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Lady Jelena is costumed in a circa 1823 Ball Gown made of silk and embellished with lots of embroidery and lace.
Having completed the sculpt, the next task was to design the costume. After choosing a circa 1800s Ball Gown, I needed to draft the patterns and sew the undergarments required for that period of clothing.
The following pictures show these undergarments and a brief description of how I have constructed them.

Undergarments for Lady Jelena, a 26 inch One-of-A-Kind Polymer clay sculpt by Michelle Lightner.

All Undergarments

The completed undergarments for Lady Jelena. This includes the bloomers, chemise, corset, bustle, and petticoat . These are the final undergarments, necessary to design and make the circa 1823 ball gown. Each undergarment is added in "layers" as shown here.

You may click on any of these pictures for a larger view, then close that window to return to this page.


FIRST LAYER - Her Bloomers and Chemise. The bloomers are sewn in fine cotton lawn, "open crotch" style, as worn in that era, and decorated at the bottom with insertion lace and lace trim. The chemise is also sewn in cotton lawn, decorated in the middle with French embroidered netting, and cotton insertion lace added for accent. The lower edge of the chemise is decorated with antique swiss embroidered lace. Once this layer is added, you are ready to add the corset.

Corset Back

SECOND LAYER - The Corset.

Lady Jelena's corset is constructed from satin brocade, with cotton and Swiss lace trimmings. This is a picture of the back of the corset. I used tiny eyelets which are used for making doll shoes. The corset stays are made from boning purchased at the fabric store.

Corset Front

This is the front of her corset .
Sorry, her hand is in the way!.
But, you can see lots of detail and the chemise underneath,
if you click on this picture for an enlargement..


THIRD LAYER - The Bustle.
The bustle is sewn in cotton batiste.
There isn't much decorating here except for the lace at the bottom. But, making the bustle is a chore!
The stays used for the bustle are the same boning as used for the corset.
Check out the sculpted boots at the bottom!


FOURTH LAYER - the Petticoat
Lady Jelena's petticoat is the final layer in her undergarments.
Its basically a half slip, made of cotton lawn, and embellished with French embroidered netting and Swiss embroidered lace.
Because the Ball Gown I've chosen to design has a fairly straight front, most of the gathers in her petticoat are in the back, adding fullness to the train.
As a final touch, an inside "dust ruffle" of taffeta will be sewn following the fitting of the ball gown and outside attire.

Well, I guess this is why women wore corsets!
Think of all of those layers of undergarments. One could begin with a relatively small waist and end up large after all these layers.
Actually, I take that in to consideration if I'm sculpting a doll with this period of clothing.
Lady Jelena's waist, as seen from just her body, appears to be small in comparison to her hips.
But, once all these layers of undergarments are added, the proportions come into a nice waist and hip measurement.

Related Pages:

Sculpting the parts

The completed doll, with the costume


Michelle Lightner

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