Sewing · Tissot Dress · Victorian

Striped Tissot Dress: The Overskirt

After completing the Underskirt for the Striped Tissot Dress it was time to move onto the Overskirt – hopefully with less liberal use of the seam ripper.

I decided to use the Truly Victorian Bustled Overskirt (TV305) pattern, which is the same pattern I used for my Pretty Princess Dress. I had shortened the pattern for that, both front and back and I knew that I was going to have to do something similar here.

On studying the overskirt in Still On Top I saw that the front panel extends further back than the TV305. Of course, I forgot this until after cutting out the panel. So, a second panel would have to be cut. Fortunately, the first panel gave me the chance to play with the length, number and size of the pleats, as well as their placement.

I ended up shortening the front panel quite a bit so it would sit at the right place on top of the underskirt and its trim.

Sussing this out before cutting the extended front panel helped to cut a better shaped piece. I felt like the sides could have been lower but thought that I could formulate a plan to attach the pleats in such a way that rectifies the situation a bit.

I didn’t alter the back pattern a lot as I planned to really bustle it all up to best replicate what is seen in the painting. I shortened it by a couple of inches in anticipation of the added length of the pleats.

I flatlined the overskirt panels with a crisp lawn cotton to prevent any stripes from the underskirt showing through, and to give them a bit more support for the addition of the trims.

Because I wanted the sides of the overskirt to sit lower down than they were, I changed where they sat in relation to the front of the underskirt. The very front of the overskirt has the pleats essentially sitting on top of the overskirt hem, while at the sides they were attached one inch from the edge, letting the pleats fall lower.

The back panel’s pleats were attached 1.5 inches from the edge so they fall a bit lower as well.

This whole process was definitely moving along at a faster rate than the underskirt. Partly because I didn’t undo and redo anything, and partly because the overskirt only has one row of pleats. The only part I had to be careful with was the ‘corner’ where the front and back panels meet.

I made inch wide bias tape for the bias trim – you can see the difference between the underskirt and overskirt bias trim in the paintings. This attached reasonably easily, with only a little bit of fussing at the ‘corners’.

The back didn’t quite look right to me because the bustling was only at the top and in the painting there is a lot of ‘something’ going on. So I added some extra loops to the underside of the panel so I could draw that up more. I let some of the upper bustling down so that I could keep the length I had achieved.

Then it was time for the straight grain trim, which I made half an inch wide. This was a little trickier to attach because of the curves. And after that I was done!

Now I have two pieces of my Striped Tissot Dress complete!

Next up will be the bodice, which is going to take a little guesswork, due to the fact it is obscured in many of the paintings. It will, no doubt, be a combination of different bodice patterns (aka a frankenpattern) and probably require at least a couple of mockups before cutting into the actual fabric.

However, I’m feeling reasonably confident that I should be able to create something that I’m happy with so….. watch this space!

The Project So Far…

Missed the Introduction to this project? Here it is 😊

Read about the Underskirt

I’m not the only one…

Other historical costumers have made their own interpretations of this magnificent dress:

Madame Modiste

Mywiel Greenleaf

Ajaneitesews (and here)

Costumer’s Closet

Silver Lotus

3 thoughts on “Striped Tissot Dress: The Overskirt

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