not every 1890s bodice had leg-o'-mutton sleeves so I decided to give this era a try. I found some beautiful examples of black dresses not stricky mourning and went ahead with that idea.

Both there dresses are beautiful and I love Cléo de Mérode hairstyle!

So, after checking the web for resources I decided my dress would have been in black cotton sateen with very minimal embellishments. 

Before starting to work on the skirt I worked on the undergarments. I took and old Edwardian petticoat from my closet and restyled it, sergin' again seams and adding a lovely ruffle at the bottom to help the skirt in keeping its shape at the bottom. Luckily I already had corset and chemise (no combinations yet alas!) so this part came together really quickly. 

Then I started to work on the skirt. I drafted a pattern by my own looking at some period layouts. It's really simple, trust me. All you have to do is to measure yourself carefully at waist, centre front and back if you want a train. Divide your waist measurements by 7 (the number of gores, since the front is cut on fold) and draft your pattern; the back and side back have to be more generous in size to end up with the pleats. 
Gored skirts ended in with very large pleats at the back to create the "fan" look and that's what I did. The front is straight all around my hips. My skirt is high waisted to use the waistband as belt. I have very large hips and  I have to say this skirt is incredibly comfortable, smoothing my curves and making my belly look really flat. AH! 

I wanted my skirt to be light, to be worn in summertime as well so it's not lined or flat lined. The hem is reinforced with some black bias tape 25 mm wide faced inwards. 
The back of the skirt closes with hook&eyes and two pair of snaps (they're HA, did you know? They were invented in the 1880s!) mounted over the placket. Unfortunately my waistband ended to be too large so it overlaps too much but it can be easily fixed in a second moment. 

When I was done with the skirt I hand sewn some yards of beautiful vintage velvet trim all around the hem as decoration. It's so lovely! 

Now the fun part: bodice and sleeves! 

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