Bustle Day Dress

Create a beautiful dress from the 1870s or 1880s!

  Enroll in Course

LOVE the Bustle Era but don't know where to begin to make a dress?

Confused on how you build a bustle costume?

Need a push to get that new 1880s project finished?

Then you are in the right place!!

My friends, then welcome to this class designed specifically for you! It is only for those truly serious about learning how to sew an 1870s or 1880s day dress. :-)

Through six accessible lessons we'll cover all the bases needed for a complete bustle dress. Each lesson several video tutorials along with a packed accompanying PDF handout!

This is an intermediate level sewing class. You should understand basic sewing techniques including how to set in a sleeve, buttonholes, and basic hand stitches. Advanced processes such as fitting tips and methods will be touched on, but for the most part we'll stick to the patterns.

The priority is to understand how a bustle dress goes together and what goes into making these beautiful gowns.Understand the basics then you'll be able to explore more advanced designs.

This class will focus on the specific topic of making a bustle dress project so we can saturate the knowledge and improve our skills. We'll explore the various parts of a bustle gown including the foundation skirt, overskirt and bodice.

Exciting Lesson Plans Prepared for You:

Lesson 1: Discuss design ideas, fabric selections and taking measurements

Lesson 2: Sewing the foundation/underskirt

Lesson 3: Sewing the overskirt

Lesson 4: Bodice mockup & fitting

Lesson 5: Bodice pattern alterations & construction

Lesson 6: Finishing the bodice

NOTE: We will be making, in order, the foundation skirt, overskirt and bodice in this class. Undergarments, including corset and bustle support, are NOT covered. Please visit the Victorian Undergarments Class or the Victorian Corset Class for those items.

Although an 1870s or 80s bustle dress can be quite complicated, it really starts with basic shapes that are then tortured (ha!) & trimmed into the design you want.

For this project, we'll be using the ever popular Truly Victorian patterns. (Specific patterns will be listed to those who register for the class.) You get to choose which Bustle Era you want to make: Early Bustle 1870s, Natural Form Era, or Late Bustle 1880s. It's your choice!

As with all of our classes, you may choose to use other patterns but be aware that the specific steps of each lesson will cover the class-specific Truly Victorian patterns.

Valuable Skills & Techniques You'll Learn:

  • Fabrics to use in bustle dresses including underlinings
  • When & how to flatline
  • Setting in a skirt placket
  • Pleating the skirts to a waistband
  • Hem finishing techniques
  • Attaching ties to skirts to give them proper bustle pouf
  • Bodice fitting tips
  • Constructing a bodice in the correct order
  • Pattern sizing and adjustments
  • Finishing a bodice with period techniques
  • Trimming the skirts and bodice for a cohesive look

Intermediate Level Class

If you have sewing experience but are new to historical garments, you will feel comfortable here. We'll be following the patterns closely so you should be able to keep up with the class just fine.

If you are new to sewing, this may not be the best class for you at this time. You do need to know how to set in a sleeve. Perhaps starting with a basic chemise and drawers class would be better so you don't become frustrated with techniques that are beyond your current skills.

If you are advanced in your sewing skills, you are welcome! Maybe you simply need the class as accountability for your time so your dress gets done. Use the homework assignments to push you forward. :-)

One final note - this class was initially hosted on my blog, HistoricalSewing.com. Any reference to emails, different lesson pages or logins, and even timing between release of lessons should be disregarded. You have access to the entire class lessons here on this site with progression on your own schedule.

"Jennifer, this was a great experience! I learned a lot about period correct methods that simply can't be found in contemporary sewing instruction. And I learned the methods make the look! Thanks again for your concise lessons!"

~ Donna Knower

"I never would have done it without you, Jen!! Your videos were so helpful, as were the handouts. I love my dress I am so proud of myself for finishing it!"

~ Jeri Bills

Course Curriculum

"Thanks so much for an awesome class... and also for making it continuously INSPIRING. I loved it. I am so pleased with how much I learnt, and I know I will always have these skills now."

~ Karen Lorraine

"Jennifer, thank you so much for running this class. I learned a lot about fitting and really enjoyed the class. I know I will be referring to the lessons again."

~ Cathy Leeson

"Thank you so much! I've learned a lot and am much more confident in my skills now. It's a wonderful class especially for international students."

~ Tanya Itkin


Your Instructor

Jennifer Rosbrugh
Jennifer Rosbrugh

Teacher to hundreds of sewing and costuming students since 2004, Jennifer dreams of the nostalgia of the past and brings it into her modern life through creating costume ensembles from about 1780 to 1920. Dark chocolate, Jane Austen and bustle dress fanatic. Daughter of the King.

Frequently Asked Questions

When does the class start and finish?
The class starts now and never ends! It is a completely self-paced online class - you decide when you start each lesson, complete the sewing, and when you finish the project.
How long do I have access to the class?
How does lifetime access sound? After enrolling, you have unlimited access to this class for as long as you like - across any and all devices you own.
Can I get personal feedback and help with my class project?
Of course! We are here to see you succeed in creating historical fashions you love. We help you every step of the way through conversational comments in each tutorial and through email, if desired. We create a joyful and safe environment for you to ask any question about your project and receive answers and feedback that can be used immediately.
What if I am unhappy with the class?
We would never want you to be unhappy! If you are unsatisfied with your purchase, contact us in the first 30 days and give us the opportunity to address your concerns.
If I change my mind, can I request a refund?
Due to the nature of the materials and intellectual property presented in the class, all sales are final.

Get started now!