This costume was quite cheap to make- the striped material was from the clearance rack at the fabric store, the jacket was a thrift-store find, and the other fabric and buttons were pulled from my extras bin or purchased on sale or with a coupon (40% off, just sign up for their mailers at JoAnne Fabrics).
It was inspired by the very first outfit we see Gillian Anderson wearing in “The House of Mirth”, stepping out of the mist, sihouetted by the steam hanging in the air of the train station.  It’s not a copy, but I wanted to capture the romance of the lace jabot, the drama of the tailored jacket with its tiny waist, the luxurious touch of velvet and the hint of mystery imparted by the net veil.
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My black and grey striped material was synthetic, I believe a striped polyester, and was very easy to work with. I went back a couple weeks after buying it but was unable to find more.  The velvet jacket was probably from the 70’s, purchased at the thrift store, and had a nice sheen and a notched collar.  I added some darts to really curve it around my (corseted) waist, and I cut the hem in order to give it a more Victorian shape, finishing it with bias tape.  I added some fancy buttons and a couple bands of trim down the front, and that was done!

Gothic Victorian jacket

Gothic Victorian jacket

The lace jabot was purchased from the Victorian Trading Co., but I still needed to make adjustments- even pinned to the jacket at the base, it was too flimsy and tended to bunch up and move around on me. Not good if that is serving as your “blouse” beneath the jacket.  So I created a base from two layers of cotton duck and handstitched the lace over it….. wait, no, I was impatient, I used a fabric glue. Either way. Problem solved!  Honestly, this wouldn’t be difficult to make, if you can find some 2″-3″ lace that you like. All you need is an oval base large enough to cover your desired area, which is attached to a band of lace for the neck (even the store-bought one fastens with velcro at the back), and then stitch on overlapping layers of lace down the base, going from the top down.

The skirt was more involved. Again, I didn’t use a pattern. I had a dressform set to my measurements (corseted), and I draped a full-length A-line skirt. The back half I draped from some random black material I had- I wanted to conserve material and the entire back would be covered in rows of ruffles anyway.

I also made extra deep darts at the back of the skirt to make room for a cage bustle, and then I got to laying out myremaining striped fabric and measuring for a full row of hem ruffle and four evenly spaced rows of ruffles down the back. I cut them, finished the edges & then gathered them.

Now, this is before I purchased my ruffler foot so I gathered them all by making a line of large machine stitche along the top & pulling one thread to gather the material along the other thread. In this case, doing it by hand may have been best anyway, as my yardage was limited and it’s difficult to guage how much length you’ll lose with the automatic gathering of the ruffler foot. Once the rows were done I pinned them in place and sewed them in place (no-one will see the top of any of the rows, as the highest one is hidden under your bodice/jacket).

Gothic Victorian costume

Gothic Victorian costume

Oh, I made a hat too 🙂
There was a dumpy old pilgrim hat that had nothing to lose in a remodel, so I separated the crown from the brim as a first step. I re-cut the crown to be shorter, and added a sassy curve to the bottom. Then I reduced the width of the brim. I replaced the wire edgeing around the crown and brim, recovered them in a semi-matte black satin, and reattached (sewing and gluing) the brim to the crown.  The scraps of striped fabric remaining went into trimming the hat, along with an actual vintage milliner’s pair of raven wings (taxidermied, I’m assuming, though it’s not my forte) and a ridiculously big, sparkly, rhinestone vintage button (also a thrifting find).

For a costume with minimal expense, I’ve had a lot of good times in it already!

Gothic Victorian Hat

Gothic Victorian Hat

 

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