Costume :Circus
Source :Original
Progress :Complete
Worn At :None

Costume Photos

Wonders Await...

Roll up, roll up!



Costume Front

Costume Back

Bustle Skirt Side


Costume Information

Cost : £35
Time Taken : 2 Days

Circus themed bustle skirt and bolero jacket with harlequin lining.

I rushed this out for a circus themed party when I couldn't shake the idea of making something flamboyant. Originally I was planning to use stripes, but because this was such a last minute idea I was restricted to the fabrics available in the store and could only get spots (they've really grown on me though and saved me a lot of time pattern matching). There was no way I could resist that harlequin fabric, the minute I saw it I knew that had to be my lining.

Really pleased with how quickly this came together, it was all worth it and I now want to put bustles on everything :3


Avatar Image

Love the design of this. Love the photos and how it looks.

by Sephirayne on Friday, 18 July, 2014 - 16:13


Asylum Shoot (Posted 17th July 2014)

Finally got the perfect opportunity to wear this when Mighty Odango organised a photo shoot day out with several cosplayers and photographers. Asylum is an abandoned, run down chapel inside, but the frontage has these beautiful white pillars and outrageously imposing door. It was a really fun day :)

Bling it up (Posted 16th July 2014)

I raided Primark for bling where I found this awkward, bulky necklace which I took apart to build something that fit the look of the outfit (unfortunately forgot to take a photo before dismantling it).

I did research lots of elaborate makeup possibilities, but then I chose a wig and realised any full fringe would hide the largely eye centric designs, so I pulled it back to something more subtle.

Re-Fit (Posted 4th July 2014)

When I first made up the bolero pattern it was far too wide across the shoulders, so I re-stitched the sleeves an inch further into the shoulders. It still didn't quite sit right, so before the photo shoot I added a centre seam down the back to quickly take out 2 more inches! I couldn't understand why it was so drastically wrong, but then I worked with a pattern that included separate pieces for cup sizes and suddenly it all made sense. This was a problem I'd always had, but on a shoulders only style like the bolero jacket it was more prominent.

Commercial patterns are drafted for a B-cup figure. When you pick your matching bust size off the pattern that measurement might be made up of a large cup size on a small chest or a small cup size on a large chest; very different shapes but the same measurement. This one measurement also dictates the fit over the shoulders and upper chest, which means it will be too large if you are bigger than a B-cup.

The solution is to use your 'high bust' (chest on the pic) measurement to get a more accurate size for shoulders and back, you can then adjust the front pieces to add more bust room where it's actually used! This blew my mind, it totally explained problems I'd had altering patterns before.

Pattern (Posted 15th January 2013)

It's based on Simplicity 1819 which I picked up as a bolero pattern for Elizabeth (a bonus that it came with other cool pieces). This was a good excuse to test run the fit and do something fun at the same time.

I'm really impressed with how easy it was to put together. The secret is that bustle skirts are basically rectangular sheets (sometimes with a curved hem) and it's how you gather and hook it up that makes it a particular style. The hardest part was getting the layers of fabric (mainly the duchess satin) to gather up as tightly as required into the waistband at the back.

Materials (Posted 14th January 2013)

I made the bustle skirt and bolero in three evenings for a work party with a circus theme.

Originally I wanted a stripey outer fabric with a harlequin lining, in the end I had to go with spots as there were no stripey fabrics on the market that day.
The base skirt is black duchess satin I had left over from another project, the top layer is lightweight cotton and the lining is acetate satin (which is a pain to work with, but that pattern was too perfectly garish to pass up).