Civil War Civilian Living History

Interpreting the American Civil War Home Front

Surplice Bodice

In August I attended a Genteel Arts class on making a surplice bodice; this is a bodice that crosses over in the front.

The class was held in New Oxford rather than Gettysburg in a class room space at Cross Keys Village. It was a nice space and we created quite a stir with some of the village residents with our sewing and showing off our corsets.

And I failed to get photos during the class!! I am so sorry, readers.

I choose a stripped cotton shirting I found at Needle and Thread in Gettysburg. To begin, we traced off our fitted bodice pattern or pattern block so that we could develop the surplice bodice. It is so much more than just lapping the fabric across the front.

We had some style choices—pleats, gathers, across the shoulder, across the waist, or both. After some serious fitting and adjusting, I ended up with just gathers across the waist.

The bodice is lined; however, the bodice closes separately from the fabric and is only attached to the bodice at shoulder and the waist. The lining is darted. The back could be either one or three piece. Three piece works best on me. Not too bad lining up the stripes. 

As with most of my projects, much of the finishing will have to be done at home. As I have several other projects in line at the moment, this bodice will have to wait its turn. Hopefully will have it for a nice spring dress next year. 

Categories: Civil War