Friday, March 7, 2014

HSF14 Challenge #5 - Bodice

For the bodice challenge, it was pretty much a given that I'd be doing the bodice of this year's faire gown.  I like doing things that are simple in concept, but still stand out in execution.   The base fabric is grey cotton sateen, lined with plain black cotton, and interlined with back duck canvas for support.  The duck layer has some boning for shape as well, and there is a bone next to each row of grommets.  Once again I am using the anachronistic cable ties for boning and metal grommets instead of hand worked eyelets.  But anything else wouldn't survive the punishment I put these garments through.  
One of my first decisions about my bodice was that I wanted side lacings.  I've intended to do them like that for years, and always ended up with a center back lacing.  This year I was determined to make it happen.  I also knew I wanted to sew my trim on before I put the whole thing together, since I tend to forget that it's a pain to do after the fact.  I added black velvet ribbon down the center front and back of the bodice to mimic strapwork.  In order to keep it from shifting while I sewed it on, I glued each piece in place with a little tacky glue.  Then I went back and stitched over them all.  
I debated over whether or not to add wings or tabs to the shoulders, and in the end decided to keep it plain.  I added some smaller grommets to lace the shoulders together as well.  This way, if any strain is put on the shoulders during a fight, the lacing will come apart instead of the seams.  The shoulders were also widened a bit.
The Challenge: Bodice
Fabric: Grey cotton sateen, black cotton, black cotton duck (obligatory quacking noise)
Pattern:  The Eleanor of Toledo gown from Janet Arnold's Patterns of Fashion
Year: Mid- 1500's
Notions: Black boning channels, velvet ribbon, metal grommets, industrial cable ties.
How historically accurate is it? The pattern is historically accurate, but the materials are stretching it a bit.  
Hours to complete: No idea.
First worn: February 15th, at dress rehearsal.
Total cost: $30ish
Hey, I remembered to take more pictures this time!

The orginal pattern, sized up from Patterns of Fashion

My altered version

With the trim stitched on

All the various layers of bodice

Stitched together...

And grommeted

The finished product on me

Finally a bodice without a center back lacing!

And finally, the bodice in action:


  1. Your bodice came out lovely. It's good to see it in action and know it will hang together.

  2. Awesome dress and awesome sword play. :) Well done.

    By the way, I have nominated you for a Liebster Award because I really like your blog. Please view the details, here:

    1. Wow, thanks so much! I just saw this today, sorry for not responding sooner. I'll definitely give that post some attention as soon as I have the chance!

  3. Just love this! it looks great but is entirely functional, that's win-win :)

  4. I LOVE this bodice! I really want to make myself a bodice for fair next year. How did you add the grommets? I can't find any patterns or instructions that actually include that.