Women's Clothing & Accessories

Women's clothing during the Victorian Era consisted of many layers. First was the Chemise and Drawers, then the corset, the corset cover or camisole, the petticoat, the bustle, the underskirt, the overskirt, the shirtwaist or bodice, a jacket or capelet, and, of course, the accessories. A Victorian woman was not fully dressed without her gloves and a hat. When venturing outdoors, she carried a parasol to protect her skin from the sun or to use as a walking stick. Frequently, she would also carry a fan, which was useful in several ways(see below). Finally a reticule or small handbag completed her outfit. The link below leads to a website that does a good job of explaining the art of...

Dressing the Late 19th Century Woman



Chemises and Drawers



Images of Victorian Chemises and Drawers

Chemise, drawers, corset and hoops 1860's - 1870's (Scroll down)

Combinations, corset, bustle and petticoat 1877

Chemise, drawers and corset

Chemise and drawers

Chemise and drawers

An Overview of Underwear Information and several images.



Places to Buy Patterns for Chemises and Drawers

Laughing Moon Mercantile offers a pattern that includes two different corsets, a chemise, and a pair of drawers.

Truly Victorian sells patterns based on historical garments, drawings and descriptions, that have been drafted to fit the modern form.

Ageless Patterns sells reproductions of vintage patterns. Vintage patterns did not come with much in the way of instructions and are not recommended for the inexperienced.



Places to Buy Chemises and Drawers

Vintage Elegance sells a wide variety of chemises and drawers. However, their Corsets are not appropriate for the period.

Recollections sells vintage looking chemises and drawers.

River Junction Trade Company is aimed mainly at Civil War Re-enactors but their undergarments are also suitable for Victorian re-enactment.





Corsets and Corset Covers

A good corset is essential in order to obtain the proper shape to wear Victorian Clothing. Buy or sew your corset first and then wear it while being fitted for your gown.



Images of Victorian Corsets and Corset Covers

Corset 1865 - 1875

Corset 1870

Corset Covers 1860's - 1870's (Scroll down)

Corset 1880's

Corset 1881 - 1885

Corsets from Lord & Taylor's Magazine 1881

Corset 1883



Places to buy patterns for making Victorian Corsets and Corset Covers

Corsets are very hard to sew. Unless you are an experienced stitcher, I would recommend buying a corset.

Laughing Moon Mercantile offers a pattern that includes two different corsets, a chemise, and a pair of drawers. This one sounds like it would be suitable for less experienced stitchers.

Truly Victorian sells patterns based on historical garments, drawings and descriptions, that have been drafted to fit the modern form.

Ageless Patterns sells reproductions of vintage patterns. Vintage patterns did not come with much in the way of instructions and are not recommended for the inexperienced.

Farthingale's offers not only patterns for making corsets, but also fabric and corsetry supplies, online instruction for building a corset, and instructional videos for sale.

Harper House has a variety of patterns from different companies. They cost a little more than buying directly from the company, but they do have patterns that I can't find anywhere else.

You can also find corset patterns by Butterick, McCall's and Simplicity in your local fabric store, however the quality and authenticity of these patterns vary greatly. One patterns that appears accurate is Simplicity 9769 which also includes patterns for a chemise and a pair of drawers.



Places to buy Victorian Corsets and Corset Covers

Stores like Victoria's Secret, Frederick's of Hollywood, The Bazaar and Forbidden Fruit will sometimes have corsets in the Victorian style. Look at the images of Victorian Corsets and the patterns, and then go to the store and look for something similar. Don't count on the sales clerk to know what a "Victorian" Corset is.

If you don't want to pay the prices at these stores. You can sometimes find them on sale at auction sites like E-Bay.

Lingeriesite.com sells a variety of corsets, including Plus sizes, at reasonable prices. I recommend the "Womens Jacquard Tapestry Strapless Corset", the "Women's Princess Brocade Corset" or the "Women's Slimming Satin & Stretch Spandex Corset".

Love Fifi also sells a variety of corsets at reasonable prices. I recommend the "Creme de la Creme" or the "Satin Doll".

River Junction Trade Company is aimed mainly at Civil War Re-enactors but their corset($59.95) and bustle($19.95) are also suitable for Victorian re-enactment. Their prices are more reasonable than most other places.

Fashions In Time will create a custom corset made to your measurements and in your choice of color for $175, and will add a top layer of brocade for $25 more.

Lace Embrace sells high quality custom corsets.

Recollections sells camisoles that would work as corset covers.





Petticoats and Bustles

In order to obtain the proper silhouette for most Victorian Gowns, one needs a bustle. Some bustles were made with hoops or wire, but others were made with layers of ruffles or small "pillows". These "soft" bustles will be easier to make and more comfortable to wear.



Images of Victorian Petticoats and Bustles

Crinoline 1865 - 1869 (wire hoops)

Petticoats 1860's - 1870's

Soft Bustle 1870's

Tournure 1869 - 1870's (soft bustle)

Bustle 1870 (wire hoops)

Crinolette 1871 (wire hoops)

Bustle 1886 (soft bustle)

Soft Bustle



Places to Buy Patterns for Making Victorian Petticoats and Bustles

Ageless Patterns sells reproductions of vintage patterns. Vintage patterns did not come with much in the way of instructions and are not recommended for the inexperienced.

Truly Victorian sells patterns based on historical garments, drawings and descriptions, that have been drafted to fit the modern form.

