I had a darling sewing commission this fall - an 1870s bustle dress sized for a small girl. This particular client I have been making items for since she was two years old, and its always a pleasure. (both her and her mother have great taste, and I always enjoy their requests so much!)
This time it was a bit different from anything I had done before, never having ventured into the bustle era before. Starting with a basic 1860s bodice, I did a few modifications and a lot of research pinterest-ing looking at other bustle dresses and the bodice shapes. Turned out very satisfactory.
The little girl picked out the fabric herself - a lovely pink and tan rose ticking stripe. The trim was rose pink shot silk taffeta with pinked edges overlaid in tan vintage cotton ribbon. Lots of time, and lots of gathering, but very enjoyable.
My biggest dilemma was over the bustle itself. Because this was a costume I wanted it to be easy to get in and out for a child, so back opening would be better I thought, - but how to attach the bustle to a back opening dress??? (the buttons in front are centered on a faux opening for looks, it really fastens with hooks and eyes in back.
Finally my dilemma was solved by realizing the answer was actually quite easy: attach the bustle to a separate but matching silk belt! Thus, the dress can be worn with or without the bustle!
The bustle gathers are held up with rows of twill tape underneath.
I found this article and video very helpful.
A decorative rosette in front is the final touch.
A couple of pictures of the lovely little lady herself!
Adorable or what?
I don't think the 1870s will every be preferred over the 1850s/60s for me, but it sure was an interesting and challenging project!