Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Edwardian Day Ensemble

Well, this is a picture of my latest sewing project.  I had a lot of fun with this one.  As simple as it looks, it is deceptively challenging.  I used the Truly Victorian TVE22 1905 Circular Skirt; Truly Victorian TVE41 1903 Plain Blousewaist; Truly Victorian TVE55 Edwardian Dip-Waist Belt, and a Truly Victorian TV492 Victorian Corselet.

Finished Edwardian Day Ensemble

I had a tea stained embroidered cotton fabric in my stash.  Approximately six yards at 110 inches, and I really liked the overall embroidered look with eyelet holes set up like flowers.   I thought the fabric would be perfect for an Edwardian Ensemble.   For this project I started with the skirt.  While the skirt pattern is only three pieces, it's the SIZE of the pattern pieces that were surprising.  They were almost as big as I was!  I had to lay everything out on my bed and move it as needed for cutting.  While the pattern stated lining was not necessary, I went ahead and flat-lined the skirt with an old white cotton curtain.  I also cut the fabric on the diagonal just for visual interest.  There are only two pieces to the skirt plus a set-on waistband.  I also used an iron-on interfacing for the waistband to add some stability, even though the pattern says it's not necessary.  I just like my waistbands with a little more structure.  Hemming this skirt is the BIG challenge.  I used a stiffened 3" lace banding for both the skirt fabric and then caught in the lining as well.  The shirt has an H&E closure with some snaps down the back opening.  Front length is 41" and back train length is 52".

Completed and now ready for vintage accoutrements!  Skirt Train at 52"

Rust silk & lace belt, plus chemical lace belt

Next, I started on the belts.  There are four of them.  I was not sure which look I would like best.  In the attached photos I am showing a vintage chemical lace for both the belt and the cuffs.  I picked up the lace at the a local flea Market for a dollar.  I also had a vintage rust colored silk belt with handmade lace that is also usable.  Plus, the dip belt and the corselette, both in matching fabric to the gown.

Chemical Lace cuff and  MOP Button
From there I moved to the Blouse.  This was the most challenging aspect of the entire ensemble.  I did not cut all the pieces on the diagonal.  I thought it would be super easy as it does not have a yoke, and for the most part it was.  I did however run into one problem.  The pattern states that all sleeve lengths are based on a "17" length.  Well, I measured from the shoulder to the wrist bone, and needed to add seven inches.  So, I split the pattern, added in 5" (minused out 2" for the cuff") and cut my fabric.  When I got everything all together, the sleeves ended up being six inches too long!  Apparently the 17" was an "under arm" measurement.  Who Knew?!!  So, at this point I am probably going to actually go with a 3/4 length sleeve, will make the necessary adjustments, and will try to salvage the vintage lace cuffs (in the pics you can see the right sleeve is pinned up to 3/4).  The blouse pattern is certainly one of those "measure twice, cut once" and "Make a Muslin Mock-up" just to be safe kind of patterns.  I was sewing on the last button, when I clipped the button with the needle.  Broke both the needle and the button!  Sadness!
Lastly, you might have read one or two of my prior posts entitled "The Touch, The Feel, of Vintage
Accoutrements" or "To Jabot or Not to Jabot", where I encourage the use of vintage accessories to help enhance your overall look and feel?  Well, this ensemble is an example of what I was discussing in those posts.
I incorporated the vintage lace for the cuffs and belts, as well as some vintage applique pieces to help give the front of the bodice some focus.  These pieces I had in my stash.  I needed to hand sew the four appliques to the lace bib to protect and stabilize them, then I hand to hand sew the reconfigured bib to the bodice.  This was a time-consuming labor of love, but I think the results were well worth the effort.  Add in my vintage Edwardian 42" parasol, my Edwardian Hat with 42" Lady Amhearst Feather, and pair of 2" leather boots, and I think it will look great.  Enjoy! (PS you can click on a photo to view in a larger format)

Bodice Front w/vintage applique
Bodice Back view


  1. I love adding vintage pieces to my costumes, either to the dress or with accessories. I've passed up pieces of vintage lace as being too short since sometimes it takes soooo much but now you have me thinking I can use it for just cuffs and collars, or a belt. :)
    This came out really nice!

  2. Thank you both for your comments! Yes, I like to search for those elusive little bits and pieces of vintage trims and whatnots. They add just that little bit of authenticity to the ensemble.