Friday, January 4, 2019


Hi All,
Happy New Year!
Boy, things got real busy for me -- I haven't posted since November!

Well, here she is: "Morning Promenade"

She is for sale on my ETSY site (www.etsy.com/shop/ArleyDollDesigns) for $300. (sold)

She is wearing a bustle-style dress from the 1880's (I hardly ever do bustle dresses because they are so complicated, but this one was fun!) This style was called a "promenade dress", and was made for walking down a street (notice -- there's no train to drag on the ground). Women would wear these dresses to promenade down the main street to meet and be seen. (Sort of like "cruising the boulevard".)

She is an all-cloth art doll, about 20 inches tall. She's a stump doll glued to a wooden base.

I love  how the skirt turned out. It's rows of pleated tulle -- that's how the fabric came! (from JoAnns Fabric). When I saw it, I new immediately that was going to be the skirt.

I beaded the front piece over some venice lace. I had some antique jet beaded trim in a "pointed" pattern I used on the front drape, along with some black beaded fringe. The bustle has some more trim I beaded plus some beaded tassels here and there.

I cheated on the bustle and didn't do "authentic" foundation under-garments (that would be crazy!) Because her body is cloth, I simple patterned an extra large rear end for her and added a "bum pad" stitched to her bottom to hold out the skirt. Then, a ruffled petticoat over that.

I made the parasol (removable for shipping and storing) from a wire base glued to a wooden dowel. It's covered in chiffon and lace.

As I am a "costume historian" nerd, I want to show you what women really wore under their skirts for this look. This was called a "bustle cage". It tied around the waist and hung off the back.

At first, it was small and short:

As with most fashions, as the fad progress, the bustle got bigger and longer:

When it was in-cased in cloth, sometime it was referred to as a "lobster tail":

Notice on the long cages, there's a fabric panel holding the hoops together on the inside? That hung down and rested on the back of your legs. So, every time you walked, this cage would hit and bounce on the back of your calves!

It looks like a hooped petticoat cut in half. Plus, they wore several ruffled petticoats over that before putting on the skirt!

My question is: How did they sit down?? I see in period movies the women with bustles sit sideways on the edge of the chair, leaning slightly forward. Can you imagine how uncomfortable that must have been! Plus, all that weight hanging off your butt!!

I am constantly amazed at fashion trends and what women (and men) will do for style......