Leoriental Victorian

I might have mentioned before, once or twice in passing, that I am a big fan of repurposing sheets, curtains and tablecloths(runners) for costume, clothes and practice. Its not only green, its also a good way to practice feeling material and understanding patterns. Anyway, I found the Leonine fabric (A fitted and loose sheet) at goodwill and was so (unreasonably) attracted to it, that I bought it straight up and took it home. At first I imagined I would use it for something I could wear day to day, either a nightgown, house gown, robe or day dress. I was thinking something to wear at home obviously, because the pattern of the fabric gives me pleasure but I really don’t like being pointed and laughed at in public.

Well, during the last couple nights I’ve been oddly anxious. I call it an ‘itch’ in my brain where I feel energized and nervous, anxious to get something done. So I stayed up the last, oh, three nights, cutting out patterns, measuring and thinking. In this time, I have sewn my red Lucy skirt, cut out the skirt piece to my (Original) Leo Dress, cut out and assembled a few corset patters I got from Ralph Pink, and more. I can’t remember all I did. Anyway, just recently I decided to at least sew what I had cut out of my Leo Dress pattern, even though I hadn’t finished the top.

This is the pattern: Vogue

(I thought that if I sewed the bottom then that would inspire me to create the rest.)

So, here I go, sewing together the bottom. As I continue I become less and less excited about creating this retro Vogue dress. The skirt, I can tell, wont be as swishy as I like, and the waist is high, all set to make me appear even shorter. Then I begin to think, I am so lazy I don’t wanna pull the bustle and Lucy Red off of Blue.


Idea storm.

What if I used the barely put together skirt to create a simple bustle skirt? I ran this idea by Mumsy and she was all for it so I pinned it up real quick.

Whoa. How fun. A leonine bustle skirt! Lol!

So I get to thinking, what kind of top could I make with it? I have a pattern for a late-civil-war era shirt, and Im sure I could throw together SOMETHING… But… I had gotten a pattern at least almost ten years ago. It was a modern take on Japanese/Oriental clothing, with a thin skirt, kimono robe, obi-sash and mandorin collar shirt.


So the ideas began tumbling about in my head. A simple, sleeveless mandorin collar shirt, with the leonine bustle skirt and THIS:

It’s a pattern for Womans Victorian coats. With this I could have a full Victorian Outfit, Holly-Style! Best of all, the design I want, A.E.:

Has this nice curved lapel which draws to mind India and middle Orient fashion. The Victorians were known for taking other cultures and integrating the ideas into their fashion. It could work. Lol.

So here is the product so far:

And here are the buttons I was thinking about using for the Mandorin collar shirt.

Now, second day of fiddling. I try on the sewn together lining and bodice of the short coat and discover the size twenty is FAR TOO generous on my admittedly plump form. The sleeves also are really baggy and felt weird. So I went through and nipped a bit on some of the seams. The bodice fits nicely but I still think the sleeves are a TAD bit too loose. My problem is I don’t wanna take too much off and lose movability. It’s a catch twenty-two. So for now I will leave them a little loose.

I sew the jacket front together and reconsider my options. See, I was going to sew those amazing leonine  buttons on the silk shirt, but they are heavy and distract from the lines of the outfit. So, without thinking, I pull the jacket lapels together and pin the button there. BOOM! Creative implosion. Of Course!

The jacket will button with a single or double button of the leonine persuation, while the shirt will snap together (Or something, haven’t quite gotten that far)

Anywho, off I go, to fiddle with the jacket some more, and then sew the ruching line on the back of the skirt to allow for bustle space. Then I remember something from the other sites I’ve seen. Its this tape-dealio, where three lengths of ribbon/fabric/whatever is placed on the underside of the skirt, secured in several places and then pulled up. The result is several places bustled up which adds to the general splendor of the outfit.

So I grab some strange ribbon from my box and do a quick experiment.


Where the former lines were graceful and flowy, this new siluette is coquettish and fun. The whole freakin’ outfit is made of curtains, seriously, how much more fun can you get? So, as of right now the outfit is… lets see… eighty percent done?

Ahh, Toby. Seriously Dude?

I have to hem the skirt, finish sewing the jacket, add the cuffs, the button (and buttonhole) sew in the arms, sew down the tapes, and somehow secure the shirt in place. (Buttons? Snaps? Hooks-and-eyes?)

Lastly, I was going to add my accessories. White gloves, of course, and a straw hat. (If I could find a safari hat I would die happy) 

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