>The Edwardian Dress Project, and a 1910s Outfit


I keep meaning to do a write up on my lastest project and now, while I’m thinking of it, I will :)
The weekend before last was Costume College, an annual costume convention in the Los Angeles area.  I wasn’t planning on going this year, but a few weeks before a friend said she had extra room in her room and asked if I’d like to come.  Of course I said “yes!” as I was planning to go up to visit out of state friends anyway.  So then came the scrambling to get together outfits and planning a few new ones.  Luckily I had been to a few costume events this year so I had a few things to wear already, but two projects found their way into my queue of things to do.
The first was a 1910s outfit.  I used a vintage pattern for the vest and blouse.  If you’ve ever used these early patterns you know what a chore they can be! And this one was missing a big chunk of the envelope where the instructions used to be, so it was up to me to cobble the pieces together as best I could.  I added a scan of the original pattern to the Vintage Pattern Wiki here, so you can see how it was supposed to look, though when all was said and done it didn’t look much like the picture. But I really love heirloom sewing so did fun lace insertion and added little buttons and such to the blouse.  The skirt was a reprint from Past Patterns, and I had a lot of fun putting it together.  The fabric was vintage yardage (a gift from my husband), complete with moth holes.  Of course I didn’t see notice them until I already had the whole thing cut out and I was holding them up to look for placement. Haha!  Ah well, old wool- what do you expect.  Just makes it more authentic, right?
In the end I really liked the way it turned out but I’m sad I didn’t get more pictures, especially of me wearing it with the wacky hat and the lovely antique buttons I used on the vest.  Ah well, will have to come up with another excuse to wear it!
My pet project, and the one that nearly killed me, was my Edwardian dress.  I always wanted a pidgeon breasted dress since Anne of Green Gables is my all time heroine and I grew up watching the Avonlea series on TV.  For this I used crinkle silk chiffon with vintage silk crepe for the lining.  Note to self= when you have less than a week to complete a project, don’t choose such touchy fabrics! Oh dear, it was quite an interesting fight, but I won in the end!  The skirt was based on one from Voice of Fashion by Frances Grimble, and the blouse was also based on that but the fit was not very good so I ended up using it for basic shaping of the bottom blouse and completely redrafted it by draping on my dress form.  I had already pulled out lots of lovely antique laces from my stash so I had a general idea of what I wanted.

 On the top right is and bottom left you can see the bodice as drafted from the book (which was accurate from the period since it was from original patterns, but didn’t fit my shape) , and on the bottom right is the bodice after I redrafted it.  Muslin, needless to say, is much less fussy and has a very different drape than silk chiffon and silk crepe.  This part was easy-peasy compared to the sewing!  All the assembly was done using french seams, and I used a twill tape to hold the shape of the bodice and skirt and prevent it from “growing” during construction.  The front drape of the skirt and the rounded yoke were made from a remnant of an antique tablecloth- a lovely cotton net that had been embroidered that we received as a wedding present.
As you can see, I ran a threadline down the center front of the bodice and bodice lining and yoke. Since these fabrics were so touchy I wanted to make sure it was hanging correctly while I assembled and trimmed it.  On the left were some of the laces I pulled out to play with, but the embroidered one didn’t make it onto this dress and will be saved for another down the line.
The sleeve for this needed to also be redrafted.  I based it off of a tried and true pattern- a bodice from Truly Victorian– and used their two piece sleeve to create a one piece sle
eve that was to the elbow, then used that as the undersleeve, traced it off and slashed and spread the pattern, elongating the sleeve cap and the bottom sleeve so it would drape and puff a bit.  Then I sewed the two together and basted it to the bodice.  There was A LOT of basting in this project.  Nearly the entire bodice was basted before it was machine sewn to check the hang.  A lot of this project was one step forward, two steps back, also.  I know it was mostly because of the fabric choice, but it was so pretty I knew if I kept going it would pay off.  A real treat came when I attached the skirt lining to the skirt and realized that I seamed the wrong skirt pieces together on the outside skirt.  Fun.  So then after I left it to hang overnight I got to completely redo the skirt hem by eye since pulling french seams out of silk chiffon was something that was NOT going to happen.  Good thing I drafted it with a good train on the back! In the end the ruffle covered a multitude of skirt errors and created the silhouette I intended originally.  Cutting ruffles of silk chiffon is not fun.  Actually, silk chiffon is not fun.  But it’s SO pretty. :)  All the hems of the chiffon were finished with the rolled hem of my serger- by far the best treat of this project, other than playing with trims, of course.  So when the thing was all together I put it on the form and pinned and placed and undid and redid and finally came up with something I liked, and then hand stitched the trims on the bodice and it was done! Although it was finished in the hotel room at the event ;)
When all was said and done, I have to say this is one of my favorite costumes I’ve made to date.  It makes me *feel* like I stepped out of time, and moves so pretty in person.  So yay for fluffy dresses!

21 Comments on >The Edwardian Dress Project, and a 1910s Outfit

  1. Stephanie Lynn
    August 17, 2010 at 6:59 pm (14 years ago)

    >That dress is just amazing! And you look stunning in it! It's so great that you finished it in time to wear it out. It is certainly a dress that deserves to be worn.

