1880s Dome Home Walking Suit by Stephanie Dyke    1880s Dome Home Walking Suit by Stephanie Dyke    1880s Dome Home Walking Suit by Stephanie Dyke


1880s Dome Home Walking Suit by Stephanie Dyke    1880s Dome Home Walking Suit by Stephanie Dyke


1880s Dome Home Walking Suit by Stephanie Dyke



1880s Dome Home Walking Suit

Stephanie Dyke, Maryland, USA (Creative and Mindful)

IG: creativeandmindful

Photographers: Rob Dyke and Stephanie Dyke



The Design

It’s 1880-something and Essie Mae Hanover’s husband – Professor R.F. Hanover – has invented something wild. Architects all over the US and Europe are fascinated with skyscrapers and the way they are rapidly changing urban landscapes, but Professor Hanover is obsessed with something else… the Dome Home.

Built from panels constructed of triangles, the dome home offers a unique living space for the forward-thinking Victorian. Essentially “all window,” dome homes are strong, sunny, and perfect for putting any sort of whim on display: from a painstakingly reconstructed opium den to a salon of curiosities featuring fossilized narwhals and live monkeys.

Essie wants nothing more than to see her dear husband’s vision take the world by storm. In preparation for yet another Fair and Exposition, she has constructed an outfit showcasing elements of the dome home.

A light, smooth twill printed with lavender, gold and blue triangles forms the base of her walking suit. Lavender ruffles frame nearly every edge; while they have nothing to do with domes, they helpfully point out that she is a refined and in-fashion lady. Finally, iridescent domes of many sizes adorn Essie’s jacket, skirt, overskirt, and hat.

More details on my website


The Construction

I've long been inspired by the Gilded Age, but had not yet done any 19th century sewing. After getting a copy of Izabela Pitcher's Victorian Dressmaker book, I knew I had to make something frothy and ruffle-y!

I used patterns for my undergarments (Redthreaded's Gored Corset and Laughing Moon Mercantile's Victorian Hoops & Bustles) but draped and drafted the suit itself on my own. I was inspired by several 1880s fashion plates - notably one with an overlapping jacket front. The Victorian Dressmaker (linked above) was also a helpful resource for drafting the skirt and apron/overskirt.

Constructing the dome decorations consisted of a hellscape of .020 plastic sheets, peel & stick adhesive and transparent lamé. Obviously not historically accurate, but they work.

I think my biggest challenge was getting the silhouette. There are an obscene amount of stay tapes, inner buttons, and hidden hooks/eyes holding this suit together! My decision to be thrifty and use all cotton fabric may have affected the drape. But the problem solving opportunities (and resulting learning) this afforded were immense.


What was it like to compete this year? What would you say to someone who is on the fence about entering next year?

It was SO MUCH FUN to make this outfit! I love being a part of the Foundations Revealed/YWU community and am continuously inspired by all the amazing work shared by other members. While I've been sewing for 35+ years, I'm fairly new to historical costuming so I approached this entry as a learning experience and a chance to stretch my skills. I can honestly say that the process of making something for this competition far exceeded my expectations. If you're on the fence about entering in 2020, do something fun for yourself and take the leap!


I'm always in awe of people who are able to execute Victorian replicas, and this is no exception. Very beautiful, accomplished work. Well done!
Last edited on 01.03.2019 20:37 by Stephanie Dyke
Thank you so much! I'm chomping at the bit to tackle more Victorian projects.
I love this! It really tells your story wonderfully!
Thank you! :-)
This is so fun! I loved your story to go with it, too. Great work!
Thanks! I couldn't resist a silly story to go with the costume.
The story of the dome home is just delightful, and I adore the way it flows through the whole costume from the fabric to the mini-dome bustle ornaments, the whole ensemble is both accomplished and whimsical :)
Thank you, Jema!
Your pictures and background story really brought a smile to my face!
Such a fun colour scheme and well done for creating a full outfit!

Thanks so much, Barbara!
I love how the pale colors are given such life against the snowy backdrop!
I love your background story, and the dedication required putting all those domes together!
I love your story, it's so much fun and your outfit is beautiful.
I just love the whole outfit! It is such a rare color combination and it looks divine. And if this one is your outcome of the first time sewing a historical gown... I feel there is hope for me too ;)
It fits and suits you so well and I like the dome details. Actually I am totally fascinated by those dome homes now, such a cool thing, didn't knew them before!

So much wonderful! The story, your creativity, and making everything from the inside out is quite spectacular!
You brought a big smile to my face. Both the story and the outfit are darling !
This is so much fun! I really like the colors you chose and the dome details are adorable
Your story has really piqued my curiosity, how wonderful that you've created a character and dressed her in such a great costume. I'm imaging what it would be like to actually live in a glass dome home! Well done on draping all of that yourself as well, that must have taken some dedication.
Perfectly lovely, from the colours to all those pleats, great job.
Nice to see a full historical garment! Well done for drafting the pattern yourself!
marloes dadswell
Loving the colour pallet you have chosen and I admire the way you have draped this yourself. Extremely well done!
Much cuteness, so fun! The whole thing is just adorable - from the fun colors, skirt shape (in love!), ruffles to the cute lady in an awesome hat! All that work and skill that went to this outfit is just impressive. And the pictures are also pretty. Great work!
This outfit looks SO. FUN. and I love your write-up of it! I also got Isabela Pritchard's book and find it inspiring too! One of these days I'll break my severe no-ruffles rule and I'll probably blame that book for it, LOL! Wonderful entry!
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