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1885 Empress of Walmart Victorian Bustle Gown

I’ve dreamed of making a bustle era dress for some time but didn’t want to spend a ton on period silk. Instead I opted for 100% cotton fabric from Walmart. This worked out great because this fabric is reorderable and available by the bolt.  Then I decided to challenge myself further to create a period dress solely from Walmart items, thus the Empress of Walmart dress was born!

Fabric, buttons, jewelry, shoes and gloves- all from Walmart.

I started with the undergarments: a lobster tail bustle and petticoat. I used pattern TV 163 for the lobster tail bustle (and luckily had steel hoop boning left over from another project). I used TV170 for the petticoat. The fabrics were all from Walmart. I loved sewing Truely Victorian patterns. They always turn out fantastic!

I used TV 261 – 1885 four gored skirt – for the underskirt. I loved her clear instructions on the lifts. The right side of this picture shoes the “inside” view. I also used several layers of tulle to help with the fluff. Word of caution- this skirt was much shorter than I anticipated. I wish I would have added an extra inch or two to the pattern but since i’ll be dancing in it, I don’t mind the shorter length. I’m less likely to trip.

I used TV 460 and spiral boning left from another project for the ballgown bodice.

The patterns fit together perfectly! Look how nice the bodice lays over the bustle!

Baby got back! I was going for the “shelf” look in back and I think I got it!

The overskirt is TV 362 Wash Over Skit and was a very simple pattern that looks more complicated than it is.

I also have TV 551 French bonnet in the works. Here is my progress from cardboard to final hat. I still need to trim and add ribbons.

I changed up the dress by adding the TV381 Pannier Add-on Skirt. My only pattern change was using heavy interfacing to hold the pleats better.

Showing off the lobster tails! How vulgar! Oh my!

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