  2. BaronessVonVintage
    August 17, 2010 at 7:06 pm (14 years ago)

    >AMAZING!!! Anne would be so proud! ;)

  3. superheidi
    August 17, 2010 at 7:58 pm (14 years ago)

    >That is just sooo overwhelming!

  4. Betty Lou
    August 17, 2010 at 8:36 pm (14 years ago)

    >Wow! Amazing! You could have been from that era, or an episode of Avonlea, loove that show!

  5. Erin
    August 17, 2010 at 8:51 pm (14 years ago)


  6. Lauren
    August 17, 2010 at 10:17 pm (14 years ago)

    >Wow!!!! That is just simply stunning and you look beautiful! Love it!

  7. Time Traveling in Costume
    August 17, 2010 at 10:28 pm (14 years ago)

    >It was even more beautiful in person. It looked like it would float away. And that hat! Awesome!

  8. lahbluebonnet
    August 18, 2010 at 4:26 am (14 years ago)

    >I am thrilled that you shared about these costumes. I've been following your blog in the last couple of months, along with a few other costume blogs. Last week I was looking at someone's blog and then flicker pictures of Costume College and I saw you in the brown and then the Anne, not realizing you were the same person or the blogger here. I fell in love, especially, with the Anne. I was hoping, hoping, hoping that you would post on a blog that I would stumble upon someday! I homeschool my kids and every 9 weeks they choose their favorite historical person to represent for a unit celebration of the era: food, music, recitations, first person interpretation, etc. I make period costumes for the three of us. In the last 4 years we've done all the eras. When I saw you in the Anne gown, I knew that's what I wanted for me the next time we do that era, in about 3 years. I'll need that long to figure it out. What a pleasant surprise to find your post today! Thank you for sharing about it. I am only this year learning how to do period accurate costumes for Colonial Williamsburg, on top of 12 unit celebration costumes a year. This cycle through history, I am going to try to move from "stage" costumes to "period accurate" costumes. I have only learned bits and pieces of draping in the last couple of months. Thank you for sharing your pictures. I hope I can learn enough to be able to make a gown as lovely as you have. Blessings,Laurie

  9. b.
    August 18, 2010 at 5:42 am (14 years ago)

    >O__________OI am absolutely blown away by the amount of talent and skill it must have taken to put together a gown as stunning as your Edwardin piece. It is beyond heavenly and looks utterly fantastically fabulous on you. What a wonderful job you have done!xox,b. of Depict This!

  10. Steph
    August 18, 2010 at 7:25 am (14 years ago)

    >Beautiful, just beautiful. I always admire your ability to step in and out of time seamlessly. (heh) Thank you for posting about the technique, so interesting to read and I'll be sure to refer back to it in the future.

  11. Marie-Laure
    August 18, 2010 at 7:33 am (14 years ago)

    >Simply…just…AWESOME !! as usual !

  12. Anja
    August 18, 2010 at 9:27 am (14 years ago)

    >Hey, I've been following your blog for a while now and love to read and watch what you post.This last dress is absolutely stunning! And put together in one week is just an amazing job! What a great inspiration.

  13. Robin's Egg Bleu
    August 18, 2010 at 2:05 pm (14 years ago)

    >Stunning! One of my favorite era's. Looks like an original…as does everything you create!

  14. Evie
    August 18, 2010 at 10:23 pm (14 years ago)

    >It's absolutely gorgeous! You did a beautiful job, and you look very natural in that period of clothing. Bravo!

  15. The Relaxolotl
    August 18, 2010 at 11:14 pm (14 years ago)

    >Wow! That lace is amazing on the second dress– it makes the whole outfit that extra bit amazing.

  16. Elizabeth of Online Fabric Store
    August 18, 2010 at 11:27 pm (14 years ago)

    >I totally love this dress and you look wonderful in it. I enjoyed seeing it in production.

  17. Lauren
    August 19, 2010 at 4:58 am (14 years ago)

    >merciful heavens! When I saw the photos from CC I thought this was an antique dress! Wow, incredibly well done!!!

  18. Renee
    August 21, 2010 at 11:55 pm (14 years ago)

    >Wow, that is a beautiful gown. You did such an amazing job on it. I know it had to be so much fun to wear.

  19. geekambition
    August 28, 2010 at 12:39 pm (14 years ago)

    >I've been reading your blog for a while now and couldn't believe it when you said you were a fan of Avonlea! I live just a few hours away from where they filmed it. GORGEOUS dress btw <3

  20. Elizabeth of Online Fabric Sto
    April 7, 2011 at 11:40 pm (13 years ago)

    >I totally love this dress and you look wonderful in it. I enjoyed seeing it in production.

  21. Anja
    April 7, 2011 at 11:40 pm (13 years ago)

    >Hey, I've been following your blog for a while now and love to read and watch what you post.This last dress is absolutely stunning! And put together in one week is just an amazing job! What a great inspiration.

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