Tag Archives: sheer victorian

rock the frock- sheer 1870s

era: late 1870s

material: plain cotton and cotton organdy

found: march 2003, ebay.com

The skirt is walking length so I can just imagine the owner outside and wearing this frock.

Note the bodice front ruched panel is almost certainly a plastron with a button fastening underneath.

While this dress is made as one piece, this shares similarities with removable sheer overdresses.

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rock the frock- sheer 1870s

era: mid-late 1870s

material: cotton, cotton tulle

found: ebay.com Feb 2003

This was the reality of early like of the web- small files!

But what may be possible to tell here is how very light even the solid fabric is is. This is not unusual, the aim was to have all the tension in the corset, so outer garments could be shaped over an already fitted and shaped body.

The bodice is a classic jacket type from the very end of the 1870s. Cuirasse bodices were also popular at this time.

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rock the frock- sheer black and gold 1870s

era: mid-late 1870s

material: fine silk tulle, embroidered with straw, pressed straw motiffes

found: ebay.com May 2011



This overdress is stunning. It is truly iconic of the era but in a very unique way. High contrast of materials, sheer outerlayer that allows colour shifting of any garment below, and delicate but trailing and repeat decoration.

The straw decoration is very effective from a distance and fascinating to look at in detail.


Back in the early days of access to the net here in New Zealand I found myself mainly looking for images of patterns and extant garments. And pretty much just that! I already had a lot of information from books, but always wanted more.

More fashion plates too.

As time goes by I realise many of the auctions were not saved, were not shared, and many  of them added vital understanding to the vibrancy, the texture, the construction, and even the overall aesthetic of the day.

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Filed under garment construction, rock the frock

rock the frock

I reecently shared this image of a test pinning session over my princess dress (well underdress- it’s going to be used under a few gowns.


This saree was a chance find in my nearest Save Mart store, I regularly scour them for saree and anything able to be transformed such as shoes, lengths of fabric, but mainly saree!)


But I haven’t shared the images that inspired them.


Over the years I have hoarded images from eBay sales as often the display does not do justice to the gown but do offer fantastic chances to understand contructions and physical properties.


Or sometimes there are amazing finds.

The two overgowns below are from such finds. They have a few things in common- polonaise style with a shorter bustle feature.


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Filed under extant garments for study, garment construction

changed my mind about the tulle!


by admin, December 14, 2014

I have been very remiss and forgot about my earliest introductions to costume history and remembered there is indeed a fashion plate I have wanted to recrete for years but never really settled on a fabric nor trim. So.



Urk, blurry phone pic is blurry. That looks like the lens has been steamed… And that is why it is only a thumbnail

Anyway. It’s inspired more than me. It was the image that Eiko used to inspire the Mina gown. At one stage I was going to use my Mina silk to make the plate as it was but with the dark blue rayon lace braid dyed black:



But I decided it really wasn’t working. However when I removed the dye from the lace suddenly I was thinking of sheer vertical gowns andwas basing all my ideas on the amount of sheer voile I had. But oh hoho! I now have an obscene amount of cotton net to make the floofiest fluffy sheer version of this gown possible!
And to support it I’ll finally make that white princess dress I have been meaning to make for a very very very long time!



And this super sleek style might have been very theatrical, this style can be used as a straight up dress.


I was going to try and do this when the trim was still dark but I an really tempted to used some pale pink all over daisy patterned cotton lace to do something with my voile. It will wind up looking a bit like Whistler’s Symphony in pink and white:

And I’m okay with that 🙂

Except I really also have loved Toulmouche’s work for so long…


Rose Caron on the left, A Girl and Roses on the right.


Okay so this tuned in to a quirasses and princess dress love fest….


Anyway, so these are most of my all time favourite images from this period.


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Filed under projects: late historic, Uncategorized

first victorian sketch in ages


by admin, December 10, 2014

This will be cotton net and heavy guipure lace sewn in stripes. It will be a polonaise in the natural form style- so very long and quite tightly pulled back rather than up and back as you see in the two bustle styles.
There will be a cotton sateen fitted princess slip underneath. And the sheer matching train will be sewn to the hem of the striped portion- the number of horizontal lace stripes will depend on how much i have of the lace.
The net will have the lace sewn on in slightly flared lines then the fabric will be fitted with darts and seams.

(addit, March 13 2017, now I’m torn! I wanted to base my frock on the 1876 Harper’s Bazar print but these vertical lines, just with the lace no ribbon would work so well!)

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