The Victorian era in America was influenced by England's Victorian era which took place between 1837 and 1901 after the financially successful and peaceful reign of Queen Victoria. During this time style transformed and dresses ranged from the plain and simple to elaborate and luxurious. You can make your own Victorian dress for a period reproduction or costume party. Dependent upon your level of sewing experience and expertise, you can sew a Victorian dress that's simple or fancy and then embellish it with jewellery similar to that worn during the Victorian era.
Purchase a Victorian era dress pattern. Many online companies sell period reproduction patterns that will help you create an authentic-looking Victorian dress. Be sure to take your measurements and use them to buy the appropriate pattern size rather than relying on your typical clothing size.
Buy fabric in the amount specified on the dress pattern. Victorian dresses were made of natural fibres such as cotton, silk or wool. Use cotton or wool for a simple dress and silk for a fancier, more elaborate dress.
Select thread matching the fabric you've purchased along with all other necessary notions. Notions will include closures for your dress, such as buttons or hooks and eyes and any lace or trim you'll sew to the dress.
Cut out your dress pattern pieces using the pattern and following the instructions. Assemble the pieces and secure them with straight pins. Sew the fabric pieces together following the directions on the pattern.
Try on your Victorian dress to see how it fits. Have a second person help you pin any areas you wish to take in for a better fit then sew accordingly.
Give your Victorian dress an authentic fit by wearing a corset and bloomers underneath, if possible. Add a brooch at the neckline to finish off the look.
Look at Victorian era photos online or in books to help you find dress styles you like. Check the quilting section of your sewing store for reproduction prints you can use for a simple dress. Consult the forums of Victorian style websites for help in constructing your outfit.