Breaking out into the 1880s - Fundy Undies

Hello Lovelies!

Over the past couple of months, I have been bustin' my bustle working on creating a totally new mid 1880s ensemble. As you all know, I've been working/dressing/publishing/obsessing/stuck in the 18th century for about a decade (my sweet lord, where did my 20s go...), which has been great and all, but I have been quite desperate to jump about 100 years into the future for my costuming desires.

I've always loved late Victorian fashion - the bustles, the corsets, all of it. This winter, before we confirmed the writing of Book 2, I took this time as my chance to wrangle the making of an 1880s bustle dress. There was one teeny, tiny, problem though.

I had no underwear. No chemise, no drawers, and definitely no corset!

I did have a bustle though, because I bought one from Jennifer for Historical Sewing when she was doing a stash busting in August of 2016. That's how long I've been waiting for this moment! SO. LONG!

So, being sans corset, chemise, and drawers left me in a bit of a pickle. I had to figure out what I was going to do with this pathetic lack of garments. There were 2.5 options available to me.

1. Make everything myself from the body out. (Brain's reaction: MY GOD KILL ME NOW. PLEASE GOD DON'T MAKE ME THINK ABOUT THIS STUFF. IT'S TOO MUCH.)
2. Buy everything. (Brain's reaction: ....that's expensive...but I don't hate it. Can you even find what you need online?)
3. Wear a tank top under my corset (bought or made) and not tell anyone. (Hush, you all know you all do it too...) (Brain's reaction: ....eehhhhhh that kind of goes against your costuming ethos, dude...but desperate times...)

Well, going off of my gut reactions, I went to Etsy to see if my scheme was even possible. And ya know what? It totally was, and I don't regret it for a minute. I bought a new Victorian chemise and split drawers from 2 sellers on Etsy, and while they're modern construction, they totally work for what I was in need of. Plus (!) - they were incredibly affordable, helped small makers on Etsy, and were made out of natural fabric. The best part? I didn't have to make them myself. Frankly, the cost of the garments vs. the cost of me buying the fabric + my patterning and sewing probably meant that the Etsy garments came out cheaper in the long run.

Don't mind me...just trying to look as normal as possible while getting my photo taken in Victorian undies....
My chemise came from Posh and Circumstance. It's made of 100% cotton muslin, trimmed in lace, has buttons at the shoulder for easier removal, and I was able to pick the ribbon color. It's also has some small customization, as they create the garment according to your bust circumference. The shipping was super quick, and I'm very happy with the garment. Oh! the neckline can also be pulled off the shoulders if I want to do a bodice with a wide or lower neckline. Hooray!

Is there a way to wear drawers and a chemise without looking like a total dork? I think not. 

As for my drawers, I was beyond pleased to find a shop that was making split drawers from an 1885 pattern, which is my favorite time period and the right year for the outfit I was planning on making. The Etsy shop is called gracefulthreads, and again, I am beyond pleased with the process and the garment. The maker used a nice quality cotton voile and the edges are serged. Like the chemise, there is customization in this garment, as I needed to provide her my lower hip measurement. Split drawers amuse the crap out of me, because they're so silly, but these are very comfortable, as they sit low on my hip and do not pinch or get bunched up by my corset. They're also perfect with the chemise to pull off that "I wanna look like a marshmallow" look. The quality of the construction is lovely, and again, I am really pleased with the outcome of my purchases.

You know, it's kind of crazy to think about the fact that 10 years ago, these options didn't really exist for us as costumers. While there were ready made pieces being sold, it always seemed impossible to find a garment that met my particular needs. Now, with Etsy, we're spoiled for choice, and let me tell you, I do not regret my choices at all. I absolutely hate sewing underwear, and I am grateful that I had those months to devote my sewing time to other projects - like the actual damn bustle dress.

So, if you're like me, and having a bit of a struggle as to what to do...don't stress and head on over to Etsy and you can find yourself some good historic costuming pieces that wont destroy your bank account.

Next time, I'll tell you about my beautiful and beloved Margaret corset from Redthreaded....

<3 <3


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