Alexia Tarabotti



Caroline Murphy


(click images to to enlarge)

Outline the story …

My outfit is based on the character Alexia Tarabotti from the Parasol Protectorate series by Gail Carriger. The series is set in the 1880s in a version of London that has werewolves and vampires and is a bit steampunk. Alexia is a no-nonsense type of woman who cares more about food and books than finding a husband, thus she's not always reflecting the most recent fashion plates. She tends to like darker or more jewel toned colors, thus the color palette used was red, black, and white.

Instead of doing a historically accurate 1880s outfit, I decided to make it something you would see in the lolita fashion community. I enjoy lolita fashion, particularly classic or gothic lolita, and thought why not. I just took the 18th and 19th century fashion the subculture draws from and turned it up to 11.

Outline the construction…

The chemise is a simple linen 18th c style.

The following were all made using patterns from The Victorian Dressmaker modified to fit myself. This was my first time making anything pre-1890 besides the chemise. They can all be worn with or without a corset;
The bustle cage is made of white cotton twill, cotton tape, and synthetic whalebone.
The petticoat is also white cotton twill, as well as off-white cotton lace. All the edges are turned under and finished.
The underskirt is black cotton sateen. The seams are finished by turning them under and stitching. The pleats are lined with black cotton lawn and the inside seam covered by black tape. Above the pleats is a decorative black velvet ribbon sewn on by hand. The skirt has two pockets in the side seams secured to the waistband with tape. The bottom edge of each pocket is reinforced with an arrowhead stitch.
The overskirt is red cotton sateen lined with black cotton sateen for the back pieces (since it might show) and black cotton lawn for the front. The front apron has black lace edging. Two black velvet bows can be pinned to the side flaps.

The hat was made using one of Lynn McMaster's patterns. This was probably the most challenging since I've never done millinery before. It's made of wire and buckram, mulled with cotton flannel, and covered in the black and red cotton sateen used previously. The flowers on the brim are velvet and more sateen.




  1. Avatar Alison Windermere on March 12, 2021 at 1:04 am

    Wonderful colours and beautiful stitching detail on the pocket. You really capture Alexia’s character well. I love this series and all of Gail Garrige’rs other books. Biffy would be very pleased with the design and construction of your hat. Well done!

  2. Avatar Samanthalovestosew on March 12, 2021 at 2:13 pm

    I really love this costume! You look fantastic.

  3. Avatar Laura Wemyss on March 12, 2021 at 6:27 pm

    Lovely, through and through. What a fantastic look! Now I need to find that series of books!

  4. Kayren McKnight Kayren McKnight on March 12, 2021 at 11:29 pm

    Biffy would approve of your hat! It is classy and looks great on you.

  5. Avatar Kristina on March 22, 2021 at 3:34 pm

    You look very elegant and powerfull in that costume. I love it!

  6. Avatar Kikkii von Fustian on March 29, 2021 at 11:37 am

    This is so adorable! *_* I love when people make lolita versions of specific decades/eras in history! The hat is fabulous, I’m wanting to make a hat from Lynn’s patterns as well, but I’m a bit intimidated ^^; You did an awesome job!

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