Sophie Hatter Dress- Part 1

Part 1: Research and Mockups

Part 2: Foundation Garments

Part 3: The Dress

I’m working backwards since this blog is new and I’m going to bring you the process of creating my historical Sophie Hatter dress!


I started by studying the dress she has in the movie. The high neck, long sleeves, and boots all seemed to point to a very basic 1880’s look.

The silhouette is very simple and even the detail of the lace at her collar seemed to mesh with primary sources.

It’s interesting to note that most of the supporting female cast are dressed in gowns that seem more modern. Our girl Sophie is dressed in a way that deliberately contrasts with the 1890’s look of puff sleeves and bright colors. She’s branded an “old maid” just by virtue of the fact that she has visually aligned herself with the past decade.

Once I decided on a decade I moved on to visualizing my idea and choosing patterns. I did a rough mockup from a photograph of an extant garment.

This is my first Victorian dress and I wanted to use a set of patterns I could work from without having to do too much alteration. I chose a selection from Truly Victorian’s late bustle patterns- TV101 (the wire bustle), TV170 (Victorian petticoats), TV261 (the four gore underskirt), TV368 (1887 waterfall overskirt), and TV460 (1885 cuirass bodice).

Continued in Part 2!

Planning an 1880’s Gown

After the completion of my green 1880’s gown I thought it would be fun (and efficient) to make a formal gown that can use the same foundation garments.


I had vampires on the brain this past summer and it has been fueling my desire to wear this dress. Mina’s red gown in the 1992 Bram Stoker’s Dracula as well as the one worn by Kate Beckinsale in the 2004 Van Helsing are both inspirations.


I posted some quick concepts on twitter to get a feel for what I was looking for. I really like the romantic feel of lace paired with a warm “blush” color.

After this I spent some time picking out fabric options that I really liked. I thought the satin would drape well and I already know that I love Renaissance Fabric’s taffeta from a previous project.

Doing this really helps me get a feel for what I do and don’t like. At this point I’m really favoring the 12 & 13 options because I like the subtlety of the black lace over another color fabric.

I already have my patterns picked out- Truly Victorian’s 261, 382, and (very modified) 416. The next step is to order my fabric!