Black 1894 dress
My projects,  Sewing

A Victorian mourning dress: the bodice

After making the skirt, I started with the mourning bodice. This bodice is form-fitting and it consists of 12 panels in total. I like how elegant the simple bodice is, although it is a bit old-fashioned to be an 1894 bodice as the sleeves are pretty modest.

The pattern image.

The bodice has a center-front hook and eye closure and a stand-up collar. The sleeves are two-part sleeves and they have cute slits at the cuffs. The edges of the bodice are decorated with looped soutache. The bodice is to be interlined with hair-canvas from the center-front all the way to the dart.

The pattern for the bodice.
The approximate bodice construction (not in scale).

Just like with the skirt, I tried to stay in period methods. I must admit that the collar construction was something that I have learned from modern couture sewing techniques but those mostly derive from Victorian sewing methods, or at least that’s how I justified using that technique.

Here is my video on the bodice construction:

And here are some still pictures. This dress was very difficult to photograph. In most photos, the black color sucked in all the light and left a big black hole where the dress should be. I tried my best to lighten up the shadows while still keeping the dress black. And I couldn’t resist those Halloweenish colours!

The 1894 tailored gown by Ageless Patterns.

And here is the mourning bodice and the skirt from the back.

The mourning bodice and the skirt from the back.

In the third and final part, I’ll make some important accessories with which I can turn this simple black dress into a mourning costume. I have also dug out some Victorian mourning customs, of which I bet some are completely new to you!

See you soon!


I am a mother of two. I sew, knit and create and blog about it.

One Comment

  • andijaye1a1b792bf

    Such a beautiful gown, and the perfect for the autumn colours. As a Goth I’m totally in love with both.
    By the way, did you wear that beautiful silk petticoat with this gown?
    Andi x

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