Gwendolen’s Early 1870s Day Bodice & Bonnet

Read Early Thoughts and the Dress Diary

The Concept

Recreating, from the BBC miniseries Daniel Deronda, Gwendolen Harleth’s purple striped early 1870s day bodice, to be worn with the skirt from my 1870-71 evening dress.

The Fabric & Trim

Purple and white striped silk shantung, accented with purple cotton velvet, interlined with cotton organza, lined with cotton sateen.  I’ve read other people’s take on the color of this dress — purple and white, purple and grey, blue and white, blue and grey.  To my eye, it reads as purple and white (under colored lights and/or shadows), particularly if you look at it in the “daylight” shots!  What are you gonna do?

The Pattern

Bodice: draped by me.

Bonnet: Lynn McMasters’s Mid-Victorian Winter Bonnet.


  • Arnold, Janet. Patterns of Fashion: Englishwomen’s Dresses & Their Construction. Vol. 2: 1838-1940. New York: Drama Book Specialists, 1972.
  • Hunnisett, Jean. Period Costume for Stage & Screen: Patterns for Women’s Dress 1800-1909. Studio City, CA: Players Press, 1991.


  • Reply Stephanie Clearwater January 6, 2010 at 6:50 am

    Amazing work, as always.
    I have visited your site many many times and it has been useful as reference.
    Thank you for sharing your knowledge of historical fashion.
    I am a small-scale seamstress for Asian ball-jointed dolls and my focus is primarily on the late 18th century, the Romantic period and the Victorian era. Currently I am debating on what to sew for the Cate Blanchett doll I made.
    Again, thank you for this wonderful website: I have enjoyed perusing it for several years.

  • Reply Katy Williams February 14, 2010 at 4:44 pm

    You ARE FREAKIN AMAZING!!!!!! I’ve been lurking around your website looking at all your wonderful costumes wishing I had some like yours! I was wondering where did you get the pattern for your gold corset? It looks so comfy and would love to make one. Thank you for posting your adventures in costuming! Cheers!

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