Dressing Queen Victoria

Eve as Queen Victoria-6

This one was a very exciting commission – a friend who often works as Queen Vic needed a new corset.. and a  new bodice and a train to go with the skirt she already had.

After a session of looking at different portraits and photographs of the Queen, with Eve pointing out which features she’d like to include in her bodice or train, we got some sketching done…

Fabric was next – and here we were lucky as got a length of beautiful silk brocade from Quartermasterie – all that i need to grab was silk taffeta for lining and pleats and some lace and buttons….

The corsets was made first –  and it is a rather jazzy affair,  so wont be shown here to preserve the dignity of the monarch, but i bet now a few people who’d meet Eve at work would be wondering what  lingerie secrets her clothes hide ;-0

Eve as Queen Victoria-5

Bodice was a lovely blend of the 1880ties and earlier fashions – sporting a version of pagoda sleeves, apparently quite a favourite of the queen. we also added detachable under sleeves, for colder days .

The lace was simply lush, though applying it took some time, and the underside of the pagoda sleeves was also trimmed with lace, a  more modest version.


The train was just fun.  The construction was simple – a slightly shaped rectangular fabric, plasted and with tapes and buttons to allow the wearer to bustle to up if needs be. But it was  recreatingthe pleated trim from one of the original photos that was interesting….

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The train has a baleyeuse ( the dust ruffle) made of black cotton lace  buttoned up  – they were  a truly delightful frilly affairs that made life so much easier –  you wash only the ruffle as your skirts are protected.


The pick up day was also a shoot day as we offered Eve a mini session –  the results below! Hope you like the final result:-)


train bustled up, no undersleeves


Train flowing loosely, under sleeves attached

Eve’s  page is here – enjoy browsing!  Queen Victoria

Victorian Delights in Leighton House, Hondon


Victorian Delights  take place in Leighton House, London in May – the event is a part of a nationwide  themed events called Museums at Night, when museums stay open after hours and provide some additional entertainment. Prior Attire has been honoured to participate in the event for the second time this year – though this post will share the impressions from both 2012 and 2013 events.


  Our first time in Leighton House – and what a spectacular place! We were hired to provide background characters for the Victorian Themed event – and the 3 of us:  our friend Eve, my husband Lucas and me, made our way to London on a rather rainy Friday afternoon. Our job was to mingle with the visitors, pose for photographs and generally provide inspiring conversation and serve as a Victorian eye candy.

 we all dress ed the part – Eve, was happy to wear her new dress I have just finished for her – in bright colours, a start contrast to her usual black – Eve often works as Queen Victoria, hence the mourning… on this occasion, she adopted a different character – a garishly dressed wife of a Nuveau Riche  – a stair rod seller.


  Lucas and I however at that time did not have much of a choice as far as Victorian garb was involved – we both wore our wedding outfits – very suitable since a bride would be wearing her wedding satins in the 2 years following her nuptials, when she was visiting relatives etc. still, the clothes worked well, and I even aquired a proper Victorian sketching pad and a pencil – I do draw and since Leighton House is all about art, it was a suitable think to carry – and use, and it served very well as a conversational gambit.


 The  hours passed quickly on chatting, drawing, posing, more chatting – altogether a very good time was had by all.




Lucas and Noe, the chap in charge of the museum and the event


at the end of the day it got a bit informal- even unpinned my train as the staff demanded the full view:-)

 Altogether, a lovely event and it was great to be involved.  The following year, with a few mprovements, we vowed, would be even better.

 And you know what?

 It was…


 This time it was arranged for a bigger scope – and the event had a much more structured feel to it.  Again, Prior Attire was hired – as was Eve, in her traditional capacity as Queen Victoria.  Eve’s husband, Steve  assumed the role of Sir Henry Ponsonby, the Queen’s private secretary, and our friend, Eleanor, was her Mistress of the Robes.


  Lucas and I were a part of the retinue – again mingling and chatting, mostly talking about Victorian etiquette and manners, especially important as the Queen was holding an audience, so it was the responsibility of us all to make ure her Majesty is addressed properly . I also delivered a talk on the secret language of the fan, demonstrating how a simple fashion accessory can be instrumental in sending  messages to eligible men….

 The  evening was great – lovely weather, lots of interesting people flocking into the Hous, period music playing in the background, people queuing for the caricaturist, discussing art, manners – or shady medicinal knowledge with the quack…  and evening not to be forgotten!

Image Also, this year the staff dressed up too – and I was happy to provide some of my gowns for hire. here girls in all their finery!


 at the end of the day, traditionally, we indulged in a little photo shoot – enjoy!



Eleanor in her Prior Attire frock


The staff


the girls and the fans!



Lucas being suave…

 my new gown definitely went well with the surroundings! more on the gown’s creation hereImage

 and so, after another  successful night, we are hoping that  next year it will be just as good – or Better! 🙂