Monday 19 October 2009

Plans for a 1911 Dress

I got all the bodice pieces of the wedding dress sewn together, and the fitting went well. I'll have to take in two seams a little, but then the bodice will be perfect!

I've been planning to make a 1911 (or thereabouts) evening gown for years, and now the time might have come. I'm most likely going to a ball at New Years Eve, and I'm thinking of making the 1911 dress for that. I bought a cherry red/pink tabby weave silk when I first thought of making the dress, and it's been in my fabric stash ever since. The dress will be in the narrower, almost hobble skirt style, popular at the time. The plan is to make a rather plain dress out of the rosy silk, and sew a black, draped, beaded "tunic" over it. I will add some accents like velvet and maybe lace as well. A silk tulle is most period for the tunic, but it tears so easily (what with the weight of the beading and all), that I'm going to use chiffon instead. This is the drawing I made of what I want it to look like (I've been drawing a fair few versions of this dress over the years, but the one I made today is the one I like best):

Some details might change, but this is my plan so far: The greater part of the bodice will be in black velvet, creased to look like it's been wrapped around the body. It might or might not have hanging ends in the back. The slit in the skirt of the tunic will be edged with an embroidered organza ribbon I've got lying around (I will add a lot of beading to it), and the hem of the tunic will have a beaded fringe. The neckline of the tunic will be edged with that same beaded ribbon, and the sleeves will (perhaps) have a beaded fringe as well. The front I'm not sure of yet, perhaps a soft black tulle with woven in polka-dots I've had for years, mounted on another fabric, and then beaded.

This photo came out really blurry for some reason, but you can get an idea about the colours. The velvet is black, but looks blue in the picture (I will probably bye some new, really black velvet for this dress), and the rosy silk is darker in real life. I like how the dress will look dark, almost wine red, and then there's a really bright color at the hem, and peeking through the slit in the tunic. A bit like me; not to interesting at a first glance perhaps, but if you take the trouble to get to know me, I can actually be rather fun :)

The problem is, I also have a dark blue velvet that I could use instead of the rosy silk.... That would look something like this:

Dark blue and black seem to be a period combination.
This is a rather big project, for not only will I have to do the beading (which will take a long time), I also must make the appropriate underwear, especially a corset and a petticoat, or the look of the dress will be wrong.
But then I usually change my mind as to what style I want to wear to a ball a dozen times, before I even start making a dress, so I might be wearing something completely different in the end.


  1. Åååh! Vilket projekt, men vilket resultat kan bli!

    Visst är du samma Sarah som presenterade sig på Albrechts forum?.. tyckte att du såg lite bekant ut..


  2. Jo, det är jag :)

    Visst skulle det kunna bli en fin klänning? Jag har stora förhoppningar på den. Bara inte inspirationen tar mig någon annanstans så...

  3. Breathtaking style indeed. . .I have not been a huge fan of 1900/19-teen styles in the past but this one is truly beautiful and elegant. I personally like the rosy silk and black best, but I'm sure whatever you end up using will be perfect.

  4. I have a sort of love/hate relationship with Edwardian fashions... they can be so silly and over the top, even ugly, but they can also be the most feminin, elegant and beautiful. I hope to capture that side in this dress.

  5. Wow, that's going to be lovely when finished! I prefer the rose/pink with the black over it. Can't wait to see it made up!


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