When I first started this blog, I was an unemployed costumer attempting to create period gowns and costumes with very limited means. Although now employed, I still try to be as thrifty as possible. I am still "The Broke Costumer"!

In addition to posts about the outfits I make on a budget, this blog includes short research articles on fashion, history, accessories, styles, or whatever interests me at the moment.

I hope you enjoy my journey into the land of inexpensive costuming and short articles.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

From Edwardian to Victorian

I set some goals on costuming this year. One is to re-purpose old dresses I am no longer wearing.  Going through my closet, I found an Edwardian dress I only wore once or twice, and doubted I would wear again.   I loved the lace on it.   So, I took it off!

At the end of last year, I was in LA fabric district and bought five yards of a bright peachy/coral taffeta.  I spent time trying to find some type of matching fabric to mix with it, but had trouble matching the color to any trim or fabric.  My solution was to pair it with the lace.  Peaches and Cream!

I used Truly Victorian 1885 Four Gored Underskirt pattern.  Since the lace overskirt on the Edwardian dress was pieced, I had to work that into the new skirt. The Edwardian dress had two lace panels, long in the back and shortening as they came toward the front.  I also salvaged the sleeves which are incorporated into the bodice.

For pleats around the bottom, I cut strips eight inches wide.  I hemmed the bottom of the strips and folded over the top edge.  To make the pleats, I used the cardboard insert instructions of a zipper package as my width guide.  I laid it on the strip, folded the fabric over the guide and ironed it in.  Moved over one width and folded/ironed again.  

Once the pleats were ironed in, I took the strip to the machine and  basted across the top to hold the pleats in place.   I hemmed the skirt, then pinned the completed strip on and sewed it down.   White rose trim with handsewn across the top of the pleats.

The lace did not fit flat all the way around the new skirt.  It stopped short on the left panel.  I didn't want a plain panel, so I tried an unusual trim accessory.  I took the second lace skirt panel and accordion folded it so the edging would kind of "waterfall" down the side of the skirt.  This was attached to the waistband of the skirt and tied with a ribbon and rosebuds, added for interest and dimension.  Here is a bad cellphone picture.  I was not finished with arranging things yet.
The Bodice.   Well, it started out as Truly Victorian 1884 French Vest Bodice, but I don't know what it ended up as.   I don't care for high necklines, so I cut out a square neck.  The sleeves I had to modify in order to fit the size of the lace sleeves from the Edwardian dress.  I used a scrap of  peach and cream cotton print for the vest portions.  I cut so much off here and there, it turned into something completely different.  (My apologies to Heather McNaughton of Truly Victorian).  It was fun trying, but could have fit better.  I bought silver flower shaped buttons at Costume College last year, and used 12 down the front.   I added white lace trim around the neckline and down the front of the bodice, and a bow at the back waist.

I did not finish everything on the bodice, but I wanted to wear it for the San Juan Capistrano Swallows Day Parade, as I was walking it with the Orange County Costume Guild.  I still need to fit the sleeves better, and add boning.  The parade was fun!  Afterward, we went to the Tea House on Los Rios and had a relaxing meal with everyone.  Here are some photos from the day.

Photo by Val L.
Photo by Gina L.

Photo by Gina L.
Photos by Gina L.

Photo by Gina L.


5 yards of fabric @ $8 $40
12 Buttons $2
Rose trim Joann's gift card
Neck trim $3.50
Vest Fabric Scrap
Lining Thrift Store Sheet
Artificial flowers $3.00

Total $48.50


  1. How did I miss seeing the buttons? Oh, right, we were walking our butts off. :)

  2. The side panels just look so sweet! I love the girlyness of this outfit!

  3. Ooooh! I love the new dress! You did a good job revamping it from blue to pink/peach! Very lovely and I really love the side lace/flower accent! Well done!

    1. Thank you Gina! I had fun with the side thingy. I tried two different fabrics but it didn't flow like the lace did.