Keeping the balls rolling (1870s inspiration)

Now I've recovered slightly from my month of nonstop dancing, it's time to start preparations for the Bath Victorian Ball coming up in May. Some time soon I'll post about the underthings I've already made, but for now I want to share my inspiration for the dress, because I'm super excited about it!

The theme for this year's ball is early bustle period, c. 1868-75. I'm really pleased to have the chance to make an ensemble for this era, as I have long admired its excessive floofyness, and not had an opportunity to wear it. I was looking at fashion plates and extant garments from the early 1870s, and started to notice a pattern.

Le Moniteur de la Mode, 1872

Dress, 1873, Wadsworth Athenaeum.

La Mode Illustrée, 1873
Dress, 1872-74, The Met.

Journal du Grand Monde, 1876

That's right, I'm going to make a Hufflepuff ballgown to show off my Hogwarts house pride! Or, given that it's the 1870s, HufflePOOF might be more appropriate!

The dress in the first image is very similar in shape to the 1870-71 one in Patterns of Fashion II, so I'll be using that as the basis for my design, with the evening bodice option. If I have time it would be nice to have a day bodice too, but we shall see! I have silk which I bought online, and it turned out to be more beige than I wanted, so my lovely long-suffering parents let me attempt dyeing it in the washing machine while I was home for Christmas. Here it is drying, much more acceptably yellow (it's actually even brighter than it looks here). I was advised that RIT yellow dye is extremely potent (thanks, Quinn!), so I only used one packet for about 10 metres of fabric, and I'm glad I didn't use any more.

Stay tuned for increasingly frantic updates over the next six weeks, and in the mean time, enjoy the pintrest board I made of every hufflepuff-coloured historical garment I could find (if you want- I don't want to badger anyone into it. Haha.)


  1. HUFFLEPOOF!!!! I'm glad to know your Christmas dying adventure turned out well. I'm excited to see this :D

  2. Hufflepoof! The only appropriate descriptor for this dress. Yes, really pleased with the dye job. Now I just have to get sewing!

  3. Love that it is going to be a HufflePoof! I'm glad your dyeing experiment was a success and that our conversation helped get good results. :) I look forward to seeing the poof emerge!


    1. Yes, your advice was very helpful! I would have used way too much dye otherwise. I'm excited to see it take shape too!

  4. I'm really enjoying reading your blog so far! This looks like a very exciting project. I'm also going to the ball in Bath, so looking forward to seeing it in person there when it's finished! I'll be wearing a very pale yellow dress with black lace by the way, so our colour schemes will match ;)

    1. Thank you so much! Your blog looks like one I should be following too. :) I'm excited to meet you in our coordinating dresses in May!


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