Victorian Bathing Beauty

Sailor Dress 8

I’m super-excited about this project, as you can probably tell from my smiles in these pictures. Pete was trying to get photos and got annoyed that I was spinning around, too giddy to hold still and pose for him. Also, I was throwing snowballs toward (but not at) Ace.

Sailor Dress 4


Last weekend we had the most snow we’ve had here in 21 years. I’m not a snow person, so this photo-shoot was about as much playing as I did in the snow. Obviously the dress is NOT weather-appropriate, but that doesn’t matter so much when the plan is to stay indoors. Right after these pictures were taken, we went to Pete’s parents house for a turkey dinner. This outfit is just right for dancing Merengue in the living room, which is what we did after eating the turkey and fixin’s.

Sailor Dress 6


The dress is a hack/mash-up/frankenpatterning of the Bonny Sailor top with the Lady Skater Dress Skirt. The pockets are self-drafted. I also made Espresso leggings to match. The fabric is my beloved Laguna cotton from (via my stash) in classic navy blue. Pro-sheer elegance interfacing was the perfect match for the collar.


Sailor dress 1


I had an oddly difficult time finding the 1/4″ grosgrain ribbon for my dress. I ended up ordering it from here. It came in a 10 yard length and I used all but about 2 1/2 inches for this dress.

Sailor Dress 5

My OCD side wondered whether the ribbons on the collar should lap in a basketweave pattern or one way over another. I ended up putting the front to back ones down first, then placing the horizontal ones across the back.

Sailor Dress 2

The front of the Bonny Sailor top is wider than the back at the waistline, so the back skirt gathers up more in the back than the front (We can call it an ode to the bustle-era). I used clear elastic in the waistband, just like the Lady Skater dress instructions call for.

I’ve always loved the look of Victorian bathing wear, but it isn’t a look that translates well for modern daily wear. I collected a few images for inspiration on this rather random Pinterest board as I was making this dress. It makes me feel like a Victorian Bathing Beauty, but without the discomfort of wearing wet wool.


Stash-busting stats: 8/50. Total yardage for the year 16 1/2 yards.



7 responses to “Victorian Bathing Beauty”

  1. prttynpnk Avatar

    Was Guinevere as jealous as I am?

    1. Cari Homemaker Avatar

      She’s turning up her nose at navy blue right now. If it were red, she’d be fighting me for it.

  2. Gjeometry Avatar

    Woah, this is stunning Cari! And, I can’t believe you went outside in winter in it, LOL!! Brave, brave you.

  3. liza jane Avatar

    Wow, awesome! Love that you frankenpatterned this. And I love that you took photos of your bathing dress in the snow. Brrrr!

  4. ShanniLoves Avatar

    Girl you are making me cold! Well this winter I don’t need much help with that! Love the dress!!

  5. Jess B Avatar

    Wow! Adorable.

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