Tuesday, May 15, 2012

1890's cycling costume

This past weekend was Frontier Forts Days at the Ft. Worth Stockyards, so a group from the DFWCG took a train ride on the vintage railroad and then attended the event at the Stockyards in our best Victorian duds.  It was a truly delightful outing, and you can read more about our day on our guild blog.


I finally finished my cycling outfit that I've been angsting over since January.  Jeesh!  It really doesn't look that hard, does it?  But the silly thing gave me fits to make - it was one of those projects where nothing goes right.  But with that being said, I LOVE the way it turned out, and I had more fun wearing this outfit than anything that I've made in a long time.  I felt so liberated and progressive in my short skirt and dapper hat and tie - I can totally see why women of the 1890's were so crazy about cycling.

So here are a few of the nitty-gritty details about my outfit if you are curious:

DSC09710 DSC09707 DSC09712

I based the design of my skirt on numerous photos on female cyclists in ankle-lenght skirts with button placket, like the one shown on the right (and check out my Pinterest board for many more).  I used the 1894 skirt pattern from page 99 of Authentic Victorian Fashion Patterns, and the only change I made to it was shortening the hem a little and pleating the back instead of gathering it.  The skirt is made of soft wool with a felted finish - somewhat like melton but much lighter.  I stiffened the hem with a wide facing of duck, and that did wonders for getting it to flare out in a 90's-style bell shape.  I used vintage shell buttons for the placket, and I had to hand sew all the buttonholes because my sewing machine rebelled and refused to sew though this much thick wool (and in the process, I decided that b*ttonh*les deserves to be a curseword!)
I based the design of my skirt on numerous photos on female cyclists in ankle-lenght skirts with button placket, like the one shown on the right (and check out my


My blouse was a hodge-podge of of patterns from Authentic Victorian Fashion Patterns and 59 Authentic Turn-of-the-Century Fashion Patterns, which are both by Kristina Harris.  The body of the blouse came from the fashion plate on page 99, but I used the wrinkled mutton leg sleeve pattern from another fashion plate and removed the gathering at the back of the neck.  It has a fitted lining in the body and sleeves, and all the gathered bits are tacked to the lining to keep it neat and tidy.  It was a real challenge to get this pattern to fit correctly, and I had to change the shape of the shoulder and neck seams quite a bit to get it to fit my freakishly square shoulders.  I also decided to remove some of the extra fabric from the body so it wouldn't be overly puffy.   The fabric is silk noil woven in a tiny navy and white houndstooth pattern, and it was probably a bit thicker than this pattern was intended for.  

The outfit was finished off with a vintage straw boater hat, and some 1990's lace-up granny boots.  I had meant to make spats, but I ran out of time and they didn't get done - but maybe I'll try again the next time I wear this outfit.  I actually wanted to wear a bow tie instead of a long tie, but there was some unfortunate gaping between my hooks in front, so thankfully, the long tie hid the ugly spots.  

I love taking silly pictures while dressed up in my costumes, and this outfit seemed to inspire even more silliness than usual.  Here are some of my favorites from the event.

 Making myself comfy on the train.  Tisk, tisk - so un-ladylike!

Posing with the back of the train at the stockyards station.

DSCN0491 DSC09607 
My friend Christy and I had way too much fun playing with the period guns.  

Time to move on to the BIG guns next!

Christy and I are quite the rabble-rousers!

I couldn't find a bicycle to ride, so this poor horse had to make do.

All this goofing around makes a gal hungry!

And last, but not least... I was DYING to take a picture with a bicycle, but I never could find one, so I decided to just photoshop myself into an old photo.  Eh... it's better than nothing.  :)

The rest of my photos can be found on my flickr album, and special thanks to Cynthia and Christopher for letting me use some of their photos as well.


Jo said...

Great outfit! I love the photoshopped bicycle picture too!

Cathy Raymond said...

Beautiful outfit! And you look great in it!

Gina said...

Oh my goodness how adorable do you look? This is a seriously sweet outfit!

Caroline said...

I love the outfit! The blouse is especially pretty! Nice job :)

saraquill said...

Your delight is quite evident in the pictures.

Tisha Dolton said...

Love this!

Post a Comment