Thursday, October 4, 2012

Victorian Picnic 2012

After weeks and weeks of work and frantic sewing, it all came to an end on Saturday as I attended the Australian Costumers Guild Victorian Picnic. I ran one last year and it was such a success that everyone wanted it to be run again. This time though, it was set in the Mount Coo-tha Botanic Gardens. We had a decent turn-out again, and everyone seemed to have a wonderful time, despite the humidity and heat that had set in for the day. I certainly did. And the costumes were great. My mum wore her purple skirt and Garibaldi blouse with her crinoline underneath, my dad wore his grey frock coat suit, and I wore my brand new tartan bustle.

What I love most about this outfit is the fabric. It is a linen. The first time I saw it, I fell in love, but it was a bit too expensive given the amounts that I would need for a full bustle. The next time I went back, it was on the $1.99 rack. So I bought a heap. Enough to set me up for what I wanted to do. Then I had to decide on a design. I knew that I wanted an early bustle outfit, but decided to go towards the end of the 1870s and keep the front flat - a style that led into natural form.

I went with three layers. The first is my underskirt - made of the tartan linen with a very long train in back, it features red linen/cotton blend pleats sewn on with a red velvet ribbon. It was painstaking to do all the pleats, but well worth it - I set them all with vinegar and water, so I am hoping when it comes time to wash, it will be fine. the next layer is the overskirt. It is also made long in the back and hangs over the train of the skirt, while the front piece is cut on the bias to help show the fabric. This is trimmed in red tassel fringing and the same red velvet ribbon. Then there is the bodice. Square neckline, elbow length sleeves and back pleats over the bustle. It also feature the introduction of a red and black shot silk in the centre back panel and the under-sleeve. The hem of the bodice is also trimmed in the fringing, while the neckline is bound in bias made from my silk and a delicate cream cotton lace. It buttons up down the front with metal buttons, and has two silk covered buttons at the top of the pleats on the back. The sleeves are trimmed in pleated silk with more cotton lace and red velvet ribbon to finish. And finally, there is the hat. I made it from a Lynne McMasters pattern, but ignored a lot of the instructions. I will NEVER use glue on a hat or bonnet again! At any rate, it is very cute and I really like the way that it sits up on my head. It is trimmed with pleated cream lace, silk ribbons, velvet flower and feathers. All in all, I am very pleased with how it turned out and am really looking forward to wearing it again. Best of all though, I still have a good amount of all my fabrics left over, so am looking at making a few mix-and-match pieces that I can wear with it all. Just like I have done with my gold bustle. At least that way, every time I wear it, I looks different.

Oh and of course, as you do, you get a bit of photo bombing. :P

And below, are a few of my very many shots of the day and the other amazing costumes on show...


  1. Oh WOW! What a glorious event and so many glorious gowns! The red dress is *splendid* !!!

  2. ooooh & Aaaaaaah, totally delicious. I'm tinged with green that you found such a great linen in the first place (and then on sale)!

    Gorgeous :)

  3. You looked stunning. Really stunning!

    The day was a success despite the unexpected heat and I really do have to thank you again for helping me attend.

    LOVE the photo-bombing shots.