Edwardian outfit – plan

No I’ve got the first layer done, it’s time to share a bit more about the Edwardian outfit I’m planning. This whole outfit was started by the antique lace I found a while back. It’s so perfect for a lace blouse, that I slowly started thinking about making one. I was inspired by blouses like these: (this is also blatant excuse to show lace blouses)

But to make an Edwardian blouse, I first needed the underthings! Edwardian underpinnings are meant to decrease waist size and increase bust size, so to get the correct measurements, I first needed a chemise, corset and padding. That’s done now!

So I’m now starting on the ‘second’ layer of under-things, the corset-cover, drawers and petticoat. But meanwhile, I’ve also been planning the rest of the ensemble.

Aside from lovely lacy blouses, the Edwardian period also has some lovely high-waisted corseted skirts. Think this silhouette:

So the plan is a high-waisted skirt, although it’ll be a bit lower than the one in the image, ending below the bust. A bit more like this:

From what I found, this high-waisted skirt was popular around 1906. At that same time, blouses were usually wide-sleeved, the narrow sleeve starting to appear around 1908, right when the skirts become slimmer. Because I want a wide skirt, I will also make a blouse with wide sleeves, something like this:

I haven’t settled on a lace design yet, but I’ll be using the Wearing History Edwardian blouse pattern, and adapting the sleeves to be wider.

 

I haven’t got the pattern for the skirt yet, although I’ve been eyeing the Truly Victorian pattern. The downside is that it’s not available anywhere in the Netherlands yet, and I want to avoid shipping, so I might try drafting it myself first.

It’s pretty though…

The fabric for the blouse will be thin white cotton, which I already have. The high waisted skirt I’ll be making out of the wool tartan I bought in Edinburgh:

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The picture is a bit bright, but it’s a mix of bright red, very dark green and white. I wanted something which would really stand out, but could be matched with both black and white easily. I’m really looking forward to working with it!

Finally, I’ll need a hat. I’ve never made one, but I’ve been eyeing this one:

I’ll learn how to make a hat, or find a good base to cover… I already have some black ostrich feathers though, so I think this’ll happen!

I made a sketch of the whole outfit:

Edw outfit

 

All-in-all, this outfit will consist of:

Chemise – done

Hip pad – done

Bust-improver – done

Corset cover – in progress

Drawers – in progress

Petticoat – todo (I have: fabric, pattern to draft)

Blouse – todo (I have: fabric pattern, fabric & notions)

Skirt – todo (I have: fabric fabric, pattern to draft)

Hat – todo (I have: feathers, base todo)

I’ve no clue how long it will be until I have it complete, but something to strife for!

Edwardian Corset Cover

Next item done! To hide the corset ridge, a corset-cover was worn between the corset and outer garments. As I’m planning to make a sheer(ish) blouse, it seemed like a good plan to make a corset cover as well. It has ruffles, moreover, which helps achieving the pigeon-breast silhouette.

I used the Truly Victorian Edwardian undergarment pattern, it worked great! I made this up very quickly, and the instructions were great. Next-up: Drawers and petticoat!

Pictures!

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Edwardian corset – done!

My edwardian corset is done!

When I left off last time, I was trying to figure out how to avoid wrinkles in the silk when stitching the boning channels on.

I tried to use a different zipper foot, but it didn’t really work… I looked for other solutions, but they involve fusing the fabrics, or pinning them together over a curve. This would mean taking the whole thing apart though, and as I’d already sewn on all the boning channels that seemed like completely undoing every progress I’d made. So I decided to just continue, and accept that it’s a bit wrinkly. Something to consider next time, and if anyone has any tips to avoid these type of wrinkles, I’d love to know!

So, the finished thing:

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Aside from the wrinkles, I’m pretty happy with how this turned out, and I still love the fabric and the lace. I’m wearing it over my Edwardian chemise, bum pad and the Wearing History bust improvers I just made up:

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The Edwardian silhouette is all about emphasizing the waist by having a full bust and wide hips. The hips I almost have, but the bust can use a little help, and these improvers are a perfectly historical solution! I now just need to make a corset cover to cover up the edge of the corset.

Some detail shots:

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And lying flat (which it doesn’t do very well). Here you can also see that the wrinkles are not just caused by fitting issues…

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The lace, attached on the inside:

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And from the outside. It’s so pretty!

