I did indeed manage to get my Neo-Victorian outfit finished (or mostly, anyway) in time for the picnic. Then, about a week later, I ran off to Europe for 6 months so I never really got around to writing about what I did. So here’s the summary, finally.
I made the skirt from a beautiful Italian wool, in a black and white herringbone sort of pattern. I adapted a pattern from a basic 6-gore pattern that I have. Basically, it turned out beautifully. The only downside is that I wish the fabric had a bit of stretch in it, which would make it more comfortable to wear.
Having used Laughing Moon’s Silverado corset pattern before, I basically just did a toile of that and then traced a line I liked and cut it off there. I decided to make it come to a point in the front because I think it looks nicer, and less like it’s just been cut off. Playing with my previous corset, I worked out that I would be able to do it up inside out, and thus make it double sided (which was exciting, it meant I basically got 2 corsets in one). So on one side I used black satin and on the other I used red satin – one was silk satin and one felt like silk satin even though it wasn’t. I can’t remember which was which. I lined the satin layers to make them more substantial and stop the fabric from fraying everywhere, and I put a later of cotton canvas in the middle. I used spiral steel boning again. I bound it with black satin bias binding, so the black side looks totally black and the red side has black edging. I used a metal busk in the front and metal eyelets in the back. I’m really happy with it, I think it fits well and looks good with lots of things. Plus, it can double for pirate outfits! My only complaint is that I didn’t get the boning channels as neat as I would have liked because I was in a hurry.
Completing the Outfit
I wore skirt and corset with a blouse I’d bought (white with black details, ruffles, bow at the neck and so on), a green corduroy blazer, blue curly scarf, grey stocking and black shoes. I found a straw boater in the cupboard, which my mother kindly put a new black ribbon on for me. It wasn’t as cool as the top hat I planned, but I still rather liked it, and it was a lot quicker to put together.
I still plan to make a mini top hat, one day… I did manage to pick up a small one, which I’d like to do up. I just need to work out if it’s the right shape. And I’m sure I’ll think of other accessories I’d like to do. I must get my hands on a parasol.