Clara Oswald’s Custom Made Victorian Dress from Deep Breath

Item: Custom Made Victorian Dress
Appearance: Deep Breath
Combined with: un-IDed Victorian Boots, un-IDed Brooch, un-IDed Hairpin

I went through my phone to look for pictures, but I realized that I never really took any during the sewing process like I did with the Victorian Barmaid Dress. I didn’t take any notes at all except for how much it cost me and how long it took to me, so I’m going to have to put this post together from memory only. Sorry about that. Next time, I’ll bear the blog posts in mind.

After making Clara’s Barmaid Dress, I realized that I had really missed sewing and I decided that I could re-create more of Clara’s historical outfits. Since I love the colour green, her Deep Breath dress seemed like the best option and other than with the Barmaid Dress, I had very, very little to go on. The Barmaid Dress from The Snowmen has been recreated by several cosplayers and some even wrote about it, so I could read about how they had done it, but I only ever saw one cosplayer (I don’t know her or I would have asked) wearing a custom-made Deep Breath dress. I had to start from scratch.

At first, I tried to find as many pictures of the dress as possible to try and figure out how I could make this dress work. Somewhere in my sewing supply box, there is a notebook with sketches of different versions of this dress, but in the end, I settled for a version that consisted of four parts: the underdress, the skirt, the bustle and the jacket. Seeing that I had decided to make it this way, regular sewing patterns were no longer an option for me.

As for the fabric, I decided that I wanted it to be cheap while also being recognizable. It was impossible to find the SA fabric, lace, edging and so on, so I settled for something affordable that still maintained the look of this dress. Sadly, the original edging I ordered never arrived and ever since, I’ve been looking for a good alternative, but I couldn’t find one. When I do, I will take the ugly silver edging off my dress and replace it with the better one. With all the lace and cords and details, the materials still cost me quite a lot. Here is the overview:

Price for materials: £150
Working time underdress: 9 hours
Working time jacket: 10 hours
Working time bustle top: 3 hours
Working time overskirt: 7 hours
Working time total: 29 hours (spanning over a couple of months)

I started with the underdress which was probably the easiest part of the dress. I had no fitting sewing pattern, so I made this one from scratch and hoped for the best. The design of it is pretty simple. It is a long, sleeveless dress with a collar that stands up and some pleats at the seam (like Clara’s dress has). The buttons are working and it can be unbuttoned up to the waist to put on and take off.

The jacket was a little more complicated and here, I used a sewing pattern that came with the pattern I had bought for the Barmaid Dress. However, I had to make a couple of alterations to the pattern to suit my needs (the deep cleavage, the v-notch in the back). For the main part, I used a rather stiff fabric as lining to give it a sort of corset-like look.

The bustle top was also pretty simple to make. I decided that it should be just like a little apron for the back with the bow and cords attached to it. The lacing is hidden underneath the jacket, so I didn’t have to worry about making it super pretty.

The overskirt was something that frustrated me quite a lot. Here, I again used a pattern that I had previously used for the Barmaid Dress, but I made some alterations to fit Clara’s Deep Breath dress. Making the bustle part was really frustrating because of all the gathering and sewing and gathering and sewing and the fabric falling down again and then more gathering and sewing. I think I put that of for several weeks before I actually finished that, but in the end, I was quite happy with the result.

Overall, I’m happy with the dress, but I really wish the edging I had originally ordered had arrived because the replacement I got after has no resemblance to the SA one. As long as I haven’t found anything more suitable, I can’t really consider this dress finished even though I’ve already taken some cosplay photos in it.

My version of Clara Oswald's custom made Victorian Dress that she wore in Deep Breath

My version of Clara Oswald’s custom made Victorian Dress that she wore in Deep Breath

Back view of my custom made Victorian Dress from Deep Breath

Back view of my custom made Victorian Dress from Deep Breath

A closer look at the front of the dress. Over a year later, I'm still looking for a suitable trimming to replace this one

A closer look at the front of the dress. Over a year later, I’m still looking for a suitable trimming to replace this one

The bustle is the most striking part of Clara Oswald's Deep Breath Victorian Dress and the part I'm most proud of

The bustle is the most striking part of Clara Oswald’s Deep Breath Victorian Dress and the part I’m most proud of

Share: