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.

Sunday, February 7, 2021

Early Edwardian Visiting Ensemble

Hello!  I have not been sewing much this year due to neck problems, but was longing to make something new.  I didn't want another Victorian bustle gown, so decided to go for early Edwardian, circa 1903-05.  I had in my possession 8 yards of lavender with white polka dots cotton fabric to make it with.

Truly Victorian patterns came out with a new Edwardian Countryside Blouse that was the style I had been looking for:  High collar band (I did not use the detachable collar), Bishop sleeves and buttons down the front.  I also like the yoke, which makes it less bulky at the back.


For the skirt I used Truly Victorian Walking skirt, drafted for the turn of the century.


I wanted to make this costume fancier than an every day outfit, more like a visiting ensemble.  I started looking at fashion plates dating from 1901 through about 1906.  I was especially looking for dotted fabrics and some kind of lace trim.  Below are some of my favorite inspiration pictures.


 For accessories, I know that long strands of pearls or other materials were used often.  Also, hats were just about every shape and size.  I chose a smaller and flatter hat, jauntily set on the head with flowers underneath one side. I have an authentic Edwardian walking stick, very similar to the one in the photo above. Lavender gloves and pearl earrings complete the accessories.


The hat was made from a 1950s hat base with a shape similar to the fashion plate on the left.

The skirt went together very easily.  I flat lined with white cotton.  Knowing that I wanted to add appliques around the hemline, I bought horsehair crinoline on the bolt to line the deep hem facings, made of white cotton.  This made a firm base to hand sew the appliques on. The facings and crinoline were sewn to the bottom of the skirt, right sides together, then flipped to the inside.  I ironed the facings down and hand sewed them to the lining layer, with a firm stitch or two at every seam.  

Finding appliques that were large enough was difficult.  I finally decided to buy....neckline appliques! I ordered 10 from China off Etsy.  I'm glad I ordered early on, they took almost 3 months to arrive due to the Covid virus.  I cut the bottom points off each applique and used them to fill in between each large one.   I spaced them out and hand sewed them all down.

Next was the blouse.  A very easy pattern and went together well.  I had a bit of trouble with the wrist plackets, but I finally figured it out.  It has a great waist tie that attaches to a back piece, and the fullness is gathered at the waist and sewn to the waist tie piece.  It keeps everything under control.  I bought some small pearl buttons from Amazon.  Unfortunately, my sewing machine is broken, and I have been borrowing friend Val's workhorse Singer from the 1950s.  It does not have a buttonholer, so I took the blouse to Val who was sweet and put them in for me on her machine. 

Once the buttons were on, I added a long strand of pearls, and made a little lace bolero like the fashion plate above.  Very fancy!  The bolero was Simplicity pattern 1780.  


I made a simple purple wrap belt, secured by a vintage flower brooch.  


Below are photos of the finished outfit.  Photos were taken in Old Town San Diego, in Heritage Park.  The Park features several restored Victorian homes and the city’s first synagogue, The Temple Beth Israel. It is a fine example of the Victorian architecture of wealthy San Diego residents in the late 1880s-1890s.