I made an 1898 tennis costume
I made this Victorian tennis costume 2 years ago but never posted it as my hard drive failed and I lost all my footage. Although I manage to recover most of the raw data, I didn’t have the energy to re-edit the video. Now, finally, the video is ready! So enjoy my venture into some Victorian sports costumes!
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I had drooled over this pattern that was sold by Repeated Originals on Etsy here. It has originally been published in the French La Mode Illustrée magazine.
The dress has a separate skirt and a bodice. The bodice has a bolero jacket and a fake blouse front that covers the hook-and-eye closure. The sleeves feature small puffs at the top of the shoulders that were very fashionable in 1898.
The pattern had very rudimentary instructions. If you want to make this pattern, you better know already how to put together a Victorian dress as the text is more confusing than helpful. I first thought that it was because the original French was badly translated but then I found a French person to look at the original French and found out that the French text is just as confusing as the translation!
I immediately saw this dress made in green stripes. I was lucky to find old Ikea duvet covers and pillowcases at a Recycling center and those had plenty of good quality fabric. The only thing I needed to add was a bit of white cotton poplin for the collar, cuffs, and the fake blouse front. Oh, and some green viscose for the belt and the bow. Of course, viscose wasn’t really a thing in 1898 but let’s pretend that it is silk!
The Ikea duvet cover turned out to be a perfect material for this tennis costume. I found out that the fabric drapes beautifully and doesn’t wrinkle badly. That makes it just perfect for a spring skirt.
I did my best to pattern-match the stripes wherever possible. Many of the period sewing guides suggest cutting the stripes so that they make a nice pattern at the center-front seam. So, even though it doesn’t feature in the original pattern, I decided to add this detail.
I added a pocket to the front seam on the right-hand side. This pocket shape isn’t really historically correct but no one will see it. I added a welt to the right side and decorated it with green trimming that I carefully unpicked from the Ikea pillowcase.
The back of the skirt has a vent and a placket. I enforced the right-hand side of the opening with cotton twill tape and added a row of hooks and eyes for the closure.
The finished tennis costume
I am pretty happy with how this tennis costume turned out. Here are some pics:
The bodice hooks together with the skirt so the blouse will never rise from under the waistband. The belt came out fine although I first struggled with the pleats. Cutting the fabric in bias and doing some magic with a clothes iron worked wonders.
The hat in the picture isn’t really historical. Although straw hats were in fashion, women’s hats were perched high atop the hair and they had smaller crowns. My hat in the images looks more like men’s hats from that era.
The only thing that I do regret is that the bolero could be slightly bigger at the front as it tends to pull a little bit. Perhaps someday I will make a bigger bolero as I do have plenty of that fabric left.
Thank you so much for reading and see you soon!
moois van mie
I really like those sleeve heads.. and the green colour, and the chevron front. Looks lovely.
Thank you so much!
It’s beautiful! Great job!