Between my computer dying and trying to get sewing projects time, I haven’t been timely with any of my writing lately! This post is horribly delayed. However, I did make it – my August sewing challenge!
Because this is Texas and bigger is always better, I decided I needed a larger bustle support for my plaid 1880s walking dress. I decided this was the perfect project for August – patterns. Nobody’s going to see it, so why not have fun with the fabric?
The challenge: Pattern
Material: 1.5 yards of quilting cotton, a scrap of muslin canvas, straight 1/4″ steel
Pattern: Truly Victorian Lobster Tail Bustle
Year: Accurate for 1883-1889, best suited for 1885-1887
Notions: Hook and eye closures, 3-4 yards twill tape
How historically accurate is it?: I believe the pattern is extrapolated, not specifically derived, from extant examples, so I’d give the pattern/shape/use a 95% accurate. The print is a thoroughly modern design masquerading as an 18th century print, so like 30%. 80% overall?
Hours to Complete: 6-7 hours
First Worn: This will make its debut (such as it is) at our Plaid Day event 1 Oct.
Total Cost: The fabric, $11/yd for 1.5 yards, the pattern, $14, the steels pre-cut, $16, so $46.50
I’ll admit, I tried making my own pattern for a lobster tail bustle a while back. I like the way it turned out overall, but it needs some additional support inside, and seems better suited for the gentle curves of the 1870s. I could have fussed with it forever, but sometimes, buying a pattern is the way to go.
I have more fabric than I know what to do with, but the local quilt shop has an entire line of patriot quasi-colonial prints, and I wanted to do something really gorgeous. I love this fabric! The pattern itself calls for 2.5 yards, which isn’t necessary. I used a piece of thick muslin canvas for the inside, because who needs to waste good fabric there? Even with the ruffle, I only used about 1.5 yards. This is going to make a lovely theme fabric for a small lap quilt!
The pattern went together quickly and easily, which was great. It’s basically just two front stabilizer panels, the two back “tail” panels, boning channels, and the piece that holds the tail in position.
I made the imperial size. My narrow-hem foot came to the rescues, yet again, on finishing all the raw edges. The instructions give no hints on finishing the interior seam, however, so I just serged that. I suppose you could overcast it too.
Really, the only thing I was worried about were the steels. Since the Great Hoop Steel Factory Closure of 2015, it’s stupid-hard to find good steel. I’ve got a coil of nylon-covered 3/4″ stuff in my closet, but it’s kind of weak, and another coil of hoop steel that’s too stiff for bustles. I wasn’t sure about the ones on the Truly Victorian website, as it looks super flimsy, but they are actually quite sturdy.
Overall, I love this pattern. Even better, it comes with two size options, so I can reuse it again if I ever want a smaller bustle in the future!