A few weeks ago, Calliopunk over at Gone Catawampus asked if I could help her friend with a bustle skirt for steampunk Alice in Wonderland. The pattern she had in mind was Simplicity 1819, which was a happy coincidence for me, since I’m thinking about using this pattern for NoFlutter’s Sailor Jupiter.
Pattern: Simplicity 1819
Total Hours: 10ish
Fabric: 5 yds. of 60″ poly satin in blue and app. 4 yds. of 60″ black haubute for lining
Alterations: Made the bustle and skirt separate pieces.
Notions: Thread, 9″ zipper, twill tape, ribbon, velcro.
Did it look like the pattern illustration?: Pretty much, though I think I should have gathered the bustle more.
Make it again?: Probably. I’m still leaning toward the bustle piece this pattern with a few alterations if I make NoFlutter Jupiter.
Other Notes: Okay, so there were a couple of tricky spots on this project which prompted this post. Starting from the beginning of the pattern instructions. Yes, you do have to hem the apron front piece prior to attaching it to anything. The instructions call for a slipstitch, but I’m a lazy mofo and would recommend a blind hem on your machine instead. I’m still not great at this, but it’s much faster than doing it by hand. Plus, with the way the apron drapes, you’re not really going to see the hem anyway.
Next up: the side cascades. I ignored the fold lines here. I initially tried to follow them, but it just didn’t work for me. I was able to eyeball them pretty well without the lines. Also, you might consider hand tacking the edges of the drapes if you want them to retain their shape. Mine wanted to flop around a bit, but the bustle covered the wost of it.
One of the biggest issues I had with this project was the overall thickness. There are a TON of layers, and my machine HATED sewing through all the pleats on the apron. I ultimately wound up using a leather needle, but I still had to hand crank through those damn pleats.
A note about the zipper: It’s covered by the bustle, so I have no clue why they insist on a lapped zipper. You could easily do this with an invisible zipper or even with velcro or snaps.
I had zero desire to repeat the pleat fiasco, so when it came time to attach the bustle, I created a separate piece. I created another waistband piece just for the bustle and added velcro to the back so the two pieces would still line up.
Speaking of the bustle, the instructions are terrible when it comes to draping the skirt. The basic idea is to draw the bustle casing up to the loops with ribbon, much like Roman blinds. The instructions say to leave the ends of the casing free, but to stitch the rest of it down. Dafuq? How is that supposed to work, Simplicity? I ignored that instruction and stitched the edges of the twill tape, but left free gaps to thread my ribbon through.
Final verdict: I would definitely label this pattern intermediate. There’s a lot of tricky bits in it, so I’d hesitate to take it on without at least a few projects under your belt. Still, if you can power through it, the result is gorgeous! I can’t wait to see this client in her full costume.
Have you tried making this pattern? What were your thoughts?