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I also made bias tape for the first time, which I think worked rather well! And I flossed the corset. Of course, having no experience in embroidery or flossing I went for the simplest design.. not. It worked out okay though, they’re not all exactly the same, but pretty enough!

 

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At the busk.

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The flossing on the inside & the bias tape hand-stiched down:

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I flossed the bones in the front and the 2 at the back nearest the grommets.

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White cotton – Underwear

I had a productive weekend, and made 2 new (under) garments. One is a new petticoat for over my 1860’s hoop, the other an Edwardian shift.

I started with the petticoat. My old one was quite heavy and seemed to do some weird things with my hoop dimensions, compressing it. As it was also not very period correct, being made of black polyester, I decided to make a new one. The new one isn’t quite as full, as I only had 3 meters of fabric, but it should do the job.

It consists of 2 rectangles, the first gathered to the waistband and the second gathered to the first. I started with the first rectangle, and put it on my hoop to measure for length.

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I then drew a line along the 2nd full hoop (so not the half-circle ones). I sewed the bottom strip along this line, and actually ended up with a petticoat which is pretty even along the hem! It’s just a bit short, due to lack of fabric, but with a velvet over-skirt (which is quite heavy), that shouldn’t be a problem. If I’ll ever make a new skirt for over this hoop with less volume, I might need to make another petticoat as well though.

 

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The second thing I made was an Edwardian shift. I used the Truly Victorian Edwardian underwear pattern (top left is the shift):

Edwardian Underwear

 

 

I ended up skipping the lace along the arm holes, and just made a small seam there. It has lace along the neckline, and 4 pin-tucks in the front and 2 in the back. I pieced the back, because I was using left-over fabric and couldn’t fit the whole thing without a seam. I quite like it, there’s just something about white cotton, lacy underwear.

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Front

 

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Front-detail

 

 

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Back

 

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Back detail

 

Edwardian corset progress

A while without any sewing posts, but I have been, I promise! My 1860’s ballgown bodice is almost done (a post will follow when it’s complete), and I’ve been working on my Edwardian corset. In this post some progress on the latter. All photo’s were taken with my phone, and sometimes in bad light, but I wanted to register progress closely this time and this was the easiest way.

I started with tracing the pattern and cutting the pattern pieces (I’m using Truly Victorian E01). After this, it was mock-up time!

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I’m always a bit lazy, so while I wouldn’t skip a mock-up of such a close fitting garment, I usually just pin it together to check for fit. I also included a panel at the center-back because I don’t have lacing yet. The mock-up fitted all-right. It seemed a bit loose at the top, but Edwardian corsets aren’t really meant to support much anyways. I figured that if it would turn out too loose, I’d just stuff in extra padding, because that’s what they did back then as well. Next step was cutting the fabric!

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The strength-layer.

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And the silk. This was really scary! Next to cutting was marking all the pieces. This is especially important in corset patterns, because it isn’t always obvious which piece is which at first glance.

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Marking always takes so much longer than I initially think… Next up was flatlining the strength-layer to the silk. The pattern I’m using calls for a single-layer corset, so I sewed the strength-fabric to the silk around the edges.

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Flat-lined pieces. It’s already pretty! The construction was next, and started with inserting the busk at the center-front. My busk was slightly too long, so I needed to shorten it first.

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After cutting it off, I filed the edges to be smooth and used plumbers-tape to protect it further. (I wouldn’t recommend the cutter I’m using by the way, I need to get a new one).

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For the loop side, I sewed the facing to the center-front piece, leaving gaps at inter falls for the loops to fit through. This is what it looked like right sides together.

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And right side. Next I put the busk in between the seam allowences, with the loops sticking through the holes. I then sewed the facing in place next to the loops. The other side was similar, but here I sewed the facing on normally, and then poked holes through the Center-front piece to fit the knobs through. Next up, construction time!

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This is always the stage I like most, because you can see the corset coming alive. This photo is of all but the center-front piece sewn together.

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After sewing and pressing open the seams, some of the curved seams were ironed to one side and top-stitched to secure them more. This was scary, because I’m using slightly contrasting thread and I wanted it to look pretty on the outside as well.

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I think it turned out pretty nice! These are the seams at the frond of the corset.

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Time for the eyelets! At the center back, I attached the facing and sewed 3 lines of stitching. The first to form the first boning channel, a gap for the eyelets, and then another 2 lines for the second boning channel. I initially wanted to use an awl to poke the holes for the eyelets as the silk frays, but I couldn’t get the hole big enough. I ended up cutting the holes with the eyelet-tong, and using fray-check to keep the fabric under control. I tested it on a scrap, and it looked pretty sturdy, so hopefully it’ll hold. And then I put in all the eyelets! They’re 5 mm prym eyelets.

