Here We Go a Frolicking…

24 Mar


 I have been working on a project I have dubbed the Frolicking Suit.  Last fall my dear friend Sharon made a steampunk suit using this fabric:


(Its actually powder blue.)

After she was done I decided I needed a suit to match.  I have a HUGE roll of this fabric and after 3 different costumes, the end is no where in site.  Anyway, I also decided this would be a great project to see if I could make an entire outfit from my stash.  I dug around and found a nice synthetic powder pink satin that complimented well and an old bamboo sheet for the bodice lining. Ooohhh fancy!

Sharon’s outfit gave me a starting point for my research. I knew I wanted a bottom ruffle, ankle length hem and a high neckline.  Pretty modest for me.  Pinterest provided some great images as usual. I fell in love with the square apron front and silhouette shape on the lavender and light blue dresses.  The third image is of course much later but there is something alluring about the high contrast and elegant curve of the bodice detail.  I love the idea of pairing the square apron and straight trim with graphic curves over the bust.  purple victotian  blue victorianblue edwardian

I decided on a few major differences from my research.  First I wanted a pleated underskirt.  I knew it would add a lot of work but a gathered ruffle is too soft for the fabric ( pretty stiff upholstery material).  I love the clean tailored look of the 1890’s dress and it seems to work better with this upholstery fabric. I decided on a collar closer to the 1890’s piece.  I also wanted to not have to wear a bustle cage.  The whole idea of “frolicking” implies easy movement.  I love my lobster bustle but it is work to wear. A few years ago I started reading the blog Historical Sewing and read her tutorial for a basic bustle skirt ( ).  Its pretty straight forward if you have never made a bustle skirt before.  For this project its the prefect method because it doesn’t require a bustle cage to support the draping (just a firm bum pad).

Frolicking Suit

After I complete a costume sketch I spend a good amount of time planing and sketching construction methods.  Because I pattern most of my costumes from scratch spending the extra time to sketch out the construction process really makes drafting easier.  In some ways its like writing the pattern instructions before drafting the pattern.  Being plus sized and drafting patterns from scratch has the potential to make a seemingly small mistake turn into a big mistake.  Taking the extra time to do construction drawings has saved me countless hours over the years.  Obviously these instructions are in no way neat or readable to anyone but me but normally who sees them but me?

frolicking detail

At this point I am about 75% done with the project.  Mostly I have hand sewing and final tweaking left.  Next time I will share some progress photos, pattern drafting info and hopefully the completed costume.


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