1865 Victorian Carriage Dress

So here is my finished Victorian Carriage Dress. I got my inspiration for the dress from a vintage fashion plate. When I saw this I loved it and and knew that this was what I was going to model my own dress after

To start off when all my undergarments for this costume were made from the McCall's Costume Pattern 3609. For the most part this was a really easy pattern to sew. The camisole is a no brainer if you are used to following sewing instructions. The only modification I had to make was taking in the shoulder straps a bit. It is a good shape and plenty long so it fits completely under the corset.

The corset was a great find. From looking at the pattern cover I wasn't sure how much support it would actually give. However, I was pleasantly surprised. It gave the perfect shape for my dress. There are a few things to note about this pattern however, if you want a corset that will really sinch you in this is not the pattern. It is more useful for molding you in to the correct shape with out really constricting your movement at all. Also, the pattern instructions don' t have you line the corset. So what I did was double the pattern pieces and sewed the two sides together. Once that was done I created the corset channels and inserted the boning. Also corset busks can get extremely expensive as well. So, for a more economical approach I stitched the back up closed and used eyelets to lace up the front. For the boning I used used industrial strength zip/ cable ties. They are a great substitute for spiral steel boning. Cable ties are inexpensive, strong and don't rust. In addition they give just as much support as traditional corset boning.

For the Dress I used the Simplicity Civil War Costume Pattern 2887
This was a great pattern to used. However, it was pretty challenging at times. The sides of the dress have boning in it and that made the bodice really stiff to work with. Once you learn how to work around that the rest of the dress goes pretty smoothly. I think the biggest challenge i faced while making this dress however, was the sheer amount of fabric you had to manipulate. My sewing machine arm only goes up so high.

The over skirt was not part of the pattern. I added that myself. It is 3 yards of fabric cut to length and lined with the same patterned fabric as the cuff. I gathered the top created a belted waist band and whala you have a over skirt that give the effect of wearing a coat.

So here is the finished project. I loved wearing this dress to the Dicken's Fair. It was a childhood dream realize. I grew up watching little women and reading little house on the prairie. I imagined wearing dressed with flow-ly skirts and bonnets. I wished to be transported back in time, where women were ladies and men were gentlemen. This was my chance and I savored every moment of it. I can't wait to start thinking about my next dress for the 2009 fair.

So keep your eyes open for future projects. I will also be posting about my Ren dress when I get pictures.

Happy Sewing


  1. I've been waiting for pictures of this dress! Beautiful job! I missed seeing you on our trip out to SF... hopefully next time!


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