Finished Project- Edwardian Lace Dress

Continuing with the Costume College finished project posts, I’d like to share with you my Edwardian lace dress project.  This was probably the most fun and creative project I have made since I made my Edwardian dress project from last year’s Costume College.

I bought about 6 yards of this ecru wide cotton lace trim at the LA garment district earlier this year and ended up being positively inspired to construct a whole dress from this trim.  I wanted to somewhat mimic the feel of my original vintage lace wedding dress, but have this as a version I can wear to events and such without worrying about damaging an original.

Another trip the the garment district (I forget how many yards I ended up purchasing) and I started draping on my dress form the lace going in various ways until I came up with a version I liked and was simple enough to not be excessively busy.  I was inspired, in this case, by the simple elegance of many early 20th century all white dresses.

At first it took on somewhat of a 1930s feel. I had initially meant to leave it straight and do inset gores of lace, but after running out of the length and seeing that it would make the skirt too narrow and later looking than my original plan, I dug around in my stash and came out with some old eyelet embroidered cotton which was used as the insets on the front skirt.

To shape this to the figure I cut into the lace and applied it on top as appliques- similar to clipping out darts for shaping.  The whole dress was constructed with a wide zig-zag stitch, with edges abutting, and overlapping the cut out applique, as just mentioned.  It was actually not nearly as finicky as I thought it would be, as the lace was quite substantial.  In retrospect I wish I had taken construction pictures, but hopefully you can imagine what I am describing as I used up nearly every square inch in this project!

The insets of the lace were trimmed away to taper to a point and them applied the same was as the dart-like shaping, tapering from the full width to a single flower at top.  The two front insets are long rectangles which were run with several rows of shirring at the top and a cut out flower applique hides the raw edges at the top.

I wore this with my Edwardian hat I made several years ago.  I still love this hat- it is so fun to wear!  Under this dress I wore an original vintage blouse.  I had originally wanted to make a new reproduction blouse but ran out of time.  I did like the overall effect with the vintage blouse, though!

Many thanks to Jennifer from Historical Sewing, who had me as a model for her “Dressing the Silhouette” class at Costume College this year.  Since she signed me up for Edwardian it gave me the extra push to make myself a new pretty frock!

Also, many thanks to Jen of Festive Attyre for taking these photographs for me!

36 Comments on Finished Project- Edwardian Lace Dress

  1. Issy
    August 7, 2011 at 10:49 pm (5 years ago)

    It is gorgeous. :) It reminds me of the fabulous lace blouse that Emma Thompson wore in ‘Howards End’

    • wearinghistory
      August 8, 2011 at 1:12 am (5 years ago)

      Ooh! thanks! I love that movie!

  2. S.B.
    August 7, 2011 at 11:04 pm (5 years ago)

    Absolutely stunning! Gorgeous gown!!!

  3. Kat Stelzer
    August 7, 2011 at 11:04 pm (5 years ago)

    This dress is just so beautiful and you are so gorgeous in it! Anyone would think it was an original vintage piece!

  4. Stephanie
    August 7, 2011 at 11:19 pm (5 years ago)

    How wonderful! (Although I think the Edwardian dress you made last year is still my favorite thing you’ve made.) Edwardian is another period I’d love to sew from. Maybe you’ll just have to branch your patterns out in that direction. ;)

    • wearinghistory
      August 8, 2011 at 1:11 am (5 years ago)

      ;)
      I’d love to see you sew Edwardian!
      And thank you!!

  5. mala_14
    August 7, 2011 at 11:41 pm (5 years ago)

    Absolutely beautiful! And the construction is so creative. I like how your other Edwardian dress was early Edwardian and this one has a later Edwardian look. The variation is really neat to see.

    • wearinghistory
      August 8, 2011 at 1:10 am (5 years ago)

      Thank you! :)

  6. Danika Zoe
    August 8, 2011 at 1:06 am (5 years ago)

    Gorgeous!! Will you construct a pattern for it?

    • wearinghistory
      August 8, 2011 at 1:10 am (5 years ago)

      Thank you so much!
      I’m sorry, no pattern for this one, as it the proportion would depend all on what trim you would use and have to be draped to the specific figure.

