I found these directions on making a plain button down shirt into a Victorian blouse. Keep the trim and fabric true to the era (1870-1890) and you can eliminate the tedium of basic sewing.
"Lace and gauze can turn the plainest shirt into pure Victorian femininity. Use this technique to add some interest to any button-down shirt you have hanging in your closet. . . . You can also switch out the original buttons for some with filigree.
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Make it simple with minimum trim and you can replicate this dress from the Civil War.
You can also use a white shirt and modify it to make a corset cover.