Procrastination Nation: Tissot Portrait Dress Diary, Part 3


Hello again!  It’s been a while!  But I’m back, and this project is finished!  I didn’t work on it for a while because the bodice needed to get fitted, and I went to a Markland event, and auditions for the New Jersey Renaissance Faire, and interviewed for an internship, and then there was a blizzard…but enough of my excuses!  Here are some of the last bits of progress.


PS, I am in love with this jacket!  I want to wear it in real life, but it doesn’t fit so well without a corset on (as it should be).

I put the jacket together using the Truly Victorian Spanish Jacket pattern (TV444).  I was doing this pretty frantically this week, so I didn’t take any process shots.  For those of you who remember the Great Pompom Debate, I ended up going with the smaller pompoms because the proportion and the spacing looked more correct.  The jacket is made of a beautiful soft red wool from Mood (I had so much fun playing Project Runway…until I ended up sitting on the floor in front of two bolts of slightly different red wools for about fifteen minutes trying to make a decision), and is lined with red cotton broadcloth that I was extremely lucky to find in my stash.

In addition to the pompoms, I trimmed the jacket with a thick wool braid to represent a vague second set of trim that you can sort of see in the portrait.

I started working on the bodice using the Truly Victorian darted bodice pattern.  Because my bust measurement and my waist measurements fell into different sizes, I made the bigger size, and will reset the darts at a later point.  The bodice, like the skirt, is made of flocked velvet, and is flat lined with a light cotton broadcloth.  Ruby really wanted me to sew.


One of my school friends was kind enough to help me set the darts in the bodice one day.  The sleeve that came with the bodice pattern was a bishop sleeve, with lots of fullness at the elbow.  Since the bodice has to go under a jacket, and another set of sleeves, I decided to adapt the pattern to make fitted sleeves (they are VERY fitted…especially because of my muscular (ha) biceps and tiny wrists!).  To do this I just used my sleeve mockup that I had made but hadn’t wanted to touch because sleeves are terrible and pinned it to the size and shape I wanted it.  This was very difficult to do by myself.

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On the Truly Victorian pattern, the centre front of the bodice is a straight line from top to bottom.  This is optimistic.  Most people, like me, curve differently, even with proper undergarments.  Because of my huge boobs, and the fact that I made a size up from what I really needed in most places, I needed an extra fitting once I set in the sleeves to get a proper curve on the centre front.

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For buttons, I used these super cute buttons from a line of sort of historical reproduction buttons they had at Joann Fabrics for a while.  I love that they put dates on the card, but I was skeptical when one of the other ones says ‘1860-1900’.  Thanks, that’s so specific.  Anyway, I picked these because I like the thread-wrapped look, and I needed something flat and fairly matte.  I collected them over the summer from two different Joann Fabrics in Virginia over various coupons and sales.  There are ten buttons total.  I had originally planned to do functioning buttons and buttonholes on this bodice, but these buttons are 1″ in diameter, and real buttonholes that are big enough would have distorted the fabric and generally been huge.  So instead the actual closure is hooks and eyes and the buttons are just decorative.

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The last thing I needed were the collar and cuffs.  The bodice pattern came with a pattern for a little pointed linen collar, but I had to investigate cuffs on my own.  I found two cuff shapes that I liked in an 1864 Godey’s Lady’s Book, which I printed and cut out to see which I liked better.  I ended up going with the straight cuff (the one on the left), but I screwed up cutting them out so I’ll have to remake them at some point.  The collar and cuffs are made out of some beautiful linen that I found upstairs at the Geddy House last spring.  No embroidery yet, but once i remake the cuffs it may happen.  Maybe some whitework.

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All in all, I got everything together enough to take photos for my CSA symposium submission.  So I’m happy.

Stay tuned for the finished project post!  Hopefully I’ll get to it tomorrow.


3 thoughts on “Procrastination Nation: Tissot Portrait Dress Diary, Part 3

  1. Amy Sudduth

    The whole thing is coming along wonderfully! I’m relieved to know I’m not the only one who has to take an extra few minutes with sleeves. Was that the ball fringe you ordered from overseas or did you find it in the fabric district? You and I really need to have a shopping day soon!


    • Sleeves are the worst! I put one of them in backwards the first time, it was awful. Yes this was the ball fringe I ordered from Thailand, I have yet to find anything as huge or ridiculous in America! And I still have five yards of even larger ball fringe that I haven’t used yet. When you come visit we can definitely go fabric shopping!


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