The skirt and outer bodice are mounted on a structured, boned foundation bodice.
The basted line just above the waist is where the bottom of the outer dress's waistband should be placed.
This bodice is constructed with exposed seams. This is the way all bodices were constructed at that time instead of having a lining that hides all the seams. Actually ... now I'm curious ... when did dresses and bodices start to be lined?? When I was a kid we all wore under slips, everyday. Hmmm, makes sense that garment lining goes right along with people not wear slips any more.
RESEARCH BREAK ......
Well, I looked on line and couldn't figure out quite how to phrase the question to find out when linings started to be put in women's gowns. I looked in my "Costume in Detail" by Nancy Bradford, but her book only goes up to 1930, so I don't know. I think perhaps it happened recently, meaning during my lifetime. I hope someone reading this can chime in.
But, back to these dresses. Here's a photo of the inside of one of the foundation bodices.
I used plastic boning on all the seams for these samples, but if this were a dress I was going to wear more than once, I would either use steel boning or Ridgeline.
The waist ribbon, also called a waist stay is to be worn tight to take any pressure off the closing in the back and help to hold the dress in place. Gowns like this should fit pretty tightly. And actually, having the seams exposed on this bodice makes is easy to do some last minute fitting.
The upper and lower edges of the bodice are finished with bias tape. The pattern calls for purchased bias, but bias made with the same fabric as the bodice would be much nicer. If you do that, cut the bias 1" wide and sew it with a 1/4" seam. Then an 1/8" ribbon should go through the upper bias. This is tied tightly in the back which solves any gaping or fit problems above the bust.
Just tuck the ribbons down in the back to hide then after tying.
To make the construction as uncomplicated as possible, I combined the skirt and outer bodice into a single unit, joined to a waistband. Once this single unit outer dress is complete, it gets placed on that basting line and catch-stitched (click on link for good tutorial) onto the foundation bodice. I like using a catch-stitch in a place like this where it's not seen. This stitch is secure and allows for a little give.
But, for those of you who like to do things as authentically as possible, you will probably want to hand sew each layer of the skirt to the bodice, one at a time and then the bodice to the foundation garment. Doing it this way means the different skirt layers can be placed on slightly different placement lines which will reduce bulk. You could also play around with the placement to get the look that has the back waist higher than the front. Just pin or baste with large stitches to see what works.
Next time I will show you how I did some of the finishing touches.