  7. Erin
    August 8, 2011 at 1:50 am (5 years ago)

    Oh. My. Word. That is so beautiful. And thank you for linking to your post about your wedding. I hadn’t seen that. I don’t think there can ever have been a classier wedding. These photos are all so inspirational. I wish I had occasions wherein I could wear things like this. You look like Daisy Miller. :)

  8. wacky tacky
    August 8, 2011 at 3:39 am (5 years ago)

    Lauren, you have outdone yourself – AGAIN! You look just like Mary Astor in “Meet Me in St. Louis.” Now all you need is a World’s Fair Exposition!

  9. valarielynn
    August 8, 2011 at 3:42 am (5 years ago)

    Seeing this gown in the photos isn’t nearly as perfect as seeing it in person. And I did! It was amazing.
    Val

  10. Shelly
    August 8, 2011 at 3:48 am (5 years ago)

    What a fabulous dress! I love the way you constructed it with the inserts and applique. You’d never know it wasn’t an original vintage dress.

  11. Isis
    August 8, 2011 at 4:31 am (5 years ago)

    What a lovely dress! You look wonderful!

  12. Sara
    August 8, 2011 at 5:17 am (5 years ago)

    Oh wow! You are so talented, I wish I could do something like this! I adore that hat

  13. Presley
    August 8, 2011 at 6:23 am (5 years ago)

    Oh My! I am at Awe, I adore Edwardian peices and you were spot on with every detail! I love it! “Swoon!” :)

  14. Eva
    August 8, 2011 at 6:25 am (5 years ago)

    WOW! Beautiful!!!!

  15. Roxana
    August 8, 2011 at 6:38 am (5 years ago)

    Amazing skill and finished product! This may be my favorite look on you. And the hat suits you to perfection. The most romantic period look of them all!

  16. Debi
    August 8, 2011 at 6:45 am (5 years ago)

    WOW! This is such a beautiful dress! I LOVE how it looks with the blouse and with the hat! So great!!

  17. Kate
    August 8, 2011 at 7:20 am (5 years ago)

    It is SO beautiful! You’re such a clever lady!

  18. Hannah
    August 8, 2011 at 7:31 am (5 years ago)

    This is simply beautiful, you are so inspiring.

  19. Anna
    August 8, 2011 at 9:28 am (5 years ago)

    Simply amazing!

  20. Casey
    August 8, 2011 at 10:45 am (5 years ago)

    I am really at a loss for words with this dress–it’s just so beautiful! So if I’m reading this correctly, you pieced together all the trim to fashion a “fabric” of sorts for the dress? Stunning! As usual, I’m in total awe of your skills… The dress really does look like a period-piece! Bravo!!!

  21. Chip
    August 8, 2011 at 7:20 pm (5 years ago)

    That is superbly beautiful!

  22. Olivia
    August 8, 2011 at 9:24 pm (5 years ago)

    This dress is amazing! So light and airy.

  23. Nancy S.
    August 8, 2011 at 9:52 pm (5 years ago)

    Absolutely exquisite!

  24. MadeByMeg
    August 10, 2011 at 6:24 pm (5 years ago)

    This is just stunning!

  25. Eileen
    August 10, 2011 at 11:10 pm (5 years ago)

    Wow, just lovely! I don’t know what else to say but you look as fresh and crisp as a summer’s day.

  26. Laurie
    August 11, 2011 at 2:50 am (5 years ago)

    Oh, how lovely! So summery looking!
    Laurie

  27. Nelly
    August 13, 2011 at 9:41 am (5 years ago)

    You have talent Id love a dress like that.

  28. Tia
    August 16, 2011 at 10:59 pm (5 years ago)

    Lovely! I really adore the Edwardian period. :D

  29. Molly
    August 20, 2011 at 12:45 am (5 years ago)

    Wow! The dress and hat are gorgeous!! You look so elegant :)

  30. Rogues of Thread
    September 30, 2011 at 10:33 pm (5 years ago)

    Wow. this is really beautiful. Thank you so much for sharing!

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