Blue Victorian day dress based on the Wishing Dress as worn in the West End musical The Phantom of the Opera. While the stage dress is designed for quick changes, my version is more historically accurate, with multiple layers. This is a eight-piece costume: shift, corset, bustle cage, petticoat, underskirt, skirt draperies, bodice and cape.
The base of the dress is made mostly with Victorian patterns, dated to the first bustle age (1870s). Because the main colour of the dress is blue, I chose a baby blue floral coutil for the corset. It is a mid-bust corset with lacing in the back and a busk in front, and flat steel boning throughout the entire corset. The bustle cage, commonly named the lobster cage, is made of plain white cotton with flat steel boning. It closes at the center front with a hook and eye. The petticoat is also made of plain white cotton, and it ties around the waist with a ribbon.
Next is the first fashion layer. To save on fabric, only the lower half of the skirt is made of the blue floral cotton. The top half is made of navy satin. The skirt closes with a hook and eye on the side. To help the hem stand out, I added horsehair braid to the hem. The draperies on top of the skirt have four parts: a front drape, two side panels and a large waterfall drape at the back. in order to fully showcase the waterfall drape, the folds were stitched down.
The bodice is tailored to fit the corset underneath. It features a faux vest in a dark navy velvet. This vest is embroidered by hand with three motives, which are also seen on the original stage dresses. The embroidery is also added to the collar of the bodice. While not fully historically accurate, the bodice closes with an invisible zipper at the center back. The back also features a detachable bow.
Throughout the entire dress, I have applied over a hundred metres of trims. The main trim is built up of four different layers: light blue tassel trim, dark navy velvet trim, which is edged on two sides by white zigzag trim. This trim can be seen around the bottom edge of the bodice, the edge of the sleeves, around the back bow, the edges of the side drapes, the front drape, and all around the waterfall drape. The bodice also features a silver ladder trim with a navy ribbon threaded through, and the collar has a white meander trim, as well as a delicate, stage-accurate lace in the neckline of the bodice. There is also one meter of lace in each sleeve engageante.
To finish the look, I made a giant cape of royal blue Egyptian cotton. The stage capes are made of (silk) taffeta and this cotton almost has the same shine. It has a large hood, and a significant train. For further dramatic effect, a red scarf is added.