I run the haunted house at my daughter's elementary school and have been wanting to make a "Haunted Mansion" type costume for a few years. This year I finally had some time to do it. It was made from a commerical pattern.
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Step 1: Materials
the patterns that I used were from a company called Truly Victorian. The bodice is pattern TV 460 and the skirt is TV261. I made them just as the instructions called for.
Truly Victorian bodice TV460
Truly Victorian skirt TV261
Material for bodice- fake raw silk
Material for bodice lining- lining acetate material
3" lace for bow at collar
Material for skirt- medium weight woven cotton material
Stiff netting for skirt pouf
ribbon or cord for skirt pouf
cheap felt top hat
fine netting for hat veil
Sewing machine and general sewing notions
Step 2: Bodice - General Instructions
The general Victorian silhouette is somewhat flattened in front, with a bustle in back. So, if you don't have a corset, and you are busty, you should get a sports bra that REALLY smashes you! The one that I use is an ENELL. It ain't pretty, but it flattens you out in front pretty good. If you are not big on top, you can get away with a regular bra and still have a fairly accurate silhouette.
When you take your measurements for the bodice, be sure to wear the undergarment (corset, bra or whatever) that you will be wearing with the costume.
This pattern doesn't use conventional sizing and there are a lot of curving seams. So be sure to make what is called a "muslin"- that just means a test bodice out of some cheap material ($1.99/yard muslin works great). Stitch it together with a long or basting stitch. Don't make the lining, just make the outer layer and try it on.
Make any adjustments to this test bodice. The pattern explains some of the more common fixes that you might need to do. If it fits without any adjustments, you can cut out your material with the paper pattern. If you end up making adjustments, use your muslin (the pieces of the test bodice) to cut out your material.
Be sure to line the bodice because the boning goes in the lining seams. If you are curvy, boning really helps to keep the seams straight. I use Rigilene boning because you can sew right through it.
I used about 2 yards of 3" lace to make a bow for the collar.
Step 3: Skirt- General Instructions
I made the skirt just as the pattern was written. Since this was my only skirt (next year I will use pattern TV290 to make a huge overskirt), I used heavy netting in back and used ribbon to pull up the skirt on the inside to create the bustle-like pouffing. If this is your only skirt, definitely make the ruffle, it gives the skirt more body and the bottom moves better since it is heavier.
Step 4: Hat- General Instructions
I just used a cheap felt hat and wrapped fine netting around it. Flipped the front of the netting over for a veil.
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