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Next is planning the boning channels. They’re internal tubes, and I sewed together 3 cm biasbinding to create the channels as I couldn’t find pre-made anywhere. The pattern called for 4 channels in the front, but I could only fit 3.

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Sewing the channels in. I also added a waist-tape. The pattern doesn’t call for it, but it’s supposed to increase sturdyness.

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And then, cutting the boning! Cutting, filing and taping the bones.

This is where I’m at now. I’m having a slight delay, because after sewing on the boning channels, this happened:

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Wrinkles! It’s not entirely avoidable because of the thin silk, but it’s not very pretty either. I strongly suspect that using a special sewing foot will help decrease this. It happens because the top fabric and bottom fabric are moving at different speeds through the machine, and there are foots which help getting things aligned again. As turns out, the machine I’m using comes with such a foot, but it’s at my mother’s, so I don’t have it yet. I’ll probably unpick some of the boning channels and test re-stitching them very carefully to see if I can decrease the wrinkles. It’s a bit of a set-back, but I really want this corset to turn out really nice. I already invested in the fabric and lace, and I’m planning on spending even more time on flossing and I’d hate to end up thinking I could’ve done more to make it as nice as I can. It will probably always have some wrinkles, but I want to have at least tried.

So I’m now waiting for when I can get the foot, and then I’ll be able to continue! Meanwhile I’ve been working on other stuff, so my ball-gown bodice is now nearly done and should be posted about in a couple of weeks.

 

 

Mr. Darcy to Eline Vere -19th century fashion exhibition in the Gemeentemuseum

Back before the summer the Gemeentemuseum in the Hague announced a new exhibition on 19th century fashions. It’s named ‘Mr. Darcy to Eline Vere, Romantic fashion’ and has as subject the entire century of fashion. I was very exited, because although many Dutch museums have historical fashion, it’s rarely on display. The exhibit opened the beginning of October and I went to see it a couple of weeks later. There is also a lecture every Sunday on various topics, which is really nice. I took loads of pictures (it was allowed!), and I’d like to share some here. Some are a bit blurry, because photography conditions weren’t always great (too dark), but I hope the beauty of these pieces comes across. This museum does not have its full collection photographed and online, so there’s no option to see the dresses except for in the exhibition. I’ll probably go back at least once more while the dresses are still on display (it lasts till March, so plenty of chance). To everyone living close by enough I strongly recommend the exhibit. The pieces are beautiful, they are very prettily arranged and there’s lots of them! The dresses are mostly arranged by theme, which can be era, but also colour or purpose. For this reason, not all dresses are shown chronologically and I think that for people unfamiliar with the changes in silhouette that might be a bit confusing. For me the only downsides of the exhibit were that this chance in silhouette was not really shown off very well, and that some pieces could only be seen from the front. The set-ups were really well created though, with appropriate settings, beautiful back-drops and they even had a room of ball-gowns twirling around on moving pedestals. Especially great because you could see these dresses from all angles. There were also some movie costumes included, most noticeably costumes from the 1995 version of Pride & Prejudice.

In this post, I’ll start with the theme ‘white’. Some of the white and ivory dresses, along with my thoughts. I’ll probably do more posts in the future, but I’ll also try to upload all the images on my pinterest for anyone interested. By all means click through to see the full-scale images.

I’ll start with some Regency dresses. There were many beautiful examples, including some gorgeous white muslin dresses. I think this one was my favorite ‘little white dress’. The embroidery especially was lovely. The dress was made of very thin white cotton, the sheerness shows very well in the sleeves. The neckline seems to be gathered along a very thin cord tied in the front. The bodice is shaped with 3 small darts, and seems to have a waistband sown on the inside at the bottom. Maybe to strengthen the connection to the skirt? The darts also show in the waistband, so it doesn’t seem a separate strip of fabric. The sleeves are the classical puff with gathering on top of the shoulder, and they seem to again be gathered onto a cord at the arm-hole, though it’s difficult to see. The hem seems a couple of cm wide and is decorative, as the double fabric shows clearly due to its thinness. And of course, there’s more beautiful embroidery. Unfortunately, I couldn’t see the back of this dress to photograph it.

