Saturday, November 12, 2011

Constructing An Old World Enterprise...

1870s Bustle Walking Dress
from Old World Enterprises
I bought several patterns by Old World Enterprises (OWE) from Amazon Dry Goods about fourteen-years or so ago when Tonia and I started sewing together. Unfortunately, I did not have the opportunity to construct or experiment with any of them. In the process of moving to Dayton, many of my patterns were somehow damaged. I promised myself that I would replace them one day. While scouring Ebay a couple of years ago, I discovered an OWE pattern that I had previously owned at a very reasonable cost, and from there I began to reconstruct my OWE pattern collection. Last week, Maria and I began discussing possible design elements for her Victorian gown and while having her look through my Victorian fashion plates and patterns, I was excited that she chose the OWE 1870s Bustle Walking Dress - an opportunity to use one of their patterns had finally presented itself! 

Like the good consumer that my daughter is (ahh, she takes after her mother), Maria enjoys changing things up a bit to suit her tastes (regardless of the pattern's design elements- lol!). Three changes are being made to this gown: first, the skirt has been cut so that there is no train; second, the ruffling around the neck (above the collar) has been removed (after constructing the toile, while the ruffling added a nice design effect, it covered too much of the collar bone area to display delicate jewelry); third, while the integrity of the sleeve pattern is being left alone (its pattern is not being altered), cuffs are being added to change the sleeve design from a bell to a bishop. Take a peek at this week's work on Maria's gown: 

Beginning of the bodice


Pleating detail

For construction pictures of Maria's gown as I am working on it, please visit my Dressmaker's Album at the right of the page - in the meantime, happy sewing!


  1. Hi! I'm a follower of your blog and I was excited to learn that you also live in Dayton (or lived in Dayton?) I'm new to the area and interested in historical sewing. Do you have any recommendations for local groups or events?

  2. Allison, thank you so much for your comment! I do live in Dayton, and like you, I am not a native. But since I have moved here (in 2000) I have found Daytonians (which I am now one) to be a diverse and friendly people, and the area to be culturally rich!

    I encourage your efforts with historical sewing - it's exciting to add another sister to the sewing circle (so to speak). I hope that you discover the information on The Merry Dressmaker, and the links to the various sites that I have provided, useful in your sewing endeavors - :)

    As for events, there is the Ohio Renaissance Festival in Harveysburg, Ohio. A significant portion of the patrons do dress for this event, and while the event is not historically accurate (as a living history event or historical reenactment), it is entertaining and a venue where one can dress up and display his or her workmanship without fear of the locals - lol!

    Another event to consider is the Old West Festival, just a few miles east of Cincinnati. While a new festival, it's a fast emerging one with a late Victorian theme that encompasses the Old West, Civil War, and Steampunk genres - I am personally very excited about this festival - it's new, its fresh, and it's growing, growing, growing!

    There are smaller venues that have a more historical focus, such the Caesar's Creek Pioneer Village (you can Google their page for a list of their upcoming events); and, every year, my sister-in-law and I host a Regency Picnic at Buck Creek State park, an open venue were those who are lovers of the Regency area and who wish to take part in a bit of living history are welcome to attend (please feel free to join us next year - we post the dates of the event several months in advance). Local interest in historical events and reenactments are growing. If there are any that you discover, please do share - :)

    P.S. Keep me posted on your sewing adventures! :)