Victorian Project: Pouched Panel and Experimentation

This term for the Victorian Bodice I did a lot of experimentation. From working out the best type of materials to looking at shape, and finishing.

The largest amount of experimentation came when trying to figure out the shape and size of the pouched panel at the front of the Victorian bodice.

I knew that I wanted to use a light weight fabric, however I had no idea of how to achieve the desired shape. Instead it was decided that I would try out the pattern seen in book that I was working from. I found a scrap of fabric of a light weight fabric to use as well, to help see exactly how the final panel might look.

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I liked the pleated look as well as the pouch to the front panel. However I felt that the “pouch” was almost too big.

However this could simply be played around with a bit to make it smaller. Over all I was very happy with the look of the pattern.

The fabric that I used to create the final look was a lot less bouncy that the fabric that I experimented with and so the over all look was better. I also played around more with the pattern of the panel, making it achieve a style that I was overall happier with.

I had also used experimentation a lot earlier in the making process when decided on the pleating for the sleeve head.

From these samples we decided that pleats that age  the cleanest look and the most historically accurate shape was the knife pleats.

The next step was to decide on the spacing of the knife pleats and to help with that decision I did three samples.


I spaced the pleats at 3 cm, 1.5 cm and 0.5 cm.

The 3 cm pleats would not have given enough shape and volume to the sleeve.

The 0.5 cm pleats looked bad, and would have controlled the shape and sizing of the sleeve head too much, rather than giving a gentle rolled look.

I therefore settled on  the 1.5 cm pleats as it this size gave the pleats a neat look, enough room to move, but also help shape very well also.


Here we can see the knife pleats translated on to the costume and how they effect the over all look.

I did a bit of sampling and experimentation when decided what type of interfacing to use. I used interfacing on the costume facing where the buttons hole would sit, as well as using interfacing on the collar of the costume.


The first type of interfacing was too stiff, and so didn’t allow for movement or flexibility. Also the glue dots that melt under heat showed through the fabric and so didn’t help to give a clean smooth over all finish.

The second type of interfacing was loosely woven and so was a lot softer, but still study enough to give strength to the fabric. The glue that adhered the fabric to the top fabric also did not show through the top layer of fabric as so that was the interfacing that I used for the collar and interfacing on my costume.

The next step was to experiment with the shape and size of bias binding. All of the bias binding that I used on my costume was made from the top fabric, and so was all hand made. I used bias binding to finish off seams like the arm hole seams as well as the cuff ends.

Most importantly I used shown binding on the bottom of my costume. My first challenge was to decide of the width of the shown binding.


I cut and made the bias binding from my top fabric, which was difficult anyway because fabric cut on the bias will stretch and warp out of shape.

However I experimented by making binding in different widths. 2 cm, 1.5 cm, 1cm and 0.5. cm.

The 2 cm binding was very thick and I thought it would be too big to handle and would throw off the over all elegant look to my Victorian bodice.

The 0.5 cm binding was way too small, too fiddly and rather than looking delicate just looked odd.

It was a difficult decision between the 1 cm and 1.5 cm binding, but in the end I decided that the 1 cm binding won out, as it was the easiest to make and would be the easiest size to handle.

With the decision on the bias binding complete the next challenge was to attempt to work out how to make bias binding work around a corner.


This is the sample that I managed to complete with the help from my tutor.

When experimenting i wanted to do it over a right angle corner to get an idea of how to complete the steps before moving on to the more complex corners seen on my garment.

The first sample I attempted made the fabric curl up at the corner, a look that I did not want to have. So instead what you have to do it fold the fabric around the corner, giving excess fabric, before you carry on.

Then  at the end having sewn up either side of the corner you come around and sew in the diagonal line to keep the binding shape in place over the corner.



This is how it looked on the final garment, the tricky corners flat and covered in bias binding.

The final piece of experimentation I did for my Victorian bodice was making some piping. However  I did not use piping in the end, it was great practice to learn how to make piping.


I used the hand made bias binding from before and then folded it in half. The i folded the corning inside the double thick fabric. stitching it in to place.

Then placing the binding along the seam allowance and stitching the seam together like any other seam.

If I had used the piping on my Victorian bodice I would have placed it along the back seams to help emphasis the illusion of a tiny waist.

The best piping that I would have theoretically used on my Victorian bodice would have been the thinner piping. It was more delicate and a lot easier to work with.

With lots of the experimentation out of the way In was ready to get in some of the final stages of my garment.



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