Hathaways are publishing a series of how to guides for a Victorian ensemble .
for instructions on making a gown like the one above that needs very few sewing skills or tools and no pattern.
check this link
For tips on the correct under wear and how to make petticoats check this link
There is also a related post on making a chemise,which shows how to make a quick very easy shift /chemise ,the instructions could also be adapted to make a Victorian nightdress
Posts on how to make bonnets and hats are here
I have a post on later Victorian hats here
I have a post on easy and quick Victorian capes ,cloaks and muffs here
Theres also helpful posts here ,
Posts on a Victorian style parasol ,a Victorian style handbag ,cape ,chemisette ,collars ,mittens and felt hats will follow shortly.
If your in a hurry and dont have time to do much if any sewing you could try to put togehter this outfit from charity shops if its an indoor event,.you need a velvet bodice ,cut the under part of the sleeves so its off shoulder, Find a very full evening skirt ,or cut the skirt from a wedding gownAdd some feathers to your hair ,tie some velvet ribbon around your neck or use a Victorian style necklace.If you can find a hairpiece to make a very “posh ” up do that will help create a Victorian feel,you can probably fairly easily pick up a fan and possibly long gloves.
If you can find some lace ,either cut from an old dress or tray cloth or bought on a market and add lace that will make a huge different (the gown below was made specially but you can easily add lace to the outfit above or a similar outfit to make a more authentic looking gown,If you find a gown try to cut a small length of the under arm out so it sits off shoulder .
adding sleeves or finding a gown with sleeves and adding lace to match the neckline is also good
Or for an out door event youcould create this look
You will need a white cotton frilly blouse ,a waist coat ideally long and velvet or wool ,a vaguely Victorian looking hat ,the one below was a ladies bowler hat style 1980s hat
A belt will help create a victorian feel
A very full skirt or some cotton curtains to gather at the waist into a skirt.or you can find fabric with edges that dont need to be hemmed such as that below
If you cant find a waist coat or blouse but do have the skirt you can still make a reasonable outfit if you use the shawl to cover whatever top your wearing and wear a little cap or hat
Though this wont create an outfit that stands up to close scrutiny its fine if your just part of a crowd .
A better outfit needs just a blouse and skirt with a belt ,again as the belts covering it you could make a skirt by just doing running stitch through the top of curtains or fabric then hiding this under the belt
This will look better with some accessory such as the basket above ,a fan ,gloves ,modern chinse or paper or lace parasol
shawl etc even a modern pashmina something large to wrap around you
If your very lucky you may find a vintage jacket thats got a Victorian feel
or a vintage 30s 0r 40s fur cape
What you will need to buy to make all the outfits took good is a net petticoat of the kind used for weddings ,these can be bought very cheaply off ebay (under 10) If your making a very full skirt you could use a hoop petticoat instead also available cheaply on ebay or a hoop skirt that has a net layer over the hoops , it will be slightly more expensive but is much better .
Other ideas ,find a dress thats not full length or cant or dont want to buy a petticoat.You can make a fake bustle dress by buying a shorter dress but then scooping it up at the front to make a bustle style overdress then put a long skirt over it ,this is a good option if you cant find any full skirts as a plain straight evening skirt will work fine.The gown below was made specially but both it and the hat could be recreated fairly closely with lucky charity shops finds
If you can make a hat or bonnet that will make a huge difference but hopefuly this guide will help if your very stuck for time and need something