Here's the corset and bustle. When I took the picture, I'd been wearing it (and sitting on it) all day and it had collapsed quite a bit. It was much poofier in the back when I left in the morning! I know you're going to ask the question: how to you sit in a regular chair with this thing? Well, you just sit and it kind of collapses behind you, you don't even feel it! I'm sure not all Victorian bustles were this way, but the one made with Truly Victorian pattern is and it's such a blessing to be able to sit in a regular chair - after all I wore it to work...
Here's the inside of the bustle. The bones are held by ropes inside so you can adjust the poofiness of the skirt at will, and store it flat, two big advantages in the modern world. I also suspect that the fact I can sit in this thing so comfortably is also due to the inside strings allowing the bones to move independently.
Next layer is the skirt. It's heavily pleated (and longer) in the back, which allowed me to hide my small mistakes (I placed the pattern the wrong way on the fabric and had to make a center seam in the back to fix it). My bustle collapsed slightly during the day so the skirt dragged on the ground in the back.
Next the overskirt goes on. There's not much to say about this layer. It looks much more complex than it actually is and it's easy enough to build.
And finally, the bodice. I think I actually made it a little too big, especially at the top, when I enlarged it (it was originally a little to small), so there wasn't enough tension on the hooks and they tended to pop off. But, as I said before, too big is infinitely better than too small. I put 25 pairs of hooks and eyes on the front of the bodice. This the only part I hated doing. I brought them to work so I could do 3 or 4 every lunch hour, because it's so long and boring to sew.
I styled my hair using tips from Rapunzel's Resource. This girl is amazing. I've had long hair my whole life and doing anything more than a ponytail seemed impossible, but she makes everything look so very simple! I still went for a simple bun instead of something more elaborate because I was really short on time in the morning.
I've had the necklace for a very long time. It's not the right style for the period, but I thought it looked really good with the dress. The bracelet, gloves and earrings I bought at Ardène, as I did the black flower in my hair. I had to fix the earrings to convert them to clips because my ears aren't pierced. The mask is a cheap cardboard mask I bought at Value Village (but they had almost the same ones at the dollar store this year).
I think it worked well. It's the first time total strangers (women, all of them) talk to me in the metro and near the office to tell me now nice they think my costume is. This one was particularly liked by little girls when I was opening the door to give candy (by then I'd removed my mask though, I was afraid it would get deformed by body heat - I'll need to line it with something better than cardboard if I want to wear it for a longer time).
And, finally, here's the decorations we managed to get together after I ran out of time for the giant tree. Sometimes it pays to have a lighting technician as a boyfriend :-)
So, we cut out a small tree out of cardboard (actually, Richard did). And he wants me to insist: doing it this way WAS HIS IDEA! :-)
I like taking pictures of him working :-)
Here's the setup (with an old, real, theater spotlight, and a small Ikea one; the big one being 10 times stronger than the other one, that's the one we put the pale purple colour on).
And here's what it looked like from outside. Not exactly what I was going for, but pretty nonetheless, I think :-)