Gemeentemuseum the Hague exhibition on 19th century fashion - Cotton dress 1805

Gemeentemuseum the Hague exhibition on 19th century fashion - Cotton dress 1805 Bodice detail

 

Gemeentemuseum the Hague exhibition on 19th century fashion - Cotton dress 1805 Bodice detail

 

 

Gemeentemuseum the Hague exhibition on 19th century fashion - Cotton dress 1805 Hem detail

 

Next is another regency dress, but this time combined with an off-white spencer. The spencer is made out of a lovely textured fabric. I didn’t make a photo of the info tag, so I’m not sure of the fabric type. It closes in the front with hooks and eyes, and has a small collar. The spencer has at least two darts to give the shaping.The whole garment is decorated with corded strips, which run on the collar, on top of the closure, around the bottom, around the puff sleeves and around the lower sleeves. The sleeves have a faux-puff with a longer sleeve. The dress is again of thin white cotton with dotted embroidery all over, and an increase in dots around the hem. The skirt seems flat in front, but is gathered in the back and closes with strings in the back above a slit in the center-back of the dress.

 

Gemeentemuseum the Hague exhibition on 19th century fashion - Empire dress & spencer

Gemeentemuseum the Hague exhibition on 19th century fashion - Spencer detail

 

Gemeentemuseum the Hague exhibition on 19th century fashion - Spencer, sleeve detail

Gemeentemuseum the Hague exhibition on 19th century fashion - Spencer back

 

Gemeentemuseum the Hague exhibition on 19th century fashion - Empire dress & spencer, back detail

Gemeentemuseum the Hague exhibition on 19th century fashion - Empire dress hem detail

 

Aside from the muslin regency dresses, there was also a large collection of silk dresses in different colors. The next two are not pure-white, but so lovely I wanted to include them. These show the more luxury dresses, for grand balls and court occasions.

The first of these two was of a pale gold silk, an evening gown with train. The bodice has a square neckline gathered over a string with a ribon belt around the waistline. The sleeves are short puffs which are gathered and pleated along cords on three different points. I can’t work out the back closure exactly. The hem of the train is beautifully decorated with ribbon trim folded into triangles and pleated triangles.

Gemeentemuseum the Hague exhibition on 19th century fashion. Evening dress (possible wedding-dress) ca. 1807-10  silk

Gemeentemuseum the Hague exhibition on 19th century fashion. Evening dress (possible wedding-dress) ca. 1807-10  silk

Gemeentemuseum the Hague exhibition on 19th century fashion. Evening dress (possible wedding-dress) ca. 1807-10  silk

Gemeentemuseum the Hague exhibition on 19th century fashion. Evening dress (possible wedding-dress) ca. 1807-10  silk

 

Of this second dress I don’t have a good image of the front, but in a way that doens’t matter because this dress is all about the train. It’s a gorgeous silk ivory court dress, with a subtly patterned fabric. The godice laces in the back and is quite low. The sleeves are regular puffs, but with metalic trim and netting around the bottom. The skirt is gathered very narrowly at the back and flows out into a very long train. The train is embroidered around the hem with the most gorgeous metal (I think gold) trim. The embroidery is in a leaf pattern, and if done on netting which is again attached to the dress. This netting might be original, but I also saw that they restored some items before the exhibition and used netting to reinforce materials, so it might be a restoration effort. (I don’t know enough about period embroidery to decide this)

Gemeentemuseum the Hague exhibition on 19th century fashion. Gala dress ca. 1810, silk & gilded silver applique

Gemeentemuseum the Hague exhibition on 19th century fashion. Gala dress ca. 1810, silk & gilded silver applique

Gemeentemuseum the Hague exhibition on 19th century fashion. Gala dress ca. 1810, silk & gilded silver applique

 

Although the majority of pale dresses were regency, there were some beautiful examples from other eras as well. From ivory regency, to Ivory mid-century.

This silk dress is 1850’s, with a three tiered skirt in a gauze fabric. At the bottom of each tier there is a swirly embroidery pattern. The sleeves are short, and a bit of a mystery to me. They seem to be made of several layers of swirly fabric. The bodice has a low v neckline and a deep v at the bottom front. In the center, there’s a pleated gauze pattern. I think it’s a lovely example of creating a visually narrow waist.

