Sewing · Victorian

Something to Dance In

My original plan for a secondary look with my Aubergine Dress was a fancier bodice based on an extant House of Rouff bodice and to wear it to attend a dinner. Alas, time not being on my side, and with the dinner ticket being out of my price range (as I’m also attending the ball in Oamaru so $$$), I decided to purchase a ticket for the Servants’ Dance on the Saturday night during the Heritage Celebrations.

This means that I need something to wear that can be worn comfortably while dancing and something that I can’t overheat in. So, while I was busy making up Mum’s shirtwaist I started working on one for myself (I actually had to attach labels to some of the pieces so I knew who they belonged to!).


Being made from lawn cotton means that it will breathe and be lightweight enough to dance in without getting too hot. I also made up a new corset cover for myself that I forgot to photograph. It’s square necked so even though it is an extra layer it’s essentially just covering the corset (funny that) and won’t cause any reason for overheating.

My shirtwaist, worn over a chemise and corset cover

It’s a pretty simple solution since I’m already going to be wearing the skirt during the day and all I’ll have to do is swap the bodice for the shirtwaist. Boom. Done. Quick and easy. And I have a feeling that after presenting the fashion show I’m not going to be up to doing much more than a quick and simple clothing change…

Even though the Servants’ Dance is a much more dressed down event from the ball I always struggle to dress down – even in an everyday situation. I had planned to make up the shirtwaist as plain as possible but I really loved the look of the lace on Mum’s shirtwaist. Lincraft gave me a $10 discount for my birthday which inevitably caused me to purchase some cotton lace for mine. It’s a lot narrower so more subtle but still a pretty touch. I even added some to the cuffs.


I also found a beautiful amethyst brooch while browsing Dames a la Mode’s site a couple of weeks ago and just had to buy it. The colour is perfect with the colour of the skirt and I’m so happy that I bought it. It matches a pair of earrings I bought earlier this year to wear with this outfit as well so that’s just absolutely brilliant.

Details! Lace trim, Dames a la Mode brooch and the small puff of sleeve
The brooch with the matching earrings

Yeah… I told you dressing down isn’t something that I do very well!

I basically have three weekends left to do everything else on my long list but after this weekend, and finishing off three (almost four) works in progress, as well as mass producing several reticules for myself and Mum to use, I’m feeling reasonably confident that I’m going to get everything ticked off (ask me again in a couple of weeks and I may have a different answer though…)

2 thoughts on “Something to Dance In

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