Thursday, October 17, 2013

Victorian Military-Inspired Bodice

     Some time ago, I decided I needed a Victorian Military-inspired outfit to wear at Dickens Fair. Women's military-inspired clothing is popular throughout fashion history. Often seen in riding habits or outerwear, but also in everyday wear.

     My inspiration was a dress I saw backstage on an elegant lady at Dickens Fair of 2012. It turned out the lady was Cait of Curse Words and Crinolines! (I'm a big fan!) 
     She styled the dress after the 13th Hussars tunics (the Hussars are a British regiment). She explains it all on her blog. Check it out!
     I decided I must have one. I covet the red tunics of the Fusiliers. Partly because I wear red at Dickens and I'm now really into red Victorian dresses, but mostly because lovely, lovely Boyfriend wears that regiment at Fair!

The British are coming! The British are coming!
There he is, left front.
copyright Laurie T.

     My Dickens skirt is already roughly the color of the tunic, so that will represent the bottom part. But not my old bodice nor the new one I just finished will cut it for the top part. So, NEW BODICE! Yay!
     I need find the proper shade of red wool to match Boyfriend's tunic. He has already allowed me extensive observation of the garment and gifted my proper regimental buttons, lace, and collar grenades. (Oh, my goodness, I love that boy!) 
     I have decided to stop the garment at the waist, straight in front and a little point in back. This is a feature seen in mess jackets. Look at this picture of Captain Haselemere dancing with the Queen. 

See that little point in the back? That's what I'm going for.
copyright Christopher M. 

     I will be using a heavily modified Laughing Moon Early 1860's Day Dress bodice pattern as a base. The coat sleeves provided in the pattern are a good shape, but a bit big, so I will narrow them a bit. The button placket will be piped with white piping. A little navy wool collar will be added and matching cuffs. The gold lace will go on the collar and cuffs. The buttons and grenades go on last. Here are some photos I got of the tunic for reference:

     It's an original, so it's very old. We think about the 1880's. The wool on these old tunics can survive pretty well if taken care of, but the thread will just rot over time. The thread must be replaced. Boyfriend has done it on his a few times. 
     Oh! I'm excited! I do hope to finish it for Dickens! 

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