1883 Black Tail Bodice Costume

1883 Black Tail Bodice Costume

Nickname: Frankenstein's bride costume

The outfit got it's nickname because it's made with various smaller pieces of black fabric I had in my stash.


Tail bodice in black tafetta with a velvet flock print. Black four gore skirt made with wool, tafetta and velvet. Black cotton with lace chemisette. Antique top hat with antique black lace hat veil. Black crochet shawl.


1883 Black Tail Bodice Costume 1883 Black Tail Bodice Costume

A tail bodice from 1883 owned by the Metropolitan Museum

Patterns used

Truly Victorian,#462, 1883 Tail Bodice.
Truly Victorian #364, 1886 Autumn overskirt
Truly Victorian #261, 1885 Four gore skirt.
Truly Victorian #104, Later Victorian collars and cuffs.
Seems Like Old Times Shawl, Michele DuNaier.

More Information

The original plan had been to make a long tail bodice from the tafetta with flock print but when I ran out of time in 2013 I decided to make an overskirt instead. I thought I would be able to get more of this fabric but unfortanetly this ended up not being the case. As I didn't have enough fabric left to make a long tail bodice I decided to make the shorter version instead. I had the old version of the Truly Victorian pattern without the short tail and different neckline options. This meant making quite a lot of alterations to the pattern, Something I hadn't really done before. The upside was that I could adapt the pattern to fit the amount of fabric I had left!

The skirt was a challange as well. I had several pieces of fabric in my stash but none of them large enough to make the whole skirt. I spent quite some time designing before I had a solution that I liked. It ended up looking better than I had expected.

Eventhought this costume is black it's not ment to be a mourning costume. Black was also worn in normal daily costume and considered to be very practical. Mourning costume had to follow the mourning etiquette.

Alternate views

 1883 Black Tail Bodice Costume

 1883 Black Tail Bodice Costume
Detail of collar and frog closure.

1883 Black Tail Bodice Costume
Skirt front and back

1883 Black Tail Bodice Costume

Black crocheted triangular shawl, adapted version of a pattern from 1906.
Costume made and worn in 2014