Gemeentemuseum the Hague, exhibition on 19th century fashion. 1850

Gemeentemuseum the Hague, exhibition on 19th century fashion. 1850

Gemeentemuseum the Hague, exhibition on 19th century fashion. 1850

 

Aside from Ivory, there was a slight blue/white theme in the mid-century dresses.

I believe this dress is late 1840’s early 1850’s, but I’m not entirely sure. It’s made of thin white cotton, and very interestingly seems to have a blue petticoat beneath the skirt. I don’t know if this is original, but it does make the skirt embroidery stand out in a lovely way. The front of the dress has an almost shawl-like effect, with the fabric being pleated over the chest and stitched down at the waist. The sleeves are 3/4 and unadorned. The skirt is two tiered and decorated with flower embroidery. I’m not sue of the closure as the back was hard to see, but it seems like there’s a little bow at the back on the waist.

Gemeentemuseum the Hague exhibition on 19th century fashion - Victorian Dress

Gemeentemuseum the Hague exhibition on 19th century fashion - Victorian Dress bodice detail

The second blue white dress is ca. 1855 and an evening dress. It has a two-tiered skirt with blue stripes and dots as decoration. The skirt is gathered in tiny pleats to the bodice. The sleeves are short and wide in 2 layers. The bodice comes to a point in the front and is piped along the edges. It seems to close with hooks and eyes. The bodice has two darts on each side, and what’s really interesting is that you can see the boning in the bodice through the sheer fabric. It seems to have boning along at least one of the darts, and in the center front.

Gemeentemuseum the Hague exhibition on 19th century fashion - Victorian Dress ca 1855 cotton

 

Gemeentemuseum the Hague exhibition on 19th century fashion - Victorian Dress ca. 1855 bodice detail

Gemeentemuseum the Hague exhibition on 19th century fashion - Victorian Dress ca. 1855 back

 

To end this (long) post, I’ll jump to the end of the century, to one of my favorite dresses of this exhibition. It’s off-white, and has so many gorgeous details. The bodice center has a collar and flower applique onto sheer pleated fabric. Over this, a shawl-like construction is draped and pleated which ends in the waistband and has lace insets and borders. When looking from the side, the closure is just visible. The long sleeves have an upper and lower part, both with tiny pleats and more lace insets. The skirt has a solid base with lace insets and flower embroidery, and becomes more decorated towards the bottom. There’s curved lace insets, pleating, gathering, etc.  And yet despite everything going on, it’s still elegant.

Gemeentemuseum the Hague exhibition on 19th century fashion - Edwardian Dress

Gemeentemuseum the Hague exhibition on 19th century fashion - Edwardian Dress bodice detail

Gemeentemuseum the Hague exhibition on 19th century fashion - Edwardian Dress bodice detail.

Gemeentemuseum the Hague exhibition on 19th century fashion - Edwardian Dress sleeve detail

Gemeentemuseum the Hague exhibition on 19th century fashion - Edwardian Dress skirt detail

 

 

Edwardian corset

I’ve been working on a new corset. This time it’ll be an S-bend Edwardian corset, ca. 1903. This type of corset is very specific for the time. It has a straight front, and a very sharply curved back, giving it the S-bend name.

These corsets are meant to minimize the waist, but to keep as much volume as possible in the hip and bust era.

I’m using the Truly Victorian pattern for this corset. It comes with a hip pad to add volume to the back and bust padding to fill up the front. I made the padding last year. It looks a bit weird on its own.

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I also already cut out the pattern pieces last year, and over Christmas cut and pinned the mock-up. Corsets are alwasy difficult to fit, but these even more so, so I decided it was close enough and will just go with my measurements. I’ve a gap at the top front, but that’s sort of the point as Edwardian corsets don’t really support the bust anyways. If it turns out too big, I can always make some more padding to fill it up. There’s loads of examples of Edwardian ‘bust-improvers’, so it would be very period.

Wearing History has a e-pattern of some bust-improvers which I might try.

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So now it’s time to sew! I’ll be using a beige coutil as strength layer and I’ve bought a lovely pale pink silk for the outer layer. It’s my first time working with silk, and I’m very excited but also a bit scared, because it’s so pretty! At the top of the corset I will use a lovely beige lace with tiny flowers and pearls. I’m also planning on trying out flossing for this corset, so it should turn out to be pretty fancy!

My phone camera doesn’t do the fabric justice, but just to get an idea. I want to layer the lace this way at the top.

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For the bottom of the corset I’m planning on using the top side of the lace in a thin border.

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