Farthingale's offers several patterns for making bustles with steel boning and one pattern that is stuffed with batting(like a pillow). It also gives detailed instruction for sewing bustles.

Harper House has a variety of patterns from different companies. They cost a little more than buying directly from the company, but they do have patterns that I can't find anywhere else.



Places to Buy Victorian Petticoats and Bustles

River Junction Trade Company is aimed mainly at Civil War Re-enactors but their corset($59.95) and bustle($19.95) are also suitable for Victorian re-enactment. Their prices are more reasonable than most other places.

Fashions In Time sells a "pillow" style bustle for $25.

Vintage Elegance sells petticoats and bustles. Their Corsets are not appropriate for the period.

Recollections sells petticoats and bustles from several eras. Be familiar with Victorian style before you go to their site.





Outfits



Images of Victorian Outfits

Vintage Textile sells very expensive antique clothing and accessories, but just looking at the pictures is a treat. Click on images to get more views of the same outfit.

Vintage Textile Gallery Images of items that have already been sold.

Dresses 1868 - 1872

Godey's Lady's Book September 1868

Evening Dress 1869 - 1871

Dresses 1869

Dresses 1870's

Ball Gowns 1873

Ball Gowns 1875

Woman and Child 1873

Dresses 1870 - 1876

Promenade Dress 1872

Evening Dress w/Fan 1870

Ball Gown 1872

Dresses 1860 - 1878

Dress 1879 - 1881

Fashion in Contemporary Art 1863 - 1877

Fashion in Fashion Plates 1866 - 1875

Victorian Photos of Ladies year by year

Demode has an extensive list of images of extant clothing from 1750 - 1919. Scroll down to the 1860's through the 1880's for this party.



Places to Buy Patterns for Victorian Outfits

Ageless Patterns sells reproductions of vintage patterns. Vintage patterns did not come with much in the way of instructions and are not recommended for the inexperienced.

Truly Victorian sells patterns based on historical garments, drawings and descriptions, that have been drafted to fit the modern form.

Wingeo offers several patterns for women's clothing.

Harper House has a variety of patterns from different companies. They cost a little more than buying directly from the company, but they do have patterns that I can't find anywhere else.

Five Rivers Chapmanry offers patterns from a large variety of historical pattern companies. The patterns can be bought more cheaply directly from the pattern company, but they do have some patterns that no one else carries. Check for the right time period.

La Mode Bagatelle offers a unique pattern for the Artistic Reform Teagowns worn by those rebelling against the tight cosets and uncomfortable bustles of Victorian fashion. The women who wore these gowns were considered very immoral and polite society shunned them. For more information see The Aesthetic Dress Movement.



Places to Buy Victorian Outfits

Vintage Textile sells very expensive antique clothing and accessories, but just looking at the pictures is a treat.

River Junction Trade Company is aimed mainly at Civil War Re-enactors but several of its products are also suitable for Victorian re-enactment. Their prices are more reasonable than most other places.

Ninya Mikhaila Historical Costumer makes and sells complete Victorian outfits as well as individual pieces.

Recollections sells Victorian clothing among other styles. Be familiar with Victorian style before you go to their site, and beware of their "metallic" fabric choices.

Shooting Star Enterprises makes and sells custom Victorian dresses. They are mainly American Victorian fashions, but they are pretty much the same as English Victorian.





Hats, Gloves, Shawls, Parasols and Other Accessories

One of the most useful accessories that a Victorian lady could carry was her fan. She could express many things by the way she held and moved her fan, from simply signaling a "yes" or "no", to arranging a time for an assignation. The link below will take you to a detailed explanation of...

The Language of the Fan



Images

Forgotten Fashion: The Head Special (Hats)

The Ladies: Parade of Hats 1872

19th Century Fans

Victorian Bonnets

Black Lace Shawl 1870's

Embroidered Shawl

Victorian Paisley Shawl

Parasols 1870 & 1858

Vintage Textile sells very expensive antique clothing and accessories, but just looking at the pictures is a treat.

Vintage Textile Gallery Images of items that have already been sold.



Places to Buy Patterns for Victorian Ladies' Accessories

Detachable Collars Free downloadable patterns.

Ageless Patterns sells reproductions of vintage patterns for bonnets and hats. Vintage patterns did not come with much in the way of instructions and are not recommended for the inexperienced.

Wingeo offers a number of hat patterns, some of which are suitable for Victorian re-enactment. They also have patterns for belts and purses.

Five Rivers Chapmanry offers patterns from a large variety of historical pattern companies. The patterns can be bought more cheaply directly from the pattern company, but they do have some patterns that no one else carries. Check for the right time period.



Places to Buy Victorian Ladies' Accessories

Lands Far Away Importers sells very nice fans (some Victorian) and shawls.

Maggie May's Millinery Reasonably priced hats.

Maggie May's Jewelry Reasonably priced jewelry.

Miller's Millinery High quality, historically accurate headwear.

River Junction Trade Company is aimed mainly at Civil War Re-enactors but several of its products are also suitable for Victorian re-enactment, particularly their parasols, shawls, gloves and shoes. They also have very reasonably priced feathers.

USHist/AzRAHist is aimed mainly at Civil War Re-enactors but several of its products are also suitable for Victorian re-enactment.

Lorian's sells custom made Victorian shoes.

Greatlookz sells Victorian hats, shawls and a few other accessories.

Greatlookz Gloves Lots of gloves.





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