This project has a long story. Last August I decided to celebrate my 28th birthday with some sewing shopping so I went on eBay to look for nice patterns to buy. I wanted to sew a civil war outfit and an edwardian gown from ages and I found a very good offer for a pair of Butterick patterns: B5831 and B5970 (read the making off of the civil war dress here). Unfortunately, the Edwardian pattern remained unfolded until this summer, when I could start to work on it. I wanted a classic Edwardian day gown, as seen in several original photos of the era and suggested by the pattern envelope:
Look at all that lace! I immediately realized I couldn't afford to buy all that yards of trims, silks, chiffons or batiste, so alas, I had to check my budget. I went for vintage cotton for bodice and skirt and a scrap of chiffon for the yoke. So I would have portrayed a middle class woman but with a good taste in clothing.
The construction has been a real nightmare. I choose a size 8 but the pattern was really big. I had to draft the skirt pattern several times to fit my 74 cm waist (with corset) and several pleats were required. After all this work the skirt was still too big but anyway, I'll add another pair of hook and eyes to close it. The line of the skirt is however beautiful, with a long train.
The bodice went together easily. The seams matched perfectly and I love the contrast between the cotton and the sheer chiffon. I gathered upper and lower bodice and I was done, I could attach sleeves in a couple of days. The sleeve puffs have been altered to fit my arms (they was too long) and the lower sleeves required to be tightened 'cause I have very thin wrists.
The collar was really big and I had to cut off the excess and sew the closure inwards to fit me. The neckline has been trimmed with white lace (the same of the skirt) and I added a burgundy velvet sash to embrace my waist.
The bodice closes on the back with a series of handsewn hooks and eyes. Almost two hours to sew them all!
The steps above may seem so quick and easy but I can assure the dress required me almost a month to be finished! Despite the difficult construction it turned out really graceful and I love how it looks!
This costume really needs to be worn with a longline corset and an underskirt, luckily I have them both and I can assure you the result is sooo accurate! I put a fabric flower to close the sash since I didn't have the long ribbon I planned.
I wore the costume for a photoshoot with Lele Photography. We were planning to reproduce some authentic Edwardian photos and so I avoided make-up, brushed my hair up with the help of my Titanic hair comb reproduction. Omg, I felt myself so elegant, so classy, ready for an afternoon tea at Downton Abbey!
To be honest I don't plan to sew this costume in the future. The required hours of work are a lot and I don't have many possibilities to wear this kind of gowns except during my photo-shootings (while I'm planning to sew another 1912 gown for the next summer when I'll be 30). Despite the long work, the line of the costume is good and the skirt falls nicely on the back. I only recommend to choose a smaller size, I'm 85 cm (bust) and 74 (corseted waist) and the dress fits a little bit large despite the various alterations I did. Sigh.
Don't forget to put your corset, chemise and petticoat on!! ;)