1880s Bustle Ensemble - Bodice Mockup

For my 1880s bustle ensemble, I started with the most complex and time-consuming garment: the bodice. This was also the garment I was most excited about creating as I was eager to try some period-correct techniques!

I used Laughing Moon 103 for the bodice. This is an excellently drafted pattern and has the perfect seamlines for 1880s-1900s bodices. Every extant 1880s bodice I saw had a darted front and five back seams, just like LM 103. I traced out the View C/F bodice with View D sleeves in size 10.

  • I wanted an inverted box pleat at the center back that would expand over the bustle. I added a trapezoid shape onto the bottom center back of my pattern tracings.
  • I increased the length of each bodice piece along the hem. 
  • I added extra flare at the bottom of the side seams.
  • I traced out a square neckline.
  • Shortened the sleeves to elbow length with turned up cuffs.

Trying on the mockup revealed that I needed to remove about half an inch from the underarm to center front (I have a short torso). I also removed about an inch from each center front panel. 

And yes, that is one 18th century pocket hoop being used as a bustle 🤣

The final bodice pattern pieces:

Stay tuned to see how I sewed up the bodice - including dealing with a too-low-cut bodice!

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