Drafting the Late Victorian Era Bodice (1880-1900)

Create the perfect basic pattern on historic lines to fit YOUR body!

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However it is a beginning pattern making class. You need not have made a pattern before.

Skills needed will include:

  • Basic sewing skills (You must have constructed garments before, can sew a set in sleeve, understand the terms baste, gather, straight stitch, ease.)
  • Basic drawing skills.
  • Ability to read ruler/tape measure and square a line.

Pattern Making: Late Bustle Era Bodice.
Making the 1880's bodice for the Living historian/reenactor.
Are you frustrated with available patterns? Do they never fit?
Do you even wonder if they are made on correct lines?

This class is for the intermediate to experienced seamstress who would like to make an 1880's bodice that really fits them.
Most bodices from the 1880s are built on the same foundation with minor changes in decoration and closures, so by creating a personal sloper and doing a bit of research, you will have hundreds of patterns at your fingertip.
Never again show up as a cookie cutter creation at a living history event or reenactment.

We will be using your own measurements to create a personal 1880's sloper with flat pattern methods.
This direct measure system was developed by myself using both modern drafting techniques and period dressmaking systems so as to give a historical cut that fits the modern body.
We will take measurements, draft a paper pattern, make muslin and discover how to turn the basic garment into the bodice of your dreams.
Participants will be encouraged to submit a photo or fashion plate of a bodice from this era to work from and will learn to recognize specific characteristics to certain dates.

Your Instructor

Marna Davis
Marna Davis

Marna has been interested in textiles since the age of four when her grandfather purchased her and her brother their own herd of sheep. She was spinning by the age of 10 and an accomplished seamstress by her teens. Her submersion into 19th century dress research began when she noticed many available patterns for Victorian dress didn’t quite “look right” and started collecting primary resources to ascertain why she was unhappy with them. This has lead to a research library and personal museum that is the envy of many friends.
Marna is married and mother to two very intelligent daughters who are just as obsessive as she is in their own interests.

Want to know more about me?
I've been sewing since I was 9 years old taught by a talented mother. When I took Home Ec. in high school my teacher wouldn't let me slack off with an easy project I could already do. She bullied me into trying things I had never done before like making tailored coats, and creating patterns of my own. I owe much to these two women. My grandmothers gave me a love of embroidery and cooking. Skills that had gone long by the wayside were common in my family from gardening, to handling livestock, to feeding a harvest crew. Today I like to say I participate in active archaeology. There is only a finite amount that can be learned in history without experiencing it to some extent. It is easy to say "I would never wear a corset" without wearing an appropriate corset and learning about the support it gives you for your dresses and ease it gives your back.
I am in a large amount self-taught. My great joy is research. Pouring over old volumes, collecting photos of other peoples relatives, examining the patches in a work dress from the 1870's. My research library consists of not only other's studies of the Victorian era, but volumes printed in the time frames I study. I collect dressmaking systems (there are around two dozen in the cabinets), fashion magazines (my preferred magazine is Demorest, but I have a good selection of Peterson's), antique photos (err... around 5000?), and Butterick Pattern catalogs (because if you are going to know what the average person is wearing- check the pattern available!) I have an eye for detail that easily lets me put together clues in clothing that many might miss.

Course Curriculum

  Starting out
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  Making Your Master Pattern
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  Making Your Muslin
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  Allowing for Closures
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  Choosing Materials
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Frequently Asked Questions

When does the course start and finish?
The course starts now and never ends! It is a completely self-paced online course - you decide when you start and when you finish.
How long do I have access to the course?
How does lifetime access sound? After enrolling, you have unlimited access to this course for as long as you like - across any and all devices you own.
What if I am unhappy with the course?
We would never want you to be unhappy! If you are unsatisfied with your purchase, contact us in the first 30 days and we will give you